Martin Audio in Plopsaland attraction

A popular Belgian theme park has crossed the boarder, opening Plopsa Indoor Coevorden in the Netherlands. Ampco Belgium supplied a single integrated audio system that handled BGM, attraction sound reinforcement, speech and voice evacuation procedures.

After more than ten years’ experience in Belgium, Plopsaland theme park operators Studio 100 decided to export the concept, which includes Plopsa De Panne on the Belgian coast and Plopso Indoors in Hasselt.

The latest construction in the city of Coevorden took less then nine months to complete and spans more than 10,000m².

The attractions vary from roller coaster rides, turning frogs, carousel, boxcars to a disco featuring the popular girl band K3. Each day the park hosts a different live theatre show and each year welcomes around 400,000 visitors.

Ampco Belgium was invited to mastermind the sound system concept at the development stage due to its work at other Plopsa theme parks.

The system needed to comply with the NEN 2575 regulation (Dutch Fire / Evacuation Standard) and be sufficiently versatile for both the creative and communication functions, integrated via an easy-to-use interface.

In addition, Studio 100 wanted assurance that the system would conform to the diversity of events taking place in the venue, be fully discreet (in order to avoid compromising the décor) and be managed in an operationally efficient manner.

General background and announcement
The building itself measures around 100m x 100m, with an average height of 12m, and was originally conceived as an industrial site (with little regard to acoustics). In addition, with a huge variation in visitor numbers, the acoustic challenge was immense.

After consideration, Ampco Belgium chose Martin Audio and installed 150 speakers over 32 zones.

To keep the sources in the background, Ampco opted mainly for Martin Audio’s AQ5 and C115 architectural loudspeakers, and C4.8T ceiling speakers for background music or speech announcements, while the 12 hangs of OmnLine micro-array was specified as the theatre sound system, with subs added as necessary.

Ampco used a Media Matrix NION system for zonal control with programmed delays, levels and EQ settings and individually treated control of a variety of input channels.

Sound effects
Each of the 20 attractions has its own sound effects; for instance Kermit the frog can be heard via six discreet AQ5’s replaying effects recorded on solid state jingle players. This is automatically triggered and time aligned, since the Start/Stop function is controlled by the activation of the attraction itself — without operator intervention; the same is true of all 20 attractions where sound effects are generated.

The theatre area
The theatre area is equipped with the Martin Audio OmniLine system with subs and monitors powered by ‘green’ Powersoft K-DSP series amplifiers and a Yamaha digital console with Audio Technica wireless mics reinforcing the acts. “The predictive coverage of the OmniLine gives us complete control over where, and how much sound we need to please the children in the amphitheatre arena area next to the pirate ride,” notes Karel de Piere, MD of Ampco Belgium.

Ampco Belgium has linked the Media Matrix NION systems to all other audio visual disciplines and the building management software package. All the features are under the scope of easy-to-use commands on touch screen PC’s, and an automated scenario runs when the building is opened in the morning and closed at night.

When a new show starts at the theatre area, the operator only has to instruct ‘Start Plopsa Show’ and all sound, light and video cues start up in one synchronised event. However, in the second and third layers of control all functions are separately available to the operator if he wishes to adapt something manually (or simply work in manual mode).

Safety first
Finally, high priority has been given to the PAVA / Voice Evacuation system. Karel de Piere: “As we already had the NION in place we could easily extend the architecture to make a full redundant system that can easily be triggered by the building fire alarm system or safety guard, both internally or externally — there is also UPS back-up.” All signals are distributed by Crest CKI amplification and Ethernet, while speaker lines are measured for failing connections and automatically reported back to the NION.

Ampco Belgium were responsible for the concept and engineering of the system while the installation was managed by Harwig Installs, working under the project management of Ampco.

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