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Meyer Sound Lends Flexibility to Cairns Convention Centre
Cairns is one of Australia's foremost travel hot spots, owing to its agreeable tropical North Queensland climate, active nightlife, and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and other attractions. Capitalizing on the city's tourist draw, the Cairns Convention Centre (CCC) has spent the last decade quietly building a dedicated following and a solid reputation for excellence. In 2004 and 2005 the CCC snagged prestigious APEX awards from the Association of International Congress Centers for the "World's Best Congress Centre" and "World's Top 3 Congress Centres," respectively, despite intense competition from facilities bigger both in size and budget throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Year after year, the CCC is tightly packed with a plethora of conventions, banquets, educational events, exhibits, and concerts, not to mention being the home of Cairns' own professional basketball team, the NBL Taipans.
After nine years of heavy use, it was not surprising that the sound system in the CCC's Great Hall was showing signs of wear. Clearly, a new system was needed. Faced with the bevy of challenges presented by both the space itself and the CCC's variegated needs, the staff elected to retain the advice of Brisbane-based professional audio/video consultant Phil Viney of Point of View. Explains CCC Production Manager Mark Kelso: "We required a system to fully suit our needs, with particular emphasis on complementing the flexibility of the Great Hall, whilst also providing consistent overall coverage of the hall in various configurations. Our consultant made the ultimate choice to go with Meyer Sound."
"Flexibility" is definitely the operative word for the Great Hall: it can be used as a single hall in a banquet-style configuration, a large convention space with stadium seating, or split into as many as four different smaller rooms. The seating capacity of these arrangements ranges from 400+ per quadrant to upwards of 2,300 in the stadium configuration. Further, the sound system would have to be highly mutable to satisfy the varied clientele and meet audio needs that often change nightly. "We needed adaptability to cover the diverse hall arrangements," Kelso says. "Having a self-powered system lends a real 'plug-and-play' ease to our setup by removing amplifier requirements, plus the cabinets are lightweight, which means alterations in rigging and patching are a breeze." The center uses MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction software to design the best configuration for meeting each application.
The Great Hall's inventory consists of 32 M1D ultra-compact curvilinear array loudspeakers and eight M1D-Sub ultra-compact subwoofers, with 15 main presets for each client's individual needs. When the room is divided, the staff uses a simple configuration of four M1D cabinets and an M1D-Sub unit per section. For a full hall setup, they switch to 10 M1D cabinets and two M1D-Sub subwoofers per side, plus extra cabinets for fill or delay as needed. Four UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers serve utility purposes, such as fill for foyers and areas not covered by the rest of the system in a given configuration.
The system has performed admirably since its installation, pleasing the CCC staff and their clients alike. "Our experience with the system so far has been one of excellent audio quality, with plenty of positive feedback from conference organizers," reports Kelso. "This system provides optimum coverage and truly meets the needs of our clientele."