13 Dec 2021

Visual Focus upgrades with Harman

Chinchilla is a rural town situated 300kms from Brisbane within the Western Downs Regional Council area of Queensland. With a population close to 7,000 people, Chinchilla is an important agricultural and forestry hub for the region.

The Chinchilla Cultural Centre provides a fully air-conditioned multipurpose venue catering for all event styles with the Soldiers Memorial Auditorium seating up to 550 in theatre mode and 350 in banquet mode for corporate events and gala balls. The in-house sound and lighting capabilities make the Soldiers Memorial Auditorium the ideal regional venue for anything from a corporate conference to a full touring stage production.

With the increased technical requirements of modern productions, an audio system upgrade was needed to meet the current standards expected by touring companies.


Visual Focus of Toowoomba was engaged to design and install a state-of-the-art solution to meet the technical requirements and budget of venue landlord, the Western Downs Regional Council. Part of the technical challenge with older building structures is a lack of suspension points for loudspeakers, so careful attention was needed in product selection and system design.

Visual Focus selected a JBL Application Engineering 7000 series loudspeaker package for the main system. The stadium grade AM7315-95 three-way system with Differential Drive technology delivers full-range, high SPL with very controlled dispersion due to the large Progressive Transition Waveguide for the mid and high frequencies. Custom suspension bracketry was designed to support the AM7315-95 loudspeakers. Matching Differential Drive AM7115 subwoofers were installed into custom designed cabinets under the stage lip to create a high impact, concert grade package.

To cover the front rows of seats in theatre mode and dance floor when in banquet mode, JBL AC18-26 loudspeakers from the Application Engineering Compact series were selected and installed on the proscenium arch. The rotatable Progressive Transition Waveguide and very wide 120-degree horizontal dispersion make the AC18-26 ideally suited for stage fill or under balcony fill applications.


Due to the long cable run, high-power amplifiers were needed to offset loss over distance. Crown XLi amplifiers were selected to cover this requirement and meet the power needs of the JBL AE loudspeaker system package.  Delivering over 1300 Watts per channel, these amplifiers are up to the task, providing all the power required for the system as well as easy maintenance.

For overall system control, the BSS Soundweb London family of products were installed. With 12 inputs and 8 outputs, the BLU-100 gives complete control over various aspects of the system covering all required loudspeaker processing and room equalisation as well as full system control and monitoring.

The audio package design allows the end user to select from many different pre-sets to suit the venues various presentation modes.  Combined with a BSS BLU-DA, the BLU link audio pathway is Dante enabled to future-proof the digital system.

Prior to the installation, acoustic modelling was produced using HARMAN’s Digital Directivity Analysis Software package. This modelling process gave an understanding of the venue acoustics and allowed loudspeaker systems to be compared virtually. It informed ideal placement of subwoofers for maximum coverage ensuring the plan offered the best acoustic outcome for the venue.

Ralph Atkinson, Managing Director of Visual Focus reflects on the project…

“The client’s brief was to provide a versatile sound system that would suit the variety of regional arts touring groups, local dance and schools’ performances as well as corporate presentations and functions.”

“Limitations of existing rigging locations and weight loading was a significant factor in our speaker selection. Using the Digital Directivity Analysis modelling, we were able to try a few different configurations to find the best system coverage with pattern control, whilst utilising the existing left-right speaker mounting locations. Having used JBL AE series on previous jobs, I was confident it would provide the best outcome and deliver on what the client was looking to achieve.”

“To meet Council requirements, it was important to provide the flexibility of a professional digital sound desk for touring groups and local theatre hirers. It also required an interface for simplified control to allow small events and functions to use a couple of radio microphones and audio from video sources. This bespoke programmed interface has been integrated to deliver a simple-to-use AV control system for the venue video, audio, and lighting.”

“The BSS Soundweb with the Dante bridge provided a very cost effective yet powerful DSP that integrated well with the audio-visual control system. The Soundweb gives us enough inputs for signals to be processed directly within the Soundweb using a side stage touch screen interface for corporate functions or, alternatively, send signals out via Dante to the digital sound desk in the Bio Box.”

“Visual Focus has experience using BSS Soundweb over many years and across many diverse AV projects. We have found them to be extremely reliable. When installing systems in regional cities over two hours round trip away, it is extremely important to install systems that are reliable. While product warranty is important, if the system fails at a critical time, the client’s confidence in their audio-visual system is impacted and our company’s reputation takes a hit. Whilst Visual Focus has a dial in support capability so our technicians can get users back up and running quickly, a hardware failure could mean lengthy travel times for equipment replacement. It is super important to Visual Focus to recommend and install proven reliable products and systems.”

Products Used

JBL Application Engineering AM7315-95

JBL Application Engineering AM7115

JBL Application Engineering Compact AC18-26

Crown XLi3500

Crown XLi2500




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