News

8 Jul 2021

Adamson takes it Outside

by Jason Allen

Melbourne’s St Francis Xavier College is a Catholic secondary college with three campuses across the outer south-east. Two of these, in Beaconsfield and Officer respectively, are now the lucky owners of Adamson PA systems, both manufactured to weatherproof spec by Adamson, covering outdoor areas for assemblies, performances, and sport.

Looking for a PA solution that gave maximum flexibility with greatest ease of use, and having been let down by AV equipment installed in the past, the College turned to incumbent electrical contractor Pro240 Electrical Services, headed up by Dylan Watkins. “We’re an electrical contractor, but I’ve been in AV since I was 18,” says Dylan. “Our audio partner Peter Ellicott at Perfection Audio also came in to consult on this job. In addition to system design, he’s also a gun Crestron programmer.” Together, Dylan and Peter saw an opportunity to create a high-performance outdoor PA system with a self-explanatory control system for everyday use, plus the ability to handle a full show.

“Despite the ‘ease of use’ brief, there’s actually an awful lot going on in both of these PA systems,” elaborates Dylan. “There’s video, fibre, DMX, and audio tie lines from front to back, 12 ports of network switching, wireless mic coverage over the whole court, 32a 3-phase ‘food truck’ and show power thoughout, including custom-made IP rated AV and electrical switchboard enclosures.”

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Both installs are based in outdoor basketball courts covered with canopies. The Officer campus is two courts end-on-end, giving a long rectangle to cover, while Beaconsfield is three courts side-by-side, creating a wide rectangle. The differing coverage areas and rigging restrictions have created two different system solutions; point source for Officer, and line source for Beaconsfield.

“The Officer and Beaconsfield spaces are two very different shapes,” observes Peter Ellicott. “There’s also quite a bit of difference in how the canopies are built and supported. There’s high dome at Beaconsfield, which creates reflections, and the way the rafters are placed means there’s nowhere to rig delays. Officer is long, but the rafters are in a perfect position for delays, so we used that to our advantage.”

CMI’s Lee Stevens at Officer

It wasn’t just the shape of the rafters and space that needed to be worked around, but also the weight limitations. “At both venues, there’s a 100 kg per hang limit,” outlines Peter. “It was going to be really tight to hang anything, as we needed to be able to fly the subs. There was an early suggestion to make the subs an addition that can be rolled in and out, but that was never going to happen without dedicated AV staff on-hand for every event. I was having a discussion with the pro audio team at Adamson distributor CMI Music & Audio about something else, and ended up lamenting about the weight restrictions stopping me from doing the job well. They said ‘shoot us some plans and we’ll see what we can do’. They came back with an Adamson design that looked great at a great price.”

The design for Officer uses six IS7p dual 7” point source cabinets, hung in three pairs; front of house left and right, delay one left and right, and delay three left and right. Two IS118 subwoofers sit behind the front of house pair. At Beaconsfield, two hangs of four per side IS7 dual 7” line array elements are joined by one IS1118 per side. Both installs are powered by Lab Gruppen amps and their Lake processing.

IS7p and IS118 at Officer

In addition to needing to be weatherproof, the harsh Australian environment threw them one other curveball. “The installations also needed to be cockatoo proof!” chuckles Dylan. “Cockies can and do come through in a flock and chew everything. All the cabling needed to be cocky proof, so it’s all run inside a flexible steel conduit. We learnt this the hard way, standing there while watching them strip things!”

Feeding the PA are four channels of Shure ULX-D wireless mics, with both handheld and bodypack transmitters. There’s accommodation for two hardwired mics, as well as two aux inputs. All of this is easily controllable from a wireless tablet that lives in a charging dock in the school’s reception area. This ensures that anyone can operate the system for even the simplest use cases, like a PE class, and the tablet is accounted for and charged at all times. For more complicated uses, like a performing arts function, the school’s Dante enabled Yamaha mixing consoles can be patched in via the network, and the system switched to full manual control.

Rear of the Beaconsfiled arrays, complete with cocky-proof cabling

“I implemented a Crestron control system, ready to be integrated into Crestron’s XiO Cloud solution, bringing the system in line with the rest of the school’s control environment,” explains Peter. “In addition to the Crestron touch panel, other control includes a Symetrix 8×8 Prism DSP which manages the Dante network. If someone doesn’t want to use the Yamaha consoles, they can patch in analog if they want.”

Both campuses now have options when hosting any kind of school function. “While it was never part of the intention when the install was put forward, both campuses now have a COVID-safe outdoor area for all their needs,” observes Dylan. “We strive to deliver professional high end installations on time and within allocated budgets. For all your electrical and AV solutions please go to pro240.com.au or get in touch via info@pro240.com.au as we would be delighted to work on your next project.”

cmi.com.au
adamsonsystems.com

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