K-array Provides an Invisible Solution for Romeo and Juliet at LIPA

Photos courtesy of Joe Norman and (stage set image) Tracey Gibbs, LIPA

The brainchild of entrepreneurial educator Mark Featherstone-Witty and music legend Paul McCartney, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) received the top Gold rating in the Government’s most recent Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Awards, and can boast an impressive list of successful artists, creatives and technicians among its alumni.

LIPA has recently benefited from the highly discreet implementation of a K-array Anakonda and Kobra loudspeaker system supplied by leading UK distributor 2B Heard that is truly music to a lighting designer’s ears.

Following a K-array demonstration and training day conducted by 2B Heard Directors Dave Wooster and Sam Nankivell, the audio staff at LIPA were impressed with the range of solutions that the Italian loudspeaker brand offers, and decided to take the opportunity for third year live sound students to use K-array systems on a production of Romeo and Juliet in the 400-seat Paul McCartney Auditorium. Students were given a strict brief to minimise the visual impact of the sound system, while at the same time delivering clarity and consistency throughout the audience area at an SPL appropriate for the dance-based nature of the show.

“The sound system had to be as discreet as possible given the highly detailed nature of the set,” explained third year Sound Technology student and Production Sound Engineer for the show John Doolan, “but still be able to produce excellent sound reinforcement for the audience. Only K-array could deliver on such a brief.”

Providing left and right stereo feeds for the stalls of the Paul McCartney Auditorium were a pair of Kobra KK102 passive line arrays, with a further two units running in mono. With their impressive SPL to size ratio and extremely slim profile, the one-metre high columns blended unobtrusively with the pillars of the building structure.

Complementing these and making up the mono front fill speaker system were four Anakonda flexible array speakers, totally unnoticeable within the stage set and providing an ideal solution where traditional speaker boxes would not have worked. All of the speakers were configured to run from a single Kommander KA24 2,000 watt four-channel amplifier.

“Given the requirement to not show any speakers at all on the set – to be essentially invisible – the clear choice of loudspeaker system was K-array,” said Doolan. “Being so discreet they allowed the audience to focus entirely on the show and not be distracted by conventional speakers, minimising any effect the technology might have on the production. It also benefited the lighting designer as there were no black boxes getting in the way of her design!”

“We’ll definitely be using K-array again,” he confirmed. “It’s given us a new outlook on how audience-friendly a system can be, with no visual obstructions whatsoever – and also offers consistent, defined coverage and excellent sound quality and level throughout any audience area.”