Venue trends within the wedding industry are so diverse and ever-changing, so throughout the last few years Direct Acoustics have recognized the need to adapt & improve our offering within its speaker design.
The aim of this article is to share our experiences working with a range of beautiful interior-focussed venues and elevate any worries on how we could incorporate a Zone Array, or conventional PA for that matter, into your venue.
Before we can get into the creative stuff, it’s important to share how Zone Array came to fruition along with the general manufacturing process of the system.
The constructive and destructive concept Zone Array adopts to control and attenuate low frequency was first developed in Sweden in 1989 where a variety of different sized speaker drivers were screwed to plywood sheets. In the mid nineties there were some advancements with 2mm mild steel front plates replacing the ply and itchy ISO wool installed to the rear to try and negate any high frequency emitted out of the rear of the drivers.
When Direct Acoustics was founded in 2007, it was clear the previous concept we had seen needed to be evolved to make the system accessible to all venue types, including marquees and temporary structures.
The biggest limiting factor was the weight. The plywood and mild steel concepts were simply too heavy to be installed into many venues safely so we began to develop the Zone Array into a lightweight advancement using 0.7mm aluminium front plates with a 33% open area (acoustically transparent) perforation pattern. Solid aluminum returns now allowed for a back plate to be pop riveted onto the rear encasing the speaker drivers and melamine foam absorption into a complete panel.
We now had a product that could conform with windshear and weight loading calculations placed upon even the smallest 9m wide clear span marquee frame, Tipis & old barns allowing a variety of unique installs to take place over our decade in the industry.
The UK boasts an assortment of barns throughout the country with Sussex oak in the south, Tithe Long barns in Essex and traditional granite & slate Linhay’s in Cornwall. So how have we catered for these over the years?
A beautiful rural estate & award winning vineyard in North West Essex which was once home to Anne of Cleves. Here the Zone Array is installed horizontally on steel wires giving the impression that the system is floating above the dancefloor and ceremony area. To tie the Zone Array into the 14th Century barn, the Zone Array was scabbed in oak with a white acoustically transparent skrim stretched along the face.
A traditional Dutch-style barn with curved tin roof, internal exposed steel beams and exterior timber clad, Alcumlow Barn is as rustic as they come. Following that interior trend and without the need to worry about weight loading, the Zone Array swapped back over to a mild steel chassis with the raw components i.e face/back plates and framework were all dipped in patina and left to naturally rust over a few wet English weeks!
Park Farm Barn is a contemporary take on the above barns after being impeccably restored in 2020. The Barn and The Little Barn can be let separately or jointly to create a multi-functional space for groups or families, sleeping 14 in total.
The Zone Array is the focal point of the main barn installed 4 metres above the lounge come dancefloor during private events.
Timber clad aluminium bearers were used to span the distance between the horizontal beams and four 5mm steel wires dead hung to suspend the Zone Array. Seb, our lead sound engineer, put his sewing skills to the test to produce a hessian cover, in keeping with the aesthetics. Rachael, Park Farm Barn’s owner finished it all off perfectly with an impressive foliage installation.
Oak Tree Farm & The Oak Grove
Stretch tents are predominantly found put up across London pub gardens & bars but they are becoming increasingly popular within the wedding scene. Both Oak Tree Farm and The Oak Grove saw this coming back in 2018 and began setting up venues that would stand out from the rest.
Whilst stretch tents are free flowing in their design, they do pose a bit of a problem when it comes to rigging a Zone Array within them. The canvas relies on multiple poles of varying heights to lift it off the ground and provide cover, however these poles are not structural loading as they are designed to partially sway with the canvas.
Therefore to incorporate a directional speaker system a ground support steel frame is required. The four legs of the frame sit side by side with the vertical stretch tent poles to keep the structure as open as possible with a horizontal bar connecting back to a central pole.
Each Zone Array was colour coded to match that of the specific canvas chosen and left to be decorated how the guests or venue saw fit.
Tipis will never grow old!
Fortunately after collaborating with Tentipi, Direct Acoustics had the solution to cope with market demand.
Utilising a bespoke steel rigging rose suspended from the central peak of the tipi’s nine structural poles our engineers fly adjustable steel wires down to loading points within a rigid aluminium frame. Once the system’s weight is balanced using eight adjustable steel eyelets, which also allow us to horizontally level off the system. Due to the materials used and the position of all pick up points, the Zone Array can float within the structure, preserving the traditional aesthetics that a Tipi provides.
All tipi Zone Array systems and background speakers can be colour coded to match that of the specific canvas purchased whether that be from Tentipi, Kata tipi or others.
If you are thinking about tipis then head over to your Tentipi case study to find out more.
Tell us about your venue...
If you think the Zone Array is the right acoustic solution but are unsure how it could be incorporated into your bespoke venue then let’s have a chat about your options.