O2 Academy Newcastle revitalised with Adlib

Photography by Jim Ellam.

Academy Music Group enlisted the support of Liverpool based Adlib once again to co-design and deliver a touring specification audio system for its 2,000 capacity O2 Academy in Newcastle, one of the most active and vibrant live music venues on the UK touring scene.

This project was led by Academy Music Group’s Divisional Manager Steve Hoyland and O2 Academy Newcastle’s Technical Manager Nile Lines, with Adlib’s Andy Dockerty and Rob Crossland, who, together specified the Coda Audio PA system.

The main auditorium has a large space in front of the stage, with a raised bar area on the ground floor mid-way, that is situated underneath a balcony at the rear. One of the main goals of the new system was to ensure it provided a level of sonic experience to satisfy touring artists, offering a viable and attractive choice to bringing in their own productions.

An early 20th century theatre, O2 Academy Newcastle’s history is rooted in entertainment, through the golden age of cinema and into its former incarnation as a ballroom in the 1950s and 60s.

The challenge for the team was to achieve powerful, even and spectacular sounding coverage throughout. A potent and flexible solution was also needed to deal with such a wide range of musical genres and styles.

For this venue, 20 x Coda LA12 line array speakers are configured as two main (left and right) hangs of 10, neatly forming an elegant arc from the existing PA points.

These cover the main room, underneath the balcony and the upper balcony positions perfectly – just from the two arrays – with four Coda G7 12-96s rigged under the balcony area.

The eight Coda SC8 sensor-controlled subs are positioned in a cardioid pattern under the stage to ensure as much low-end energy as possible is concentrated back into the auditorium. They are also neatly tucked away to maximise sight-lines for the audience.

For stage lip fills, a pair of Coda Vi-Ray cabinets were added, with everything driven by the new Coda LINUS DSP platform, Coda C10 amplifiers and Lake processing, one of Adlib’s highly adaptable options.

“The fact that Coda is light weight is a great advantage here, so we could put in a lot more boxes to deliver better results all round” says Andy Dockerty. “Any engineer should walk in, see the number of boxes in the air, hear how the system sounds and be happy to use it.”

A DiGiCo SD12 complete with D2 stage rack was specified for control.

The team conducted a lot of research and engaged in numerous conversations with audio specialists in different fields before finalising the specification.

“We’ve seen a big swing towards DiGiCo on touring specs in the last couple of years, so we’re confident that the SD12 is the right product, it ticks all the boxes. Coda will undoubtedly get stronger in the market and this early adoption by Academy Music Group is a wise investment” says Andy Dockerty.

Academy Music Group’s Steve Hoyland adds, “We have a long-standing relationship with Adlib and trusted their input, touring knowledge and expertise to help us specify and fit the right system for Newcastle. It’s one of the major venues in our Group and hosts a wide variety of artists and genres as well many large club events”.

O2 Academy Newcastle’s Technical Manager, Nile Lines concludes, “It’s really refreshing to work with Adlib who listen to our technical needs and what is required for audio quality and coverage. We’ve worked closely with Rob Crossland on all training needs and support on this fantastic install, which has included superb after care”.

Academy Music Group has also completed other recent designs and installations with Adlib at Bristol’s O2 Academy and London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town.

Photography by Jim Ellam.

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