An Optocore fibre distribution system has been specified by Theatre Projects Consultants (TPC) and installed by Northern Light at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre’s (EICC) new Lennox Suite, with the venue’s £30m expansion. The new fibre routing matrix is in keeping with the requirement of the new multi-purpose suite to transport a number of different signal protocols within a flexible environment.

The new Lenox Suite, EICC, tiered cabaret, credit Malcolm Cochrane
The new Lenox Suite, EICC, tiered cabaret, credit Malcolm Cochrane

The new suite, measuring 1600m2, represents a multi-level expansion of the existing EICC, complete with a glass atrium and additional event spaces. This versatile auditorium contains a reconfigurable moving floor, which rapidly transforms the space from a flat floor to a fully raked auditorium, as well as making it operational in both arena and tiered cabaret modes, so that a variety of events can be hosted.

The new Lenox Suite, EICC, credit Malcolm Cochrane
The new Lenox Suite, EICC, credit Malcolm Cochrane

It can also be split into a total of three rooms or run as a single space in the various different formats.

The new Lenox Suite, EICC, credit Malcolm Cochrane

Northern Light won a competitive tender to equip the new facility for audio control, data and video, linking the sound and AV systems to the original building. They also provided the production lighting dimmers and control systems.

TPC’s lead consultant Mark Ryan had recommended an Optocore solution early in the process, based on its ability to work with various formats such as MADI, AES and analogue, and a routing matrix was duly constructed, with assistance from the German company’s support engineers.

He explained, “The main benefit the Optocore system offered us was to automate the reconfiguration of the AV system to match the possible layouts of the room. This allowed the sound and video comms system to be as flexible as the spaces it served without having to double-up on cables and equipment.”

Added Northern Light project manager, Dave Webster, “The Optocore system was designed to provide a backbone distribution within the main sound racks for the integration of multiple inputs from the three control rooms and then output over copper to the main amplifiers in the amplifier rack room.”

The new Lenox Suite, EICC, credit Malcolm Cochrane
The new Lenox Suite, EICC, credit Malcolm Cochrane

The signals are distributed digitally (via AES3) from the stage box to the amplifiers, with the ability to input and output analogue as needed. This is implemented over Cat5 via three Optocore X6R-TP-16MI and X6R-TP-16LO SANE devices, and X6R-16AE into a Yamaha DME64 mix engine, which handles the day-to-day routing of the desk outputs in the different formats.

MADI outputs from the three DiGiCo SD8 digital desks are routed to the amplifier racks via DD4MR-FX digital interfaces, which provide 128 coaxial MADI I/O channels with SANE and Ethernet.

Both Ryan and Webster confirm that they received ongoing design support from Optocore during the process, and on completion the German company conducted full client training.

Summing up, Mark Ryan stated, “The end result was an easily adaptable and scalable Audio IO backbone to support the diverse range of events presented at the EICC.

“Working with Northern Light, as always, was a pleasure due to their solution-oriented approach to complex projects.”

Meanwhile, the EICC’s Head of Technical Production, Kenneth Boak, underlines the effectiveness of optical fibre solution in practice. “The Optocore network is part of an integrated system which allows us to deliver high quality sound in a very flexible environment,” he stated.