L-Acoustics Serves All at Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham

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With its massive glass doors and smooth tile interior, the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham ashram in Muddenahalli, India is an awe-inspiring place of devotion. These very same features also make the edifice a highly reflective – and therefore acoustically challenging – space. Coupled with the sheer size of the hall, which can seat close to 10,000 faithful, it was clear that a sound system was required inside the venue to maximise intelligibility during talks, concerts, and devotional activities.

For this landmark project an L-Acoustics Kara system, provided by the French manufacturer’s Certified Distributor Provider for India, New Delhi-based HiTech Audio Systems, offered such a solution.

“For the management of Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham, the project is a milestone and the audio install was a prime consideration,” added Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham’s, Bharat Kumar. “We didn’t want anyone to blame the acoustics of the hall for bad sound; rather, we wanted a company that could fix the acoustic environment with their system. We found out about L-Acoustics and thought they could provide the solution we needed, then we discovered there was only one authorised distributor for India – HiTech Audio.”

“As the India distributor of L-Acoustics, we wanted to provide the best system to our client; one that would deliver the consistent audio quality they required,” explained Rajan Gupta, Managing Director of HiTech Audio Systems. “The auditorium has a high reverberation time and we wanted to achieve a very precise sound, particularly for music, to create a soothing spiritual ambience. A Kara system allowed us to do this.”

The installation comprises a main left and right PA with six Kara and three SB18 subs per side flown in a cardioid pattern next to the Kara, with a centre fill of three Kara. To accommodate the enormous size of the venue, delays of four Kara and two SB18 subs per side were added.

J Davis Prosound & Lighting, which has provided AV and lighting installations across India for over two decades, assisted HiTech Audio with the installation. “L-Acoustics systems are based on a total solutions approach including all enclosures, rigging, amplification, and DSP,” said Santana Davis, owner of J Davis Prosound & Lighting. “This resulted in a highly predictive, standard system with control and monitoring that satisfied the performance requirements of the venue.”

HiTech’s Senior Application Engineer, Kallol Nath added, “The venue is a highly reflective zone with a reverb time of 4.5 seconds. This was the biggest challenge as we had to provide direct sound to the congregants who visit the auditorium. To ensure a clean, natural sound throughout the prayer hall we have also installed eight 5XT as front-fills and two X12 as side-fills, positioned directly under the main PA and at a close vicinity to the stage.”

The expansive interior of the auditorium, which measures 60 x 40 metres features a high ceiling that houses hundreds of LED lights. This presented an additional challenge as there was a lack of rigging points, which needed to be created during the two-week installation period.

L-Acoustics Application Engineer, Germain Simon, who provided the system design using L-Acoustics Soundvision modelling software, also travelled to Muddenahalli to assist with final testing and tuning of the system.

“From the pre-installation stage, experts from L-Acoustics were involved in this project,” added Nath. “They designed the entire system installation in Soundvision. This was helpful to me when I was performing the installation as I had a clear picture of the sound flow across the auditorium.”

While the project was not without its challenges, Davis said the experience, and the outcome, have been “very positive”. A previously-installed LED video wall provides seated audience members a clear view of what is happening on stage and the new L-Acoustics Kara system now enables everyone to hear just as clearly. “Everything sounds clearer, fuller, and the auditorium engineer is getting a better picture of the sound in the venue,” remarked Davis.

“I know that nothing comes easy in our profession, but with L-Acoustics the end result is always marvelous,” concluded Nath. “Now devotees can experience a truly tranquil sound in this sanctuary.”

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