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Solotech has completed a major lighting and audio upgrade at the Halls Wolverhampton including DiGiCo audio consoles, Avolites lighting consoles and d&b audiotechnik PA.
First opening in 1938, over the years The Halls developed an enviable reputation as a music venue in the city. It is part of a complex including The Civic Hall, Wulfrun Hall and the Slade Rooms.
After being closed for many years, the venue reopened in June 2023 following a multi-million pound refurbishment undertaken by Wolverhampton City Council. AEG Presents was appointed to manage and promote the venue, a role which also included the technical aspects of the refurbishment. Having successfully worked with Solotech’s UK operation at Hammersmith Apollo, the company were commissioned as lighting and audio supplier.
As a listed building, Solotech faced a familiar challenge. They had to produce solutions that respected the building infrastructure yet met the technical requirements of a leading music venue attracting major artists.
From the outset, The Halls and AEG stipulated d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers as the preferred option throughout. Solotech Business Development Manager Dan Seal used d&b ArrayCalc system modelling software to ensure the designs would provide even audio coverage.
From the ArrayCalc results, d&b V-Series was identified as the ideal choice for both the Civic Hall and Wulfrun Hall – light enough to be flown from the rigging points available and capable of delivering high fidelity audio for everything from the spoken word, to high SPL rock and roll applications.
For the Civic Hall, 12 x d&b V-Series per side make up the main L-R hangs with KSL-GSUB and SL-GSUB ground stacked on stage to provide the LF response. Throughout the venue additional speakers have been added to provide coverage to the areas obscured from the footprint of the main hangs.
The main L-R hangs feature d&b’s ArrayProcessing, with a dedicated amplifier channel for each cabinet in the hang. This allows the frequency response of each box to be optimised ensuring the array as a whole works more effectively as a single entity.
In terms of the performance of the system, a maximum SPL of 104 dB was specified, while the finished solution can actually deliver 106 dB thereby giving plenty of headroom for the visiting engineers.
Included with the system is a control and monitors package At FOH Solotech specified a DiGiCo SD12, with a DiGiCo SDTen at the other end of the snake for monitor mixes. On stage a package of M4 wedge monitors with D40 amplification can be configured for six separate monitor mixes.
Although smaller, the Wulfrun Hall audio system has the same design requirement: 104dB at the FOH position.
Main hangs comprise 8 x d&b audiotechnnik V-Series line array cabinets Sub Bass is from 8 x KSL-Subs in four ground stacks of two cabinets, evenly spaced in front of the stage, with the entire system powered by 9 x D40 amplifiers.
The control package features the ultra-compact DiGiCo SD11 at FOH with a DiGico SD9 for monitors.
At the heart of the venue systems is a QSC Q-Sys 510i core which provides digital signal processing (DSP) throughout. From control screens located across the venue, signal routing and system configuration, as well as level controls, can all be accessed and monitored.
Solotech were contracted to supply a full stage lighting package for both venues to be fitted to lighting grids supplied by a third-party contractor. The design included an Avolites Saphire Touch lighting console for the Civic Hall and the more compact Avolites Tiger for the Wulfrun Hall. A variety of fixtures from Robe, Elation Unique and Martin were supplied for both rooms.
Included in the project were two bar areas within the Halls, the VIP Lounge and the main bar. For both areas Solotech installed d&b 8s loudspeakers to provide background music, relay the main venue music or be a stand-alone venue as required. Volume level and input selection is via a wall controller linked to the main Q-Sys core of the venue.
After eight years the Civic Hall finally reopened in May with a sell out concert from the legendary Brit rock band Blur. Performances from Leftfield, the Script, James Bay and the Vamps quickly followed, testimony to the calibre of artist the Halls continues to attract.
CEO of AEG Presents Steve Homer was delighted: “Having hosted artists from The Clash, Bowie and Nirvana to the Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey, it’s incredible to be able to bring such an iconic venue back to life. I’m a local lad from Stourbridge so this is all the more special.”
Solotech’s Dan Seal agreed, “This has been a complex install that has required us to integrate alongside other contractors and I’m really pleased with how it has turned out. We’ve designed the solution to work aesthetically, respecting the heritage of building. The d&b systems in both rooms sound great, are rider friendly and will serve the Halls for many years to come.”
“It’s been a pleasure to work with AEG and the venue’s technical staff to bring this project to fruition and we look forward to working with them on future projects.”