SSE Audio Group has installed an L-Acoustics KARA PA system as a long term rental at the London Palladium.

The iconic Palladium in London’s West End is perhaps best known for shows such as Sunday Night at the London Palladium and the Royal Variety Performance. In recent times the Palladium has played host to a number of long term West End productions such as The King and I, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz. For 2016 venue owner the Really Useful Theatres Group decided to return the theatre to variety, opening up the calendar to one off events and touring productions.

Prior to 2016 the Palladium effectively had no house PA system. To attract the highest calibre of artist the venue management took the decision to install a top of the range, rider friendly audio package.

Spencer Phillips, Group Head of Venue Sales and Marketing at Really Useful Theatres Group: “The Palladium is a beautiful theatre; it’s 105 years old. Therefore we needed a solution that not only sounded great but looked great too.”

“It became clear that the system capable of providing the highest possible standards and likely to be accepted by the majority of visiting productions was manufactured by L-Acoustics."

SSE Audio Group's considerable experience of the L-Acoustics brand, both for touring and installations, along with their work in other theatres in the capital made them an obvious choice of supplier.

SSE's London Hire Manager, Luther Edmonds was assigned the project. The installation is initially for twelve months so a contract rental touring system was specified rather than a permanent solution. This gives the Palladium flexibility moving forward without having to commit to a large capital investment.

There are three tiers of seating at the 2,286 seat Palladium; the Stalls, the Royal Circle and the Upper Circle. In order to provide even coverage throughout, Luther Edmonds specified L-R hangs of 9 x L-Acoustics Kara for the Royal and Upper Circles and a further 6 x Kara per side hung off gallows arms for the Stalls. L-Acoustics 8XTs have been hung under the circles and from the ceiling to provide coverage to the rear of each area. Additional infill close to the stage is provided by two ARCS cabinets per side and four 8XTs hidden behind grills in the stage apron.

Four SB18 subs are flown centrally off the front truss and a total of eight SB28s are distributed under the stage, on the stage apron, in two private boxes and on two observation balconies each side of the proscenium to provide the necessary sub coverage that the system required.

The system is powered by fourteen LA8 amplifiers, with system routing, processing and control delivered through a custom-built SSE DriveRack including Lake Processors located at the mix position at front of house.

Included in the contract rental package is an Avid Venue Profile digital mixing console with an Avid Stage Box taking care of inputs on stage. SSE has installed a number of multicore options from stage to FOH including CAT5, BNC, Fibre and analogue to accommodate the needs of visiting tours and their consoles.

The installation was overseen by SSE Hire System Tech Nick Lythgoe and took place during January 2016. Once the work was completed Nick was retained for the first shows to assist the on-site technical staff while they got up to speed with the system’s operation.

The new audio system has been well received by the productions appearing at the Palladium since the install. Matt Rutter, Chief Electrician at the venue commented, “The first couple of visiting engineers started off by saying they wanted to make this or that adjustment to the system and that was before they had even turned it on. Nick Lythgoe suggested that we listen to it and make any adjustments from there. As soon as the engineers heard it they were really impressed, to such an extent that we left things exactly as they were. Nick and the SSE team have given us a system that is really well tuned to the room.”

Spencer Phillips has been delighted with the service from SSE throughout, “There was no flexibility in completion date: it had to be operating for our first event booking of the year. Thanks to the hard work, knowledge and ingenuity of all the team involved, the installation was completed in time.”

“We chose L-Acoustics because we wanted the international music industry to know we mean business as we return the Palladium to an alternative programming model.”

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