O2 Arena Newcastle

Academy Music Group called on Liverpool-based Adlib to co-design and deliver a touring specification audio system for its 2,000-capacity O2 Academy in Newcastle, one of the most active and vibrant live music venues on the UK touring scene. The project was led by Academy Music Group Divisional Manager Steve Hoyland and O2 Academy Newcastle Technical Manager Nile Lines, with Adlib’s Andy Dockerty and Rob Crossland, who specified DiGiCo mixing and a Coda Audio PA system.

The main auditorium has a large space in front of the stage, with a raised bar area on the ground floor situated underneath a balcony at the rear. One of the main goals of the new system was to satisfy touring artists, offering a viable and attractive choice to bringing in their own productions.

The challenge for the team was to achieve powerful, even coverage throughout. A potent and flexible solution was also needed to deal with such a wide range of musical genres and styles. The result is 20 Coda LA12 line array speakers configured as main LR hangs of ten, neatly forming an elegant arc from the existing PA points. These cover the main room, underneath the balcony and the upper balcony, with four additional Coda G7 12-96s rigged under the balcony area.

O2 Academy Newcastle Technical Manager Nile LinesThe eight Coda SC8 sensor-controlled subs are positioned in a cardioid pattern under the stage to ensure as much low-end energy as possible is concentrated back into the auditorium. They are also neatly tucked away to maximise sightlines for the audience. For stage lip fill, a pair of Coda Vi-Ray cabinets were added, with everything driven by the new Coda Linus DSP platform, Coda C10 amplifiers and Lake processing. A DiGiCo SD12 with D2 stage rack was installed for FOH mixing.

‘The fact that Coda is light weight is a great advantage here, so we could put in a lot more boxes to deliver better results all round’ says Dockerty. ‘Any engineer should walk in, see the number of boxes in the air, hear how the system sounds and be happy to use it.’

The team conducted extensive research and engaged in numerous conversations with audio specialists in different fields before finalising the specification. ‘We’ve seen a big swing towards DiGiCo on touring specs in the last couple of years, so we’re confident that the SD12 is the right product, it ticks all the boxes. Coda will undoubtedly get stronger in the market and this early adoption by Academy Music Group is a wise investment’ says Dockerty.

‘We have a long-standing relationship with Adlib and trusted the input, touring knowledge and expertise given to help specify and fit the right system for Newcastle,’ says Steve Hoyland. ‘It’s one of the major venues in our Group and hosts a wide variety of artists and genres as well many large club events.’

‘Adlib listens to our technical needs and what is required for audio quality and coverage,’ adds Nile Lines. ‘We’ve worked closely with Rob Crossland on all training needs and support on this fantastic install, which has included superb after care.’

Academy Music Group has also completed other recent designs and installations with Adlib at Bristol’s O2 Academy and London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town.

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