On the eve of staging the BBC Electric Proms 09, the Roundhouse in Camden has commissioned a new Martin Audio dedicated cinema system for its 102-seat Studio Theatre (where the BBC’s New Music Shorts initiative took place to coincide with The Proms).
The venue ordered three Martin Audio Screen 3s as a conventional L/C/R system, along with eight Effect 3Rs as a cinema surround sound, along with a Screen Sub1A (1 x 18”) from Autograph Sales. The resellers also provided consultation, product recommendation and design and installation assistance.
Purpose-designed for screening rooms, the Screen 3 is a 3-way system, with dedicated mid-range and high frequency sections, while the Effect 3R two-way passive system is a reduced-height enclosure specifically made for screening rooms with low ceilings such as this, to ensure that it can still be optimally installed at the correct level.
Venue technician, Ben Vaughan, said that the room has been used for everything from book launches and corporate events, to small theatre and concert presentations. “But while we had an existing technical infrastructure we had always been unable to present cinema.”
And so three months ago an approach was made to Conor Roche, the Roundhouse’s Head of Broadcast & New Media. The proposal for a fully-functional film studio was put to the Roundhouse Board and rubber-stamped.
The Roundhouse contacted Autograph Sales, with whom they have had a relationship dating back to 1996. “With their assistance we evaluated three different dedicated systems but I specified the Martin Audio solution based on its tonal quality, ease of installation and cost-effectiveness,” states Ben Vaughan. “Also I felt that Martin Audio had the stronger brand name.”
He added, “We have developed the Studio into a flexible space and it was important that we could wheel in the L/C/R/ system on dolly platforms when using the full cinema facilities and reconfigure the room quickly for use as a conventional auditorium.”
Now they have a motorised drop-down, micro-perforated screen, retractable seating, stage drapes and a powerful single-chip DLP HD projector and processor, which enables them to screen all formats, while on the audio side a Violet Audio ADP61 processor allows monitoring and decoding for all signals from stereo to 6.1 surround audio with Dolby Digital and DTS format compatibility.
With eight Effects 3R enclosures offering a left/right rear system, the true 5.1 Martin Audio system is optimised using the dedicated CMX1A cinema controller.
This will enable the Roundhouse to meet its remit to provide an educational programme to support workshops in new media, broadcast and all elements of the performing and visual arts — giving young people a chance that they would ordinarily be denied, to make films. “This Martin Audio system has become a core function of that and has enabled us to extend our range,” said Vaughan.
Autograph sales engineer Pete Busby noted that in addition to his company’s role, Martin Audio’s Simon Bull and Peter Child provided valuable assistance regarding correct speaker placement within the room measurements.
Summing up, Ben Vaughan says, “This has proved to be a wise acquisition and I am delighted we opted for a dedicated cinema system. Having given the Martin Audio system a good workout we have achieved everything we wanted to in terms of performance. And with a patch bay in the control room the system also enables us to hot-swap with the main PA system to provide us with the fast turn-around we were looking for.”
Note to Editors: Martin Audio’s relationship with the Roundhouse extends back at least 40 years. One of Dave Martin’s original systems was installed in the venue at the end of the 1960s before migrating to the new Sundown Theatres at the start of the following decade.