A rising star on the DJ circuit, Ben Nicky performed his first large-scale solo headline show at Northern Ireland’s largest venue recently. Selling out almost immediately, he called it ‘the biggest moment of my career’.

Ben NickyFor Belfast-based rental company PSI and leading technical supplier Sonalyst UK, it meant deploying a sound reinforcement system capable of meeting high expectations at the Belfast SSE Arena. For the technical crew the challenges were also clear. The FOH sound needed to cover 5,000 audience members with extremely hard-hitting, highly dynamic content, while load-in and load-out both had to take place on the day of the show.

Choosing a K-array Firenze loudspeaker system, the first challenge was met by the extraordinary speed of rigging and set-up the system offers – 24 KH8 flat-panel speakers were flown 12 per-side, supported by a mono distributed subwoofer set-up of 12 KS8 subs. Control and equalisation were handled via Firenze’s onboard Armonía processing, while Ease Focus was used for design and optimisation of FIR steering.

‘It was a sold-out show, and everyone knew that only the best was good enough,’ explains Dave Wooster of K-array’s UK/Ireland rep, 2B Heard. ‘Load in commenced at 9am and they had the entire system flown and operating in less than two hours – that’s a true testament to the speed and efficiency that Firenze brings to every live production. More than that, the entire Firenze rig shipped to Belfast in a single 17-tonne truck, along with the majority of the show’s lighting. That’s just not possible with a conventional solution.’

KH8 flat-panel speaker

Based on an innovative flat-panel design that enables optimum directivity via digital acoustic steering, each self-powered Firenze KH8 enclosure houses 16 neodymium transducers (eight 8-inch for LF, eight 4-inch for MF and four 1.4-inch high frequency compression drivers). Panels are anchored in pre-cabled groups of three for extremely fast rigging and deployment, while entire systems are flown in a straight line, with the option to precisely tilt panels as required.

Onboard each panel is an IP65-rated electronics module delivering eight channels of Powersoft DSP and amplification, using the Armonía platform for system EQ and control, and providing 2kW of power on each output. System optimisation to suit the venue can be achieved in minutes using AFMG’s Ease Focus software, which also forms the control interface for the FIR algorithms, ensuring quick and simple operation over a single, trusted platform. Additionally, all of the Powersoft amplifier modules are IP addressable, enabling quick and seamless configuration updates.

This combination is termed Slim Array Technology (SAT), and is quick to deploy, virtually invisible when flown, yet powerful enough to meet challenging assignments.

‘The show ran from 7pm until midnight with average sound pressure levels of over 108dB, plus a fairly punishing mix of music, and once again Firenze performed flawlessly,’ Wooster reports. ‘It provided a dynamic and precise balance from the source material, generating a full spectrum of frequencies from 30Hz all the way up to 20kHz with ease. Afterwards, load-out commenced at midnight and the entire rig was being loaded by 12.45am. From the reaction of the crowd and the crew alike, this was yet another extremely successful outing for K-array Firenze.’

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