MediaMatrix® proves a class act at Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the largest touring theatres in the UK. MediaMatrix from Peavey is widely used in some of the most prestigious corporate and leisure installations in the world, including Heathrow Airport, Wembley Stadium, Ascot Racecourse and the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, with Birmingham Hippodrome being a recent addition to the long list of venues benefi ting from the industry’s leading pro-audio matrix solution.

THE CHALLENGE
Following an extensive £34m development at the turn of the millennium, Birmingham Hippodrome now ranks as one the fi nest theatre complexes in the world, with a 1,847-seat auditorium, eight hospitality and conference rooms, an additional 206-seat studio theatre, 120-cover restaurant, large new front of house areas, spacious foyers, a deli-bar and off-site bar and restaurant.
 
It is the largest independent theatre outside of London and regularly welcomes audiences of 500,000 each year – the highest attendance fi gures of any single theatre in the UK.
 
To further enhance the theatre experience, investment was made to give Birmingham Hippodrome a state-of-the-art audio management system. The aim was to provide the numerous areas of the theatre with fl exible audio control, allowing staff to conveniently manage volume levels and content, as well as
provide versatility to rooms that may need dedicated audio facilities for presentations or private hire.
 
THE SOLUTION
To meet the demand for fl exibility and total control, Birmingham Hippodrome opted for the proven combination of Peavey’s Media Matrix solution, coupled with AMX hardware, with end user operation available from either an Android device, fi xed wall points, or AMX wallmounted touchscreens.
 
The project was managed by Birmingham Hippodrome and installed by highly experienced audio visual integrators, InspiretechLtd. Via a secure login, Birmingham Hippodrome’s technical team can also access the system remotely, meaning any issues can be conveniently dealt with wherever they are.
 
With a MediaMatrix Nion N6 unit providing the brains for the venue’s audio, the solution allows for a centralised source for audio throughout four main zones in the theatre, with ability for content and level confi guration. Using CAB-4n units, all end-points can be set up in groups of four channels for microphone or line level in any of the available confi gurations. This, in turn, provides total versatility for bringing professional audio to any of the venue’s numerous hospitality and conference rooms. Inspiretech Ltd managing director, Andy Wilmott, says: “For the technical team, each end-point is, effectively, like having a full mixing desk at your fi ngertips. But for front of house operators, they just need to know that when they press a volume button, it functions correctly.”
 
He added: “I have been installing MediaMatrix into venues ranging from shopping centres to football stadiums for over ten years. I have also installed MediaMatrix on cruise ships, which can be a pretty harsh environment, and it just runs and runs. The integration with systems such as AMX works really well. For reliability and integration, MediaMatrix is top of the tree.”
 
THE RESULT
Birmingham Hippodrome can now boast the most cutting edge audio visual solution of any theatre in the country. As well as providing key areas such as the restaurant and foyers with end user control via a tablet device, the system also provides the Hippodrome’s technical team with total audio control at any one of up to 28 end-points.
 
Andy Willmott explains: “The restaurant manager, for example, will have management of his volume levels, but the system can be told to control levels and content in that area if required; for example, if there was an event taking place adjacent to the restaurant. The process is quick, reliable and hassle free.”
 
With such a user-friendly interface, staff at the venue have taken quickly to the new technology. Using Peavey’s award-winning Kiosk2Go software, and leveraging the power of HTML5, any control interface that a designer creates using the MediaMatrix can be accessed wirelessly with any Android, iOS (Apple), Blackberry, Windows or Linux mobile device. Paul Keogh, technical coordinator at Birmingham Hippodrome, says: “Such are the benefi ts that the system brings to user operation and system management that we are now being asked to consult at other theatres on their installations.”
 
Mark Coombes, European sales manager for Peavey, said: “We are delighted to see, and hear, MediaMatrix in one of the fi nest theatres in the world. The quality of the installation from Inspiretech Ltd is fantastic and we are proud to add Birmingham Hippodrome to our long list of prestige venues around the globe enjoying Peavey commercial audio.”

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