Molapo Crossing opens with L-Acoustics
BOTSWANA: An L-Acoustics Arcs Wide and Focus system has been installed at Molapo Crossing, a new live music venue situated in a shopping mall in Gaborone. The solution was reportedly selected to provide the sound quality required without breaking the local noise regulations.
Managing director Luc Vandecasteele’s concept for Molapo Crossing was outdoor performance area that could predominantly host classical and jazz concerts. The manufacturer’s local reseller, Keyman Ventures, was called in to provide technical equipment for the venue. In turn, it approached South African L-Acoustics certified provider, Sound Harmonics, to take part in a three-system shoot out.
‘Luc’s vision was for the venue to be a cultural centre,’ recalled Sound Harmonics co-owner, Richard Smith. ‘In the first instance, we were sent drawings of the venue and asked to create a system that would cover the entire venue and suit anything from a ballet or orchestral performance, to jazz or even hip hop.’
The initial design called on an L-Acoustics line array solution to provide the 55-60m throw required for the 5,000 capacity venue. However, following the demo Mr Vandecasteele raised concerns about the strict Botswanan laws surrounding noise pollution. Since Molapo Crossing flanks residential areas, the managing director decided he wanted to keep the audience away from the back of the venue, so a system with less throw was required.
‘We recommended Arcs Wide and Focus, as its reach is contained to around 30m,’ said Mr Smith. ‘This would allow us to concentrate the sound right near the stage and, by positioning the subs quite close to the PA, it also wouldn’t bleed out far into the surrounding areas.
‘Luc considered whether he should provide all the technical equipment, or if, in fact, he should just allow visiting acts to bring their own systems,’ continued Mr Smith. ‘However, he realised there could legal ramifications if he were not in complete control of the sound levels. The ability of Arcs Wide and Focus to do just that was a major selling point.’
With this decision made, Sound Harmonics prepared a second design showing a solution that satisfied the restrictions and could be added to should there be a need to cover the entire venue, either permanently or for certain events. ‘By positioning delays halfway down the space it’s possible to reach the very back, which is ideal for the type of classical concerts they want to hold. Any additional equipment needed can be accommodated with a rental solution from Keyman,’ explained Mr Smith.
The permanent system comprises two Arcs Focus and one Wide flown next to two SB118Ms per side, with four 8XTs used as front fills. ‘We configured the system in this way because we wanted to achieve the maximum possible height,’ said Mr Smith. ‘I generally like to fly the subs on top of the system, but from a site line point of view it would have made the hangs too low and also wouldn’t have been ideal for throw, as the PA is quite far forward from the front of the stage.’
The main PA is driven by an LA8 and an LA4X amplifier. Additionally, there are eight 12XT monitors with two further LA4X, allowing them to run eight sends in passive mode. Time alignment is done via the amplifiers.
‘We’ve also installed a cabling infrastructure into the venue and provided mics and a mixing console as per the spec,’ noted Mr Smith. ‘On the left hand side of the venue there’s a VIP room overlooking the stage. We have put lines to and from this, so if they want to put extra powered speakers in there they can.’
With this reference project complete, the dealer is now looking to win business with more venues and rental companies. ‘The market in Botswana is growing and we are proud to help L-Acoustics be a part of that,’ said Keyman’s Mothusi Mokone.
For its part, the manufacturer is also seeing growth in the African market. ‘Our sales are branching out beyond their traditional borders in Africa with recent installations being completed in churches in Lesotho and Nigeria – and we expect further success across the continent in 2015,’ noted L-Acoustics’ Tim McCall.