Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Refurbishment of the ABC Radio Studios, Ultimo
Glen St Theatre, Belrose
Complete re-fit of the audio and AV systems
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Sydney Dance Company Studios
Specification and installation of four remotely monitored, fully configurable studio systems
Pier 4/5 at Walsh bay, which is home to the Sydney Dance Company as well as many other well known Australian cultural and performance orientated organizations, was redeveloped as a cultural centre in the mid 1980's. The Sydney Dance Company operates a large portion of the wharf as dance studios, offering classes for all types of dance from beginner to advanced. The space is also one of the main rehearsal areas for the Company.
In May 1999, the Walsh Bay (Special Provisions) Act was passed, which laid out a plan of redevelopment for the 17 hectare site around the wharves for residential, retail, commercial and cultural purposes. In light of the new developments within the area and in particular the proximity of new residences, the Company needed to revise the noise levels emitted by the Studios.
After examining acousticians' reports on the placement, utilization and regulations governing the levels allowable within the studios and at the boundaries of adjacent residential and commercial units, Coda examined and measured the four studios and reviewed acoustic models. The rooms already included sound absorbing resonators in walls between rooms, but also had leakage problems on the ceilings and west facing walls. After testing and measuring in-situ with a temporary system, it was decided that four-speaker systems comprising main front and rear fill speakers orientated to project away from leakage areas would be the best solution.
This orientation took advantage of the solid walls and resonators by having the immediate reflecting surface closest to the source of highest sound pressure level. Longer throw loudspeakers with narrower coverage pattern were used to limit the amount of direct acoustic energy being aimed at outside walls and windows. This placement also reduced spill to the internal offices and other facilities.
The speakers were placed lower on the walls than would generally be optimum in order to reduce the level of transmission through the ceiling. This created a significant variation in sound levels from one end of the room to the other. Additional speakers were placed at the opposite ends of the three larger studios fills these areas, giving a considerably improved listening experience and allowing the overall sound levels to be slightly lowered.
The legislation governing sound levels dictates not only maximum levels within a space over time (mainly for OH&S), but also the sound above ambient level for both day and night at nearby boundaries. Our task then was to implement the best possible system for the needs of the classes within this framework, and yet allow the system to be dynamically controlled and flexible enough to allow the centre rooms to be combined into one system for functions and rehearsals.
Each studio has its own playback system mixed to a stereo pair which is routed to a central location and processed by a Peavey Media Matrix system processor. Sound levels are monitored by centrally mounted microphones in each studio, and this level is used to reduce gain in each studio so that levels remain with the guidelines. Different settings are stored for day and night operation, controlled by either a push button plate or by a PC based GUI allowing effective management of sound levels and room configurations.
Once installed, these systems were firstly tested and measured by Coda, then two separate independent acoustic consultancies were brought in to verify the results, both within the studios and at the boundaries of nearby properties. The system was then approved by the Sydney Dance Company and the NSW Department of Commerce (now DSTA).