UK: Delta Sound served as audio contractor for a key area of the new Westfield London shopping complex, writes David Davies. In planning years before the current retail sector meltdown, the vast 43-acre Westfield site - situated in Shepherd's Bush, West London - is expected to receive up to 60,000 visitors each day.
At the centre of the complex is The Atrium, a 6,500sqm rectangular area that will host a range of entertainment, including live performances and exhibitions. The audio system for the area was developed and installed by Surrey-based Delta Sound, and features a networked solution based on EtherSound and incorporating equipment from Yamaha, Lab.gruppen and EM Acoustics.
Delta Sound project manager Lee Dennison commented: "The network is laid out with fibre optic EtherSound, analogue multicore, video and lighting feeds, plus mains power, routed together. You can drop into the network via the facilities panels and pick up any of these feeds from any panel. It makes it extremely versatile."
The system is managed by a Yamaha DME24 digital mix engine, which provides audio routing and serves as an interface between The Atrium and Westfield's analogue background music and evacuation systems. Also from Yamaha, an M7CL mixing console has been specified.
"The DME24N was the ideal solution because of its power, versatility and the way it can seamlessly integrate with the rest of a system using both digital and analogue audio, the latter being used for background music and playback," noted Dennison.
The loudspeaker system comprises a 16-enclosure EM Acoustics HALO line array system, complemented by six of EM's EMS-121 full-range cabinets and four grand-stacked Quake subs. Although brand new, the HALO system has been road-tested extensively in recent months on US tours by artists including Elvis Costello and the B-52s.
"The properties of the system and its flying hardware allow for very precise alignment and directivity - it is so directional you can all-but place a laser pointer on the top cabinet and where the red dot falls is where the HF coverage will stop," said Mike Wheeler, operations director, EM Acoustics. "For an installation like Westfield, where the system will be regularly moved, a big advantage is that it is a lot more 'point and shoot' than many other line arrays."
Power is provided by Lab.gruppen amplifiers, specifically four PLM10000Qs, one PL6000 and three FP26000s.
"In all, there are 26 channels of amplification, taking up very little rack space compared to having standalone DSP and rack after rack of 2-channel amps," said Guy Lewis, managing director of Lab.gruppen's UK distributor, Audioforce. "It is a high-density system, not just in terms of power delivery, but also in terms of EQ, control and load verification."
The first live performance in The Atrium took place at the end of October and featured singer Leona Lewis, winner of the 2006 series of The X Factor.