The FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place Theatre) is an internationally acclaimed theatre with a reputation for outstanding acoustics. In order to keep up with the changing needs of both in-house productions and visiting touring acts, the audio system needed to be upgraded.

Part of the venue’s brilliance was it’s versatile design so we had to fit within those constraints, and we also had to use as much of the wiring that was already in-place. Our solution had to be modular and offer the power and clarity needed for a venue that size. Partnering with the on-site team and advisors from Kling and Freitag, we were able to put a solution together that worked with a legacy system but afforded new functionality and could be expanding or contracted depending on the needs for any particular visiting artist.

The system offers incredible intelligibility and definition, not only in the “prime seats” but in every seat, right to the top of the balcony.

For more on systems design and installations of audio, video and lighting, visit our Design and Installation page.

Video Transcript

Hamilton Place Theatre, also known as the Ronald V. Joyce Centre for the Performing Arts, is an internationally acclaimed theatre with a reputation for outstanding acoustics.

Located in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and brimming with years of rich arts history, Hamilton Place has long been the cultural centre of the city. Although it received a few revisions to its in house audio performance system, the Great Hall had reached a point where a re-evaluation of performance needs was necessary. With the growing demands of touring acts, the theatre found the existing system lacking.

Cal: We were happy to partner with Kling & Freitag America’s Richard Hagan to design a system that did more than cover the demands of the touring market: it also addressed the challenges presented by the two sections of stage lift extensions that change the stage depth and houses full orchestral setups, dance and theatrical presentations.

What does the system consist of?

Cal: The system consists of a total of 32 Kling & Freitag Sequenza 10 line source elements, 6 Nomos XLT, 2 Access T10, 2 CA1215 and 22 Passio speakers, with 1 Sequenza 5 for the mix position.

The S10 are divided between 5 positions. The Left and Right Balcony fill in fixed positions over the main floor, each consisting of 5 elements of the “WIDE” version offering 110 degrees horizontal coverage. The Centre position recessed into the proscenium also contains 6 of the wide S10. Along with the various fill speakers, these elements make up the most commonly used elements.

The last two zones are what we’ve come to know as the Touring position, when the system needs a little more power and punch, there are 16 more Sequenza 10 that are flown in a left/right set up. These elements are the 70 degree “narrow” version of the speaker due to the added control needed for where they are flown.

What was special about the set up for the stage lift extensions?

Cal: The 2 sections of stage lift certainly offered a degree of complexity to the system design. Thankfully some great ingenuity was already in place with moveable carts that can slide up and down house left and right down stage of the proscenium. These carts hold the Access T10’s left and right, as well as the Nomos XLT’s stacked 3 high in like carts. We also split the centre hang into 3 zones, allowing us to turn off a lower element for each stage lift, trimming the coverage back so we could keep energy off the stage.

What sort of power and control did you require for this system?

Cal: With all of these positions and set ups, proper processing and control was of the utmost importance. As well, with no existing analog tie lines running between the console patch in point and the secondary amp racks in the ceiling a new solution was called upon in the K&F D Series amplifiers built by Lab Gruppen. These amplifiers feature 4 discrete channels in and out each with custom Lake processing. The Input stage can be analog, AES or Dante. This was highly important as we were using as much of the existing cabling infrastructure as possible and as i said, there is no analog tie lines between the amp racks in the basement and the amps racks in the attic. The system relies on the Dante audio networking to pass audio between the D200’s and D80’s throughout the system.

These amplifiers really did make for an extremely simple integration. Numerous presets for various applications were created under the guidance of Kling and Freitag engineer David Lutz.

What sort of challenges did you run into with installation of the system?

Cal: Installation went incredibly smoothly as we had the privilege of working along side the local 129 I.A.T.S.I. Union who is in house at Hamilton Place. The exemplary rigging team had the old PA down and out of the way in the first two calls and were ready to start hanging the new boxes in short order. There was some up and down getting the balcony points to sit where we needed them. Even though the room was shot using K&F’s Consequenza software, no existing drawings of the space were available, so we had to re-measure and play with the hangs a bit. However, but the end, everything settled in nicely.

What sort of low end coverage do you get from the XLT’s? Being Positioned just off stage, is there much wash on to the deck?

Cal: The Nomos XLT is a pretty staggering subwoofer, containing three high output 18″ drivers, it’s able to do self cardioid patterns for the low end support. This was extremely important in directing the energy forward, but without having to sacrifice space to another cabinet like other manufactures require when doing a card set up.

We actually tested the subs in your typical L/R positions and then moved them into the side firing positions and there was very little difference, the subs do a fantastic job in the space.

Did the PA turn out as well as you’d hoped or thought?

Cal: We were extremely happy with the result. The system offers incredible intelligibility and definition, not only in the “prime seats” but in every seat, right to the top of the balcony. From hard hitting rock shows, to single personalities on stage, tap shows to full orchestras this system has yet to meet a challenge it cannot overcome. Visiting engineers have been very impressed, even when some have chosen to fly whatever touring package they have on the truck, they’ve been amazed at how easy it was to get the balcony and various fills to blend in and match voicing. The Kling and Freitag line is very musical, very precise and very predictable, in the best of ways. You really know what you’re going to get. I love spec’ing the product as it really makes each integration very easy.