Auckland City Council
The ASB Theatre is Auckland's principal venue for performances of ballet, opera and large scale theatre.
The refurbishment improved stage conditions for musicians seated under the fly tower and auditorium acoustics for symphony and opera. The excellent conditions for amplified musicals, shows and conferences were preserved.
This was achieved through a combination of:
- natural enhancement using new reflectors (side wall, balcony front and overhead), new seating and hard floor finishes
- electronic enhancement in the auditorium and on stage for the musicians using the Meyer Sound Constellation system
- improvements to the air-conditioning systems to achieve quieter background noise levels
The new reflectors have improved the natural clarity of the room. With the new Constellation system the reverberation time can now be varied from 1.2s to 2.5s.
On stage conditions for musicians have been improved with a combination of physical panels and a "virtual" electronic shell.
"Who says miracles don't happen?" writes Brian Rudman in the NZ Herald, "Twenty-one years after the Aotea Centre was opened, the ASB Theatre has finally been transformed into the fine-sounding performance space we were promised all those years ago."
"Last Thursday, I turned up to the opening night of New Zealand Opera's Rigoletto, expecting once again to hear the singers and orchestra struggling to fill the dull, unresponsive hall with sound.
But from the opening rumbles of the orchestra it was obvious that something magical had happened during the interior upgrading over the summer."
Read the full article here.
The key acoustical deficiencies of the hall have historically been a lack of reverberance and a lack of early reflections. The reverberance has been improved by reducing the high frequency absorption through the removal of carpet, the replacement of the seats with hard backed seats and a partially complete Meyer Constelattion system to supplement the reverberation. Early reflections have been added by large timber reflectors on the side walls and ceiling which feed the upper balconies. Further reflectors to feed the stalls, will be added during phase 2 to be completed in the next summer break.
Prior to the refurbishment the auditorium was well-suited to amplified shows, but lacked reverberance, loudness and envelopment for symphony. The background noise from mechanical services was also higher than desirable.