Issue 27

Civic Duty

dBTechnologies VIO reinvigorates the Civic Centre in the outback community of Biloela.


25 July 2022

96 Rainbow St, Biloela QLD 4715

Story: Derek Powell

Biloela, located some 120km west of Gladstone in Central Queensland is the administrative hub of a thriving region known for mining, beef, power generation, and agriculture. The Civic Centre, opened in 1977, is an important focal point for the community.  With a variety of function spaces including a multi-purpose, 1,000 seat auditorium, the Centre hosts everything from conferences to headline musical acts such as Busby Marou, Amy Shark and more.


With increasing demands from both local users and touring artists, it was clear that the ageing FOH PA system needed urgent replacement. Graeme Hicks, from specialist integrator Entertainment Production Supplies, was called in to assess the requirements. When he arrived, he found only a single microphone operational and major wiring faults. Crucially, from a FOH system perspective, the existing twin point source speakers either side of the stage could not provide adequate coverage of the auditorium. What’s more, the room itself presented a challenge as the ceiling rose sharply from just in front of the stage, forming a squared-off dome that also enclosed the lighting gallery and air-conditioning ducts. Sound would need to be directed away from this part of the structure to prevent acoustic complications, yet the relatively low ceiling at the proscenium line precluded the typical solution of a full-size line array hang.

With the positioning limitations in mind, Brendon McDonald from NAS Solutions designed a dBTechnologies VIO loudspeaker solution which Graeme then proposed to the Shire. “I had heard the VIO system at its release in Melbourne,” Graeme noted, “and I was impressed by the performance, size and affordability of the range.” Affordability was a key issue as the limited budget available had to allow for replacement of much of the lighting system as well as an audio update!


I had heard the VIO system at its release in Melbourne and I was impressed by the performance, size and affordability of the range


The Banana Shire Council, owners of the centre, could see how the update would suit the venue, especially given its multiple roles, and gave Graeme’s proposal the go ahead – but the installation window was tight, with only a three-week gap in the Centre’s busy schedule.  NAS shipped the speakers, a new digital mixing console and all the necessary ancillaries on Graeme’s list direct to Biloela, saving valuable time as he embarked on the needed re-cabling work.  

The speaker plan, based on software modelling of the space, called for a three-box hang of the compact VIO C12 active speakers on either side of the stage. In an array configuration, the C12s’ waveguide and asymmetrical horn would provide the directivity needed to keep sound away from the ceiling structures, while the built-in DSP and power amplifier provides extensive control to tailor the system. Low end punch was provided by twin VIO S118R active bass reflex subwoofers, with VIO X10s taking care of centre fill. 

Separate spaces on each side of the auditorium behind operable walls were covered by two further VIO X10 active loudspeakers. These could operate as a separate PA with the walls closed, or seamlessly complement the main VIO arrays when all spaces were joined.

The flexible mounting system and relatively small size of the VIO C12s allowed the three box FOH arrays to be mounted in the same spot as the previous point source boxes, where they would provide even coverage right to the back of the main audience seating. The two dBTechnologies VIO S118R active subwoofers were positioned a metre apart, under the lip of the stage, while the front fill VIO X10 was mounted horizontally above the centre of the proscenium. 

Additionally, SoundTube pendant loudspeakers were installed in the outdoor area which are powered by an Ashly FA250.4 amplifier.


Once all speakers were in place, Graeme prepared for a commissioning session, calling in NAS expert Dave Jacques via Zoom to advise on the final tweaks. “We fired the system up, and even without EQ it was just remarkable.” Graeme recalled.  “Then we turned it up… and the available sound pressure level was just astounding.” 

Checking the readings from the measurement microphones placed around the space, the team found the system required very little DSP adjustment. “Once we had it time aligned, it was a relatively easy job and the Centre operators haven’t had to touch it since.”

There is no question that the Shire is happy with the performance of the dBTechnologies VIO system with the CEO penning a glowing testimonial stating: “The flexibility and performance of the equipment is exceptional.”

“They absolutely love the PA system,” Graeme confirms, noting that the next upgrade, probably to add a full monitor system, is already on their wish list.

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Issue 27