Curro Helderwyk is a leading independent school situated in the well-established Helderwyk Estate in Brakpan, just east of Johannesburg in South Africa. The school provides high-quality education to learners from Grade R to Grade 12.
Upon competition of a brand new hall for the high school, Audiosure, in conjunction with one of its resellers, were approached to provide the school with a simple audio setup with the possible addition of a small analogue mixer to control one or two microphones. The Audiosure team compromising of Greg Payne, as well as the audio, visual and lighting product specialists, visited the school to obtain further information in order to put together a suitable solution that would sit well within the school’s budget.
Greg Payne recalls the moment he stepped into the new school hall for the first time, “The initial understanding was that the school wanted a simple stereo speaker setup. However, when we arrived for the site inspection, it became obvious that this particular hall needed a lot more than just two speakers.” The school wanted to be able to have a system that was easy to use, but that would also allow them to have concerts and matric farewells without the need for hiring in additional equipment.
After analyzing the venue and discussing the various options available, the team put their heads together and requested the opportunity to present a workable solution to the school’s board a few days later. “It was so exciting when we presented our solution to the board,” said Greg. “Their faces immediately lit up at the thought of having their own comprehensive audio, lighting and projection system in their new hall.” The presentation included several images within a full 3D render of the venue – all to scale. This allowed the board to visually see what their hall would be like following the completion of the install. The addition of lighting really brought the hall to life. Following the presentation, the school decided to go ahead with a full solution, including the installation of some of the world’s biggest and best brands in audio, lighting and visual.
During the planning phase, it was noted that the pitched ceiling within the hall, as well as the vast length from the front of stage to the FOH position at the back, could cause a few issues for even audio distribution. This was easily overcome with the installation of two Martin Audio CDD12 speakers at the front stage proscenium position, with an additional three Martin Audio CDD8 speakers placed evenly across the ceiling some 20m away from the stage. Having a pitched roof also meant that a center pole needed to be mounted for the center speaker, so that the three speakers could be aligned to the same height, allowing for more intricate control of the delay. A Martin Audio DX05 was installed to control the levels of the audio system, but it also has another great feature – it can allow for independent control of each of its six outputs. This means that the three delay CDD8’s could be time aligned within the speaker management system itself. Once this was calculated and implemented, the audio would continue to sound as if the listener is hearing the source from the stage, from anywhere within the venue.
The installation of two Martin Audio Blackline X118’s in front of the stage also allowed for the system to operate with increased headroom, protecting the speakers, as well as providing an overall better sound. These compact, high performance subwoofers can push the low-end to well over 139dB SPL, meaning the remaining CDD’s can focus purely on all the other frequencies. Again, the DX05 speaker management system can facilitate this, by activating its own fully customisable crossover. Two Wharfedale Pro CPD2600 and a single CPD3600 were installed into a rack, which sits behind the stage proscenium, to drive the entire audio system.
For audio control, the industry favorite and extremely reliable Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital mixing console was installed in the FOH room, right at the back of the hall. To allow for all connections to the audio system from the stage, an Allen & Heath AB168 stage box was installed into the same rack occupying the entire audio system. This stage box is connected by a single CAT5e network cable to the Qu-16 on the other side of the venue. The school wanted two wireless microphones which could be used anywhere within the venue, so a set of AKG WMS470 Vocal Set’s were provided. The HT470 handled transmitter features a dynamic D5 professional capsule for well-balanced, powerful sound.
A single Vivitek DH833 Education projector was installed directly beneath the FOH lighting bar, providing a high-quality 1080p image to a motorised 200” Grandview screen, installed just behind the stage proscenium above the curtains. Two wall plates were installed to allow anybody to conveniently plug in a laptop into the projector, and the audio will also be de-embedded from the video to allow for separate control through the digital mixing console.
A pro lighting bar was installed 5 meters in front of the stage at the FOH position, housing six Chauvet DJ Eve P-100’s and four Chauvet Intimidator Spot 260 moving heads. Behind the proscenium wall and above the stage, a further twelve Chauvet DJ Eve P-130 RGB lights were installed. With the ceiling structure being so high and wide, an idea was put forward to elevate the ambiance within the hall. Therefore, twenty-two Chauvet DJ SlimPar Tri12U’s were installed all away along the base of the ceiling structure, through the entire length of the hall, to allow the up-lighting to really illuminate the venue to any color possible. For complete control of this system, a Champsys Q20 was implemented within the engineers FOH position.
Greg Payne reflected on what is an exciting future for Curro Helderwyk, “Watching the hall transform from a standard room, into a fully-fledged production space, was amazing. As a preferred supplier, alongside our reseller, to the Curro Schools Group, we are honored to be able to supply a comprehensive solution that we know will give the school many years of wonderful use.”
Martin Audio, Allen & Heath, Chauvet DJ and Vivitek are all distributed by Audiosure in South Africa.