O2 Academy Glasgow

Adlib’s installation team has completed updating the sound system at the Academy Music Group’s 2,550-capacity O2 Academy Glasgow in Scotland using L-Acoustics and DiGiCo.

One of the UK’s busiest and most successful live touring venues, the O2 Academy Glasgow follows similar installations at AMG’s O2 Forum Kentish Town in London, and O2 Academy venues in Bristol and Newcastle in the past 18 months, all of which also feature L-Acoustics and DiGiCo combinations. Led by John Hughes and Roger Kirby, Adlib collaborated closely with Jeff Woodford, applications engineer (installations) and Sergey Becker applications engineer (touring) from L-Acoustics to provide a careful match for the venue’s requirements. They worked with Academy Music Group Divisional Manager (North), Steve Hoyland.

Adlib called on the experience and knowledge of its own production and touring crews and engineers, especially Andy Russell, who all frequently work in the venue which has a theatrical interior, including many original art deco features. Additionally, O2 Academy Glasgow Technical Manager Rob Watson and General Manager Chris Johnston offered valuable input, as they are well acquainted with the many nuances and intricacies of the environment.

The success of the other recent Academy Music Group L-Acoustics installations also played a part and made the L-Acoustics and DiGiCo combination a favourite choice. The room was initially modelled using Soundvision acoustic profiling software, which suggested that - particularly with its 270° seated wrap-around balcony and pros arch design – an L-Acoustics K2 system would produce the best results.

The objective was to have a versatile system that ‘delivered superb coverage and would work well for live rock-and-roll shows, late-night club nights and spoken word and comedy events,’ Hoyland explains.

 O2 Academy GlasgowAdlib’s Scottish operation had provided similar PA systems for one-off events over the past year, so the team was confident that K2 was an appropriate and excellent all-round solution. It has great reputation within the industry and the PA of choice for many touring artists, often the first option on production riders. ‘We wanted a system that was both high in quality and would stand the test of time,’ Hoyland says.

O2 Academy Glasgow also happens to be one of Roger Kirby’s favourite live UK venues, so he was delighted to be part of producing this sonic excellence: ‘The layout and the décor – much of it restored in Academy Music Group’s original renovations in 2003 – is fantastic, as is the sense of proportion, and shows always have an amazing vibe.’

He also notes that while 2,550 is a good ‘medium-sized’ venue, somehow the gigs always feel intimate and personal, ‘which is why audiences love it so much and feel involved’.

The new system comprises left and right flown arrays of ten K2 elements a side – hung from new points – and 12 L-Acoustics SB28 subs distributed on and beneath the stage. Four ARCSII a side provide close-field stalls fill, joined by two X8 passive coaxial speakers on the centre of the stage apron to fill the area just above and behind the barrier line. All of these are driven by LA8 amplifiers located in a new climate-controlled amp room that was created in the most recent refurbishment plans.

The FOH and monitor consoles are both DiGiCo SD12s with individual D2 rack stage racks. In addition to these being popular touring consoles with which most engineers will be familiar, the choice was influenced by the ‘exceptional training and tech support’ available from DiGiCo, Kirby confirms.

Being a heritage site with Listed Building status, the original Art Deco features and plasterwork meant there were plenty of considerations, especially when it came to the roof loading capacity, all of which had to be overcome with Academy Music Group’s expertise. Adlib supplied the two LP1000 D8 hoists – sourced from LTM – to hang the two K2 arrays, and the new steelwork and points necessary to fly these were designed and installed by Manchester-based structural experts, MJ Consulting Engineers.

The venue’s power supply has been upgraded to accommodate the new rigging infrastructure and to accommodate all the kit in the amp room.

For monitors, Adlib specified and supplied a general-purpose system to service a wide array of artists, based around ten MP4 wedges driven by Linear Research 44M20 amplifiers – a tried-and-tested combination that is constantly out working via Adlib’s hire division.

A new line system is part of the install together with an input multicore and bespoke patch panels for each of the console breakouts. This new connectivity is part of ensuring that the system is as reliable and rock solid as possible with an amount of future-proofing.

The first artists to have used and benefited from the new audio installation have included Jorja Smith, Richie Hawtin, Glenn Hughes, Daughtry and Rudimental and it’s been exceptionally well received by engineers.

More: www.adlib.co.uk

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