GrandWest Lets the Music Play with L-Acoustics
DWR Distribution supplies K Series sound system to the largest entertainment destination of its kind in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – January 2022 – Just a short drive from Cape Town’s vibrant business and commercial center, GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World is a complex like no other. Featuring the only casino in South Africa’s second-most populous city, GrandWest is home to various dining establishments, an ice rink, and the renowned Grand Arena—a 5,000 capacity multi-purpose venue that has played host to world-famous acts such as Bryan Adams, Sting, James Blunt, Rammstein, and Kylie Minogue. In 2020, the venue underwent a complete refit of its PA system, with L-Acoustics K Series chosen for its ability to fulfill international touring riders and deliver the highest quality audio for many years to come.
“Our previous PA system was installed when the venue was built in 2007 and had served us well for almost 14 years. It allowed us to establish the Grand Arena as the go-to destination for well-known local and international artists and bands, corporate events, launches, conferences, and spectacular banquets,” says Dave Lombard, Events and Entertainment Manager at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World. “As the previous system was coming to the end of its lifespan, we started planning for a new PA, a process that took about three years before we were able to push the button.”
In 2017, Johannesburg-based DWR Distribution launched a countrywide roadshow which created a great deal of excitement and was instrumental in kick-starting the process of upgrading the Grand Arena. The following year, DWR became L-Acoustics’ Certified Provider Distributor for South Africa and, with the loudspeaker brand already on the list of preferred upgrade options, conversations with the Grand Arena team amplified, moving the project further along.
“The brief from the client was very specific; the system had to be of the highest quality, extremely rider-friendly, and have a lifespan of at least 10 to 15 years,” says Duncan Riley, Director at DWR. “But the specifics of the design were left to us, so our Brand Manager, Richard Smith, started work on a system design with the help of Julien Laval, Application Project Manager, and Consultant Liaison at L-Acoustics. From start to finish, the whole project was a great team effort.”
The layout of the Grand Arena and the type of shows it hosts dictated the general direction of the system design. “For the most part, it will be used in a concert configuration as a typical stereo system with complementary side fills, front fills, and subs,” explains Riley. “But an important additional criterion was that the system could be broken up and flown in the round for certain sporting events, like Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and boxing.”
The initial brief evolved over the years, with the Arena benefitting from new products, such as Kara II, which were released close to the time of closing the deal. The final configuration comprises left-right hangs of 12 K2 and two Kara II, plus two K1-SB subs. Six Kara II per side are deployed as out-fill, with a further center hang of four Kara II. Eight Kiva II delivers front-fill. Solid low-end reinforcement is achieved with six ground-stacked KS28 subs per side, and 12 X12 are included for stage monitoring. System processing is via two P1 processors, with four LS10 switches providing the highest quality Milan-AVB signal distribution to the LA12X and LA4X amplified controllers powering the system. Two DiGiCo Quantum 338 consoles with two SD-Racks fitted with 32-Bit cards handle mixing duties.
The installation took just five days to complete, including basic operational training for Grand Arena’s in-house team. Johnny Scholtz acted as DWR’s overall project manager and client liaison for the project. Kyle Robson handled console installation; Chris Pugh took care of the L-Acoustics system preparation, installation, and tuning; Andrew Pettit assisted with installation and acted as DWR Cape Town contact for technical assistance. The venue staff was also on hand to help where necessary.
“From a technical point of view, it all went very smoothly,” says Riley. “Covid-19 proved a big challenge in terms of timelines and logistics, but we still managed to get everything in place and set up in under a week.”
Lombard echoes Riley’s thoughts. “We were very happy with the installation and how DWR handled the entire process,” he says. “They are a fantastic team, are extremely knowledgeable in their fields, and they spare no effort to ensure the project’s success.”
The Grand Arena’s first show with its new system, and its first show since the halt on large-scale events just over 18 months ago, was the Miss South Africa Pageant on 16th October 2021, which played to a limited audience.
“I can’t believe that an entire year has passed since we last hosted a show. It was slightly surreal, but fantastic to be back to doing what we love,” concludes Lombard. “We have always been known to offer only the best when it comes to music venues, and our new L-Acoustics system means we’re now even better. After more than 18 months of ‘no shows,’ we are beyond excited to open our newly upgraded Grand Arena and let the music play again!”