For more than 100 years the family-run Tennants Auctioneers have been hosting international sales from three dedicated rooms at Leyburn in Yorkshire.
But several years ago company chairman, Rodney Tennant, the third generation of the family, decided to expand the operation into a world class events centre by adding a wing that would give the building, set in spacious grounds in the Yorkshire Dales, three times the capacity (and cost £9m to realise).
In addition to the multipurpose 550-capacity Garden Rooms that could serve as a banqueting, concert and theatre space, the new wing would also incorporate new restaurants, lecture and seminar rooms and exhibition space.
He contacted Mark Parker of AV Matrix, based at nearby Wetherby, who knows the building implicitly after fitting out the original building when with his previous company. As on that occasion, he managed to source most of his loudspeaker requirements from the catalogue of RCF, one of his preferred long-term suppliers.
“I was conscious of budget, and the price to performance ratio had to be exactly right, and the speakers unobtrusive,” he said. Ticking those particular boxes he was able to specify RCF’s powerful C-series Acustica for the main ballroom/function room and between 70-80 PL 8X 8” + 1” flush mount coaxial ceiling speakers on a distributed system through many of the 16 zones into which the venue is divided.
While the sweeping staircase leads upstairs to viewing areas, a mezzanine gallery and three first floor meeting/seminar rooms, a roof terrace, private dining room and viewing gallery, downstairs are a dedicated restaurant, café and original sale rooms. However, the piéce de rèsistance is The Garden Rooms. With the partitions removed, this can open out into the adjoining Fountain and Versailles Rooms when the space can function in full concert mode.
In specifying a full sound, stage lighting and video package, with a contract value of £130K, Mark Parker knew that each of the many rooms had to communicate with any other, and that any signal source had to be routable via the processor to any destination.
“We worked with the M&E consultants and put a full cable spec together, including coax, SDI, 4-way audio and two CAT5 to every room and every TV position,” he explained.
To serve the many functions scheduled for The Garden Rooms are two pairs of RCF Acustica Compact C5212-64 (60° x 40°) and eight C3110-96 wall mounted distributed delay speakers and two S8018 MkII single 18in Acustica subs — part of an industry standard concert spec. Driving this system are RCF HPS 1500 (2 x 750W) and HPS 2500 (2 x 1400W) amplifiers.
Meanwhile, two RCF L-Pad 12CX 12-channel portable mixers (with effects) have been built into portable racks for manual mic mixing around the facility.
Up on the new outside terrace AV Matrix have installed eight of RCF’s IP55-rated indoor/outdoor MQ80P Indoor/Outdoor 2-way horn loaded speakers for background music and public address.
Explaining his choice of RCF products, Mark Parker states, “We’ve used Acustica many times over the years and installed them successfully in nightclubs and cabaret clubs. It’s a small footprint product for the sound it produces and it’s important that in addition to their excellent active speakers, RCF still offers a good quality passive solution — and one that is significantly less expensive than comparable models.
“The ceiling speakers offer extremely good value and the exterior speakers are simple and unobtrusive.”
The entire installation operates under Philips Control 4 with individual room touch control via iPod Touch — which enabled the installer to simply reconfigure the room settings as required.
Summing up, RCF’s Northern Sales Manager, Mick Butler says, “The quality of AV Matrix’s work is exemplary, and the profile this gives to RCF cannot be overstated.”
Adding his own endorsement, Rodney Tennant stated, “We never had any doubt that Mark and his team from AV Matrix would provide us with sound and light systems of the highest standard.
“The space we designed had all the potential to be a top venue but this only became a reality with AV’s input throughout the design and build process. The sound and lighting systems that they have installed are so complex that they have taken the space from a ‘good’, to a top class venue suitable for international musical and stage productions.
“AV Matrix have been an integral part of making The Garden Rooms at Tennants what it is today and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
Going forward, the new-look facility will now be administered by the fourth generation of the family, as Rodney Tennant has passed the operation down to this three daughters, Caroline, Alison and Jane.