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IND: HARMAN Professional Uplifts Sound Experience At The Bangalore Gayana Samaja

HARMAN Professional India has added another feather to its hat with its most recent project after giving one of the oldest running sabhas (cultural organisations) in the country – the Bangalore Gayana Samaja – a long-overdue facelift. Originally constructed in 1962, the auditorium underwent an eight-month-long renovation process to preserve the original aesthetics of the venue while upgrading its audio infrastructure.

Although the Bangalore Gayana Samaja is known for hosting some of Carnatic classical music’s best concerts, the sound design of the auditorium required a serious overhaul – the main PA would only cover the venue from the middle to 3/4th of the hall, while the rest of the seats would get sound as a result of the reflection from the hall’s walls. Meanwhile, the analogue mixer had output and processing limitations.

To restore the sound in the 600-seater auditorium, HARMAN’s professional team worked in partnership with Bangalore-based system integrator Waveguide Systems to design and install better acoustics for the hallowed venue.

Sunil Karanjikar, Application Engineer at HARMAN Professional India, who worked on the design of the system says, “The project was prestigious for HARMAN to work on while at the same time posed challenges due to the venue’s old architecture. The beams could not take the weight of heavy line array speakers and the reflection from walls varied the sound impression for the audience. We had to deliver a system which would not only overcome the venue’s architectural challenges but also be cost effective as BGS is a free entry venue.”

Acknowledging the challenges posed by the symbolic auditorium, Dr. M.R.V. Prasad, BGS President, said: “Our auditorium has a capacity of 600 seats but our earlier sound system was not very good and it is the heart of a music auditorium. We decided to entrust this job of installing an efficient and a good quality sound system to a renowned company making the HARMAN professional India team the obvious choice. The planning and installation of the equipment were done in a very timely, cost-effective and professional way. The artistes are very happy to perform on our stage because of the new sound system.”

Commenting on the planning, Mr. Sohan K.P. of Waveguide Systems said, “The brief for the project was given to us on 1st Jan 2017, our team delivered the project in mere 15 days and we were ready for the opening on 15th of Jan 2017. The system was designed in a non-conventional manner; lightweight speakers that fit the requirement were suspended from the support structure and tuned to reach the seats with the least amount of reflections from the walls.

“We have seen some of the best classical performances at the BGS. When we received the query for the acoustic facelift of the venue, our team was extremely excited to give the best solution possible along with the support of HARMAN Professional India team. There were major issues with the equipment used by BGS earlier. Use of an analog mixer limited their number of outputs and processing, such as graphic EQ, time delay unit or crossover. The HARMAN professional India team helped us design a system that would overcome all these challenges in a very short span of time. Though the technical staff at Bangalore Gayana Samaja was not comfortable using digital mixing consoles and control systems, we were successful in convincing them to switch from analog to digital. We knew that this task would take time but training and hand holding for the first few and important shows at BGS made the transition very smooth and easy.”

Two JBL MD55 loudspeakers constitute the main PA along with two JBL ASB6115 subwoofers. Additional loudspeakers include four JBL AC15s for front fills, two JBL AC25s for under balcony fills, and four JBL AC28 for upper balcony fills.

Crown DCi network amplifiers drive all the speakers, and the inputs are fed via BSS BLU link. The JBL STX 812Ms are used for stage monitoring driven by Crown XTi4002 power amplifiers. The FOH and MOH mix is done on the Soundcraft Si expression II digital mixing console. The complete system processing and control is done on the BSS BLU 100 with HiQnet Audio Architect software with customised panel controls for different zones.

Prashant Govindan, Sr. Director HARMAN Professional India, said “India has a rich heritage of classical music and HARMAN Professional India remains committed to the nurturing and revival of classical and traditional music genres. We are delighted to be a part of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja which celebrates this movement. The audience can now listen to their favourite musical maestros in a modern setting with an enhanced listening pleasure by HARMAN’s true fidelity sound.”