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Yamaha audio system adopts the softly approach at Cashmere magnate’s theatre

Jul, 2009

When it comes to businessmen, those that invest wisely for the benefit of their employees and others are invariably regarded very well. In Italy, Cashmere magnate Brunello Cucinelli is firmly of this breed, a focal point of whose philanthropism is his sympathetic restoration and development of the historic medieval village of Solomeo, near Perugia.

Central to this project is Teatro Cucinelli, a brand new 230-seat theatre whose design is inspired by the 400 year old Farnese theatres in Parma and Sabbioneta. Complementing the venue’s elegant historic design is a state of the art Yamaha audio system, which brings the ancient and modern together in a truly unique way.

“Mr Cucinelli paid a great deal of attention to the theatre’s acoustics so, during the planning stages, the intention was for the theatre to look beautiful, but also to sound beautiful too,” says Stephan Luthi of Acoustic Light, who designed and installed the audio system.

“The theatre hosts a range of events, from opera and live music to conferences, and we wanted the system to be acoustically very discreet in terms of the uniformity of sound, and very subtle in terms of it not being obvious that the sound is amplified.”

As well as these requirements, the very hands-on Mr Cucinelli wanted the system to be able to carry audio and video signals throughout the venue - from stage to front of house and back, in the backstage areas, the foyer and also externally, where a second (open air theatre) is located.

“He also wanted a system that was expandable, as and when necessary, and that was aesthetically very discreet so it didn’t detract from the building’s historic appearance,” adds Stephan.

“This meant that big multicores with XLR connections at FOH or outside weren’t desirable and that the speaker cabinets had to be white and as less visible as possible.”

Stephan’s answer to this very demanding brief was to specify a Yamaha CobraNet audio solution, with a DME64N digital mix engine as the ‘brains’ of a system comprising PC series amplifiers, Installation Series loudspeakers and an LS9-16 mixing console at the front of house position.

Covering the stalls are two Installation Series IF2208 full range loudspeakers and two IS1118 subs. Four IF2108s are used as left/right delays to cover the seats further back. Similarly, the main system covering the balcony comprises two IF2208 , with a single IF2108 each side for delays. All of the cabinets are finished in white, with the full-range cabinets driven by PC4801N amplifiers.

All system management, signal routing, delay and corrective EQ is done in the DME64N, a pair of DME8i-C satellite units interfacing with the venue’s stage boxes and a DME4io-C routing stage sound and actor calling comms to the backstage dressing rooms.

“We had to EQ the system very carefully because the auditorium is very tall,” says Stephan. “But being careful with cabinet positioning and the delay and EQ in the DME64N, it sounds extremely good.

“Our aim was to precisely match the system to the acoustics of the building. As the auditorium is so tall, we had to increase the high frequencies and maintain very tight great control of the low frequencies. But it successfully provides excellent intelligibility and transparently maintains the characteristics of all music played on stage. Throughout the room, the system provides consistent levels of between 75 and 85dbA.”

To accommodate different types of production, the DME is programmed with two basic presets. One is a ‘normal’ preset, which provides a neutral sound, while the other is used for spoken events, which has different delay and EQ settings to make the audience very specifically hear the sound coming from centre stage.

As well as its flexibility, reliability and the fact that it takes up very little space, the main reason Stephan chose the LS9 was because it is well-known by many sound engineers and, for those that don't know it, it only takes a few minutes to explain everything they will need for their show.

“The LS9 is very easy for first time users to work with, without us having to explain every single function. We have had complete beginners using the console and it only took 10 minutes more than normal to show them how to use it,” says Stephan.

The system has undoubtedly proved a success and, with the theatre’s founder settling for nothing less than the highest standards, Yamaha equipment has once again proved itself capable of easily coping with the most demanding situations.

“The system took a year to design and install and I must say that everybody is very happy with it,” says Stephan. “I am very happy with the Yamaha equipment, especially the DME products which help me a lot in many installation projects. The truth is I have never had a single problem with Yamaha’s audio products.”


Products IF2208 , PC4801N , DME64N

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