Opened in first quarter 2016, the Vue cinema in the Dutch city of Alkmaar has been voted the best new-built cinema in Europe by the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA). The quality of its three Alcons Audio-based Dolby Atmos systems has played an important role in the accolade.
Taken over by Vue Nederland in August 2015, the Dutch JT Bioscopen cinema chain was one of the first global adopters of Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound and already had several existing Alcons-equipped cinemas. Vue Nederland worked with cinema services specialists CinemaNext on the new installation, who have worked on projects with Alcons since the introduction of the company’s C-series cinema systems. CinemaNext’s first Atmos installation using Alcons products was completed in early 2013.
“Alcons products are very well suited to Atmos installations,” says CinemaNext regional manager Matthew Jones. “A key requirement of Atmos is that, when sound is panned, there must not be any perceivable difference in its volume or quality. It needs the loudspeakers used in the 3D array to have very similar output and dynamic range to those used for the front channels. Alcons makes very high quality speakers which, in terms of sonic uniformity, are ideal for this kind of array.
“The client wanted a very high end audio solution for Vue Alkmaar. We had done several Atmos systems for them using Alcons in the past, so they were happy to choose it for the new site.”
Three of the seven screens at Vue Alkmaar feature Atmos and all are full Alcons installations. In terms of size, Screen 10 is the largest with 420 seats, with Screen 1 (223 seats) and Screen 8 (148 seats) being smaller rooms.
In Screen 10, the Atmos system features five Alcons CR4 large format, tri-amped loudspeakers with twin 15”, four 6.5” drivers and three RBN401 pro-ribbon, four CB211SL single 21” and four CB181SL single 18” shallow subwoofers for the main front channels.
Two CB362 twin 18” units are used for the rear subs, with the surround elements comprise 22 CRS12 12” + RBN401 pro-ribbon, eight CRS12GT 12” + RBN601 pro-ribbon and CCS8 8” coaxial units. The system is powered and controlled by 14 Sentinel3 and two Sentinel10 4-channel amplified loudspeaker controllers.
The Screen 1 system comprises four CR4, four CB211SL, two CB362, 26 CRS12, four CR12GT and eight CCS8, powered by 15 Sentinel3 and a Sentinel10. The Screen 8 system utilises three medium-format CR3 with twin 15”, twin 6.5” drivers and twin RBN401 pro-ribbon, five CB362 subs, 28 CRS12 and six CCS8, driven by 12 Sentinel 3 and a Sentinel10.
“Although Screen 8 is the smallest of the three Atmos installations, the auditorium is still 13m wide, so it needed a fairly large system,” says Matthew.
The key features of Alcons pro-ribbon drivers which make them so suitable for Atmos installations is their exceptionally low distortion, only a tenth of the THD of compression or dome drivers. A pro-ribbon driver does not have a compression threshold, meaning that it maintains the same tonal balance at all sound pressure levels. When these advantages are combined with the design benefits of Alcons cinema systems – which include advanced integration between amplifier and loudspeakers (actively compensating for the effect of long speaker cables), exceptional patented coverage control, slim designs and performance reliability – it’s clear that the high audio quality needed for Atmos can be more than satisfied by an Alcons system.
“The quality of Alcons loudspeakers is the highest available in the market. From my experience, they sound more crisp, accurate and have more dynamics than anything else available,” Matthew continues. “This is borne out by the feedback that we have received from audiences and our client. Everything we have heard is that Vue Alkmaar has the best sounding auditoriums in Holland.”
“The sound of Alcons systems is unbelievable, thanks to their revolutionary pro-ribbon technology,” says Gerrit Doorn, Chief Development Officer at Vue Nederland. “Because Alcons speakers and amplifiers deliver the highest quality sound, they have become an essential part of Vue cinemas across the country. Sound is every bit as important as visuals in the cinema experience and the partnership between Vue Nederland, CinemaNext and Alcons ensures that our audiences always enjoy the very best movie experience. We are very pleased that this has been recognised by the ICTA award.”