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Italian sound designer Andrea Taglia has specified and designed an L-ACOUSTICS ARCS constant curvature line source system which has been installed at the Parco della Musica in Rome, in the venue’s 2,800-capacity Sala Santa Cecilia.

Acoustically, this project posed some major challenges. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the building took 20 years to construct, and by completion the function of the different rooms had changed. Originally intended to provide stunning acoustics for large orchestras, the Sala Santa Cecilia has been drafted into service as a multifunction concert/convention venue due to Rome’s lack of suitably-sized halls. However its acoustic design, with orchestral use in mind, leaves Sala Santa Cecilia with a 2.5/2.8 reverb - perfect for symphonic music but impossible in a multipurpose room. It was this dilemma that Taglia undertook when contacted by Sonus Audio Services of Rome, a specialist in audio rental and installation for classical music and theatre, who commissioned him to design a no compromise sound system to solve the problems.

“We tested several solutions and agreed that the best was an approach based on several small loudspeakers, all under individual control so they could be switched on or off depending on audience presence,” he says.

Taglia’s design features a left/right system of two L-ACOUSTICS ARCS cabinets and a dual 18-in SB subwoofer per side. A front fill system of 8-in L-ACOUSTICS coaxial cabinets helps confine the sound image to musicians on stage, while single sections of the side balconies are covered by six 115XT HiQ coaxial enclosures. The balcony has a left/right system of two ARCS per side. The system is rigged in a sophisticated array with 32 motors controlled via wireless remote.

“I chose L-ACOUSTICS ARCS and 115XT HiQs for their tight and predictable pattern, which really helps to prevent any possible leak onto the hall’s extremely reflective surfaces,” says Taglia. “As the entire room is constructed from American red cherry wood, which sounds great and is very expensive, the use of L-ACOUSTICS’ Soundvision prediction software prevented us from drilling holes in the wrong places! Soundvision was also very useful in presenting the project to the client, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, one of Italy’s oldest and renowned classical music institutions. They weren’t used to reinforced music, and tended to associate sound reinforcement with feedback because of the many problems faced by rental companies who’d tried to work in this space.”

Since installation the system has worked to seamlessly cover events from seminars - where providing intelligible speech in a hall with 2.5/2.8 reverberation time is a real challenge - through to jazz, pop concerts and the new Rome Film Festival.

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