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Coda AaaaaarrrRAY! AiRAY’s reach is “extraordinary” on Peter Pan arena tour

For the production of Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story hire company Studio Haifax invested in Coda Audio’s low-footprint, high-impact AiRAY line array

After their successful collaboration on the WWI musical 14–18 (see PSNLive 2014), sound designer Guido Olischlager and PA/event technology company Studio Haifax have again joined forces for Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story, a worldwide musical arena tour based on the classic story by JM Barrie.

“We have grown organically into [using] Coda line arrays,” says Pieter Begard, managing director of Studio Haifax, outlining his choice of equipment for the tour, which kicked off in last month in Doho and will end in February 2016 in Seoul. “For the Peter Pan project, we decided to invest in Coda’s newest AiRAY series; we have ordered 54 speakers to embark on the Peter Pan tour.”

The AiRAY line array, which combines high SPL with a small footprint for maximum portability, was officially launched in July in Wenden, Germany (see AiRAY vision: Coda Audio launches a ‘new category in line arrays’ in Cologne).

In mid-August, Begard and his team installed Studio Haifax’s new AiRAY configuration in the Ethias Arena in Hasselt for rehearsals. “The AiRAY really marks a new concept in line array,” enthuses Begard.

“The speakers are extremely compact-sized but offer the SPL of large enclosures from other ‘A’ brands. The AiRAY’s reach is extraordinary, given the size of the cabinets. The compatibility of the ViRAY – of which we have a large inventory – and the new AiRAY in terms of rigging, acoustic specifications and system components is another bonus: that came in handy for the Peter Pan tour, where we used 24 ViRAY cabinets as front fills.”

For Hans Engelen, managing director of Coda Benelux distributor Viladco, the AiRAY’s compact footprint, in combination with the speaker’s output, are key. “The speaker was built to reflect the current economic situation, where transportation and crew expenses eat away a substantial part of the touring budget,” he says. “The AiRAY speakers are less than half the size and weight of comparable systems.

“A drastic cut in logistics and building time was crucial in the production’s decision to opt for AiRAY. One crew member can build a speaker array without extra help.”

Engelen, who has 20 years of audio experience under his belt, admits to having been somewhat sceptical during his initial introduction to the AiRAY speakers, but says he was overwhelmed by the new system. “The directivity and constant dispersion for specific frequencies are the result of innovative research by Coda’s engineers. This, together with the speaker’s excellent sound quality in the long-throw, makes it the perfect solution for live audio applications.”

Peter Pan has AiRAY arrays flown on either side of the stage and in front. Each hang of consists of nine enclosures.

Thirty-six Coda SCP-series subs are placed in front of the stage in a cardioid set-up. Peter Pan’s head of audio, Guido Olischlager, designed a dolly facilitating the loading: “We have put together clusters consisting of three subs, two ViRAY front fills and [pointing at the back] one G712 monitor. All of this is strapped together on a dolly and is easy to connect via multicores.”

In addition to the Coda AiRAY and ViRAY speakers, powered by 32 Coda Audio LINUS10 dual-channel and four LINUS10-C four channel amplifiers, Olischlager made use of a DiGiCo SD8 console at FOH, and DPA cardioid microphone headsets using a Sennheiser Digital 9000 wireless system and Sennheiser 2000-series in-ears.

Olischlager was also left with positive impression of the AiRAY’s performance. “With a normal soundcheck in an arena, the empty seats are bouncing back the sound to the stage,” he concludes. “With the AiRAY speakers, we still get a perfect projection with low volume: pushing up the throttle there’s almost no reflection from the hall, which is quite remarkable.”

Peter Pan photos: Leslie Artamonow