Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre, Indonesia

PT Gracia Auvindo and L-Acoustics detail how Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre became the first venue in Southeast Asia to be installed with an L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal sound system.

The value proposition of immersive audio is easy to digest, and it seems that end users are beginning to take action in order to deliver enhanced experiences to audiences. Case in point, the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre in Indonesia has recently taken the plunge and upgraded to an immersive audio system. PT Gracia Auvindo served as the integrator for the project.

Thomsen Phan from PT Gracia Auvindo talks about the beginning of the project: “The initial plans for the venue from the audio and theatre consultants were traditional and very good. But looking at the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre, we felt that the space had the potential to exceed everybody’s expectations if all parties decided to push the envelope a little.”

He continues: “We started the conversation around immersive audio and our aim was to show the end user the difference L-ISA spatial audio could bring to the venue and we are glad that they chose the L-Acoustics solution. With the precise speaker positioning and the Soundvision engine we can create a lifelike soundscape for the theatre. They have the processing to enhance the reverb in the space and really make it suited to any type of performance.”

The consultant and end user were onboard after performing their due diligence and work started on making the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre the first Southeast Asian venue to deploy the L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound system.

Phan details the next phase of the project: “The data that we received from the consultant as part of the tender document was very complete. This meant that we had a very good starting point for the project. We then brought L-Acoustics onboard to assist with design of the L-ISA system.”

Damien Juhasz, application project engineer for APAC at L-Acoustics, assisted with the design and states: “PT Gracia Auvindo wanted to put forward an immersive offering for the project, even though the original tender was not based around an immersive system. They wanted to offer an alternative solution, and we worked with them to come up with something that fit the bill. The original frontal system design was essentially an LCR system and PT Gracia Auvindo put forward the L-ISA design with the view that it would provide much better resolution with an object-based mix and allow for better separation of the sources within the mix.”

Juhasz’s task was to ensure that the L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal sound system fit the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre space for the best outcome. He details: “Once the decision was made to go down the L-ISA path, it became more about workshopping the solution to make sure it fit the physical and installation constraints of the theatre. One aspect that was particularly important was clearing the sightlines to the pro arch where the speakers would be placed. And the whole overarching idea was to give them a system that was versatile enough to cater to whatever genre of music the venue intended to support.”

As the project progressed, the audio system began to take shape. Juhasz details: “The three pillars of L-ISA are the design phase, the rendering provided by the processor and the object-based mixing which is put in the hands of the engineers though the L-ISA Controller, which is the user interface. L-ISA is a proscenium-based system and it always starts with a frontal system. The minimum requirement is five speaker hangs, and that is what formed the core of the solution at Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre. Five identical arrays have been spaced across the pro arch and the positioning of these arrays is crucial. In Soundvision, our modelling software, we model all the metrics of the space to assess the quality of the L-ISA design. And after calibration it delivers the superior sound that L-Acoustics is known for.”

The final design consists of a Scene System of five hangs of two L-Acoustics A10 Focus and two A10 Wide each, spread evenly across the stage proscenium. Two further hangs, one A10 Focus and two A10 Wide each, are hung on either side of the Scene System for extension. A centre hang of six KS21 subwoofers ensures low-frequency definition.

In addition, 16 coaxial X8 boxes are distributed along the side and rear walls of the theatre hall to make up the surround system, with two L-Acoustics X8 boxes for deck-fill. Six X12 point-source speakers are rigged above the audience for height, completing the spatial sound configuration. Seven L-Acoustics 5XT units embedded across the stage lip provide spatial front-fill while near-fill is accomplished by three pairs of 108P active monitors. Performers on stage are served by 10 L-Acoustics 112P monitors, and the entire system is driven by 10 LA4X and six LA2Xi amplified controllers powered by an L-ISA Processor II on a Live 32 tier license which allows for 128 inputs and 32 outputs.

Juhasz provides additional details regarding the final system: “The five identical arrays have the highest amount of power, and they are responsible for providing the main sound. But due to the width of the theatre we opted to add two extensions which are slightly reduced in size to bring the total number up to seven. The purpose of this move was to make sure we retain the strong centre channel but also provide the option to pan and localise audio sources when a performer is on stage. The two outside arrays are located outside the bounds of the pro arch, and they can be used very creatively. They can increase the sense of immersion or panorama and how big the system sounds. It increases the sense of immersion without breaking the visual connection to whatever is on stage.”

In addition to the L-Acoustics L-ISA immersive sound system, the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre also features a PA system. This comprises Lab.gruppen amplifiers, Symetrix DSP and Tannoy CVS 801 speakers. Audio pickup is accomplished via Audix and DPA microphones. A Midas Heritage mixer has also been provided. Interestingly, the visual systems have been left intentionally lightweight. Phan from PT Gracia Auvindo says: “The theatre has purposefully decided to only invest in creating the infrastructure for visuals and displays. With LED being a popular choice for venues, Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre decided that it would be advantageous to meet the display needs of performances via rental and staging partners who would be able to deliver the exact display required.”

Phan believes that while the Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre is the first Southeast Asian venue to leverage the L-Acoustics L-ISA spatial sound technology, it will not be the last. He says: “The Graha Bakti Budaya Theatre is operational, and it has already hosted performances and concerts. I think that once more and more people have experienced the immersive audio at this venue, they will start to demand the same experience from other venues which can serve to change the landscape of performance venues in Indonesia. In fact, we are already in conversation with other spaces and even a house of worship regarding how L-ISA Hyperreal can be implemented in their spaces.”

He concludes: “We now have hands-on experience with the L-Acoustics L-ISA immersive audio technology. We have gained valuable experience working with the L-Acoustics team that designed the system as well as the calibration team that got the system ready to go. And of course, PT Gracia Auvindo has been working with L-Acoustics for years and we have the knowledge and expertise to design and deliver their systems. All these factors together make us confident that we can help venues in Indonesia really create immersive audio environments that can deliver amazing experiences for visitors.”

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