London’s O2 Kentish Town Forum has called upon Liverpool’s Adlib Audio to design a new audio system aimed at future-proofing the venue’s technical infrastructure.
The specification put forward by Adlib for the 2,300-capacity venue included a VDC multicore system, an L-Acoustics K2 loudspeaker system, Digico consoles and Adlib’s latest proprietary MP5 wedges and side fills for the monitor system.
Adlib’s MD Andy Dockerty and director John Hughes led the initial discussions with Academy Music Group’s divisional managers Helen McGee and Steve Hoyland with newly appointed general manager, Eral Hassan, and technical manager John Pinner, who have joined the O2 Forum Kentish Town this year from London venues, The Garage and O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire respectively.
“We’ve listened to many promoters, sound engineers and production managers and wanted to invest in a first class system,” said McGee. “The O2 Forum Kentish Town is a stunning art-deco theatre and a much-loved, major touring venue that attracts high profile, international artists, so we needed to invest in a completely new PA system that really is the best-in-class.
“We’ve enjoyed a great synergy and track record with Adlib over the last decade, with well-respected audio systems at our venues in Bournemouth, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Leicester, so it made perfect sense for us to work together again on this bespoke solution in one of our major London venues.”
The Adlib team was headed by Roger Kirby, Rob Crossland and senior systems technician Tony Szabo, who studied the room and the audio requirements closely. They then designed and spec’d the system, and fine-tuned it once the installation was complete.
According to Kirby, the L-Acoustics K2 was chosen for its size and versatility.
“We supply kit to numerous tours playing this size of venue,” he said. “So from the rental side of our business, this system is extensively proven to deliver the results required by the most demanding artistes. Further to that, L-Acoustics is now on most European touring riders almost by default.”
To ensure the new system was fully optimised, Adlib recommended that the main PA points were upgraded and relocated to a new position. They worked with Academy Music Group’s appointed structural engineers, MJC Consulting to ensure the new PA arrays could be hung in the best positions each side.
Additional low frequency support is provided by six SB28s per side, ground-stacked in two three-way wheeled dollies. Three L-Acoustics ARCS boxes per side on the inside edges of the sub stacks cover the nearfield and stalls areas immediately in front of the stage.
“Again, we considered carefully what might come in and out on a tour and this is an out-the-box ready-to-go system with no dramatic changes needed,” added Kirby.
As for monitors, Adlib suggested its own MP wedge system. The latest MP5 version 15” monitor features improved drivers and output. Twenty MP5s are also available at O2 Forum Kentish Town, all driven by Linea Research 44M20 four-channel amps, of which seven handle the MP5s and another powers an Adlib AA215DS 2400W drum sub.
A set of full range Adlib side fills were supplied comprising an FD3P mid/high box, with AA215HL sub woofers. All the Adlib products onstage are driven via the presets on the Linea Research amplifiers.
On the console front, two Digico SD10 consoles have been supplied with D2 stage boxes, deployed at FOH and monitors, while a new VDC multicore system with 48 input lines and 16 stage returns is part of the set-up and AES signal lines to follow.
Hughes concluded: “It’s been another great experience working with Academy Music Group, and one that’s offered the chance to combine premium products in a powerful, practical and fantastic sounding solution at one of London’s premier venues.”
Pictured is John Pinner (technical manager – O2 Forum Kentish Town), Eral Hassan (general manager – O2 Forum Kentish Town) and Helen McGee (divisional manager – Academy Music Group) (photo: Caitlin Mogridge).