Culturally comprehensive audio at the Slowacki Theatre

When it comes to thrilling audiences at one of Poland's oldest running and most culturally important theatres, compromise was simply not an option. A comprehensive Meyer Sound system sits at the heart of the Slowacki Theatre, wowing audiences with quality in a league of its own.

Originally opened in 1893, the SÅ‚owacki Theatre in Krakow, is one of the oldest continually running theatres in Poland, with an elegance and cultural significance that required a powerful and sophisticated audio system to match.

Enter Polsound, an audio system distributor in Poland. The company was called to rise to the challenge and deliver an updated sound system for the theatre that would incorporate intelligent design and top of the line audio quality. 

Pawel Daszkiewicz, technical and commercial specialist, Polsound explained: “We had a relationship with the theatre based on the Meyer Sound technology which we previously installed. Around eight or nine years ago, when we started working with Meyer Sound, the Theatre wanted a point source system based on two levels of CQ (left and right) with a centre cluster consisting of eight elements of Mina with two 700HP [loudspeakers].

“After this, they became very excited by Meyer Sound technology, we did lots of work around this project to convince them this is a good solution and if they wanted to upgrade, that they should stick with Meyer Sound technology. This is why they decided to create the project and after two years, the Theatre received funding so we could put the kit in there. We completed the project in three weeks.” 

The theatre started working on the documentation to obtain government funding three years before the installation, updating the kit specification as required. The project included outfitting the entire theatre with a quality system, covering the entrance, the main stage and the theatre’s ‘house of machines’, a smaller theatre designed for smaller scale, creative performances.

Daszkiewicz clarified: “The director of the theatre had simple requirements: He wanted the most advanced technology that they can have, he knows how important the theatre is to Polish culture. They were satisfied with their current Meyer Sound setup and were aware of the innovative solutions and portfolio of this manufacturer.

“We needed to update the kit list as the basic idea was to upgrade the configuration based on a centre cluster of Mina, buying a left and right line array system. The second idea was to change this system. We also had some changes on the third level of the balcony because we had a few ideas to provide coverage for these places, there were lots of changes in this project.”

Stage edit
Stepping into the foyer, guests are greeted by a powerful sound system that blends in with the surrounding décor. Daszkiewicz: “This place is not where the actors or bands perform, this space is only used for speech or playing the piano. Sometimes the sound is transmitted from the theatre to the entrance hall. We used two UP-4 slim [loudspeakers] in the same colour as the wall. If the theatre needs more power or low-end frequency, we’ve also provided four additional UP-4 slims and two 750-LFC [control elements].”

Entering the main theatre, visitors are greeted by an ornate theatre space that sits as the crown jewel of the theatre.

Maintaining the regal décor of the building was a top priority, providing Meyer Sound products in a custom gold finish to discreetly blend in with the surroundings. The custom colouring was essential for the SÅ‚owacki Theatre, which is a historic building, host to historical photoshoots and films, making a discreet, easy to hide system a top priority.

Daszkiewicz explained: “In the Slowacki Theatre we have two stages, the first is a big main stage with beautiful, gold painted loudspeakers and a more creative space. This is the place where we put a full left, centre, right system, based on a Meyer Sound Lina line array system in clusters. The centre line array cluster is a little higher than the others, meaning we have a different angle for the cabinets. We have a very modular frame for a full range array and in the back, we have an array of three 900-LFC subwoofers. We use a patented low-mid beam control beam steering control processing in there so each cabinet has its own separate processing channel in Meyer Sound’s Galaxy systems. Thanks to this, we have obtained an even, level distribution of sound for the entire audience space in almost the entire frequency range. 

“We have an Omni directional configuration and we delayed the subwoofers to add a low beam for the audience. We also have two rows of front fills based on the MM4-XP [loudspeakers] as we have an orchestra which can either be up or down on the stage.”

Two UPJ-1P loudspeakers are used to immerse the audience in the first and second rows with a stereo image for viewers sitting near the edge of the stage, with additional UPJ-1P loudspeakers located in the recess of the proscenium and mounted on an extendable frame with the in-fill systems.

Daszkiewicz describes: “We created the main PA system to cover the ground level as well as the first and second balcony, it doesn’t play to the third balcony as it is a service area, but in the near future, the customer wants to add seats to the third balcony. For this, we’ve installed 10 MM4-XP loudspeakers in a gold colour. 

“We use three Galaxy 816s connected using the AVB protocol because we would like to have all the loudspeakers on a separate processing channel. This allowed us to optimise the system precisely so we could create some pre-sets, one preset for nearer the audience, another for the centre line array and more, we spent three days measuring the theatre.”

Moving into the theatre’s second building is the second stage, where visitors find themselves immersed in the ‘hall of the machines’ as Daszkiewicz clarifies: “There is a lot of art in there as the theatre often hosts spectacles and change the stage position frequently. There are a lot of musical concerts here with various instruments, so the PA systems there needed to be flexible so that the client could change the configuration simply. 

“The theatre can use whatever they want. The main configuration is similar to the bigger theatre, with a left, centre and right channel base comprised of Ultra-X40 loudspeakers. There is also a central configuration flown 750 subwoofers, the same configuration as the bigger stage. We also used ten UPM-1P surrounds around the small venue. We put two UPJ-1Ps as side fills for the stage.”
Machines edit
The ceiling of the hall of the machines is equipped with rigging to allow the theatre to place the loudspeakers and lighting equipment wherever is required, changing the position of equipment as needed. 

Daszkiewicz says: “The theatre has some spectacles that they place on the bigger stage and on the smaller stage in a limited version, putting the exact same setup and mix which was crucial to the design. 

Krzysztof GÅ‚uchowski, managing and art director, said: “The main stage of the SÅ‚owacki Theatre, like most of the existing historic theatres built before the 20th century, is a very difficult space for sound reinforcement. Put into use many years before any public address systems were built, it is now one of the most important historic buildings of this type in Poland. Therefore, our requirements for sound support in such a space are very high, even unique, due to specific conditions, such as the arrangement of boxes in the auditorium, portal and proscenium, as well as all the rich and antique equipment decor. 

The Meyer Sound system, that we currently have, meets to a large extent the challenge of sound for this interior both from the professional side – balancing the sound of the recorded music and the actor's voice spoken from the stage, and aesthetic -appropriate dimensions and a well-chosen golden colour of the speakers allowing the entire system to blend in with the golden eclectic interior of the theatre. It was one of my personal main conditions -apart from important technical parameters, it was very important to harmonise with the most beautiful theatrical project from the 19th century in Poland.”

Kit list 

Meyer Sound
Lina
loudspeakers, 900-LFC subwoofers, UPJ-1P loudspeakers, Mina loudspeakers, MM4-XP loudspeakers, Ultra-X40 loudspeakers, MJF-208 stage monitors, Galaxy 816 network platform, MPS488HP power supply, UP-4 Slim loudspeaker, 750-LFC subwoofers, UPM-1P loudspeakers, MM10-XP subwoofer

 

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