The Norsk Film Institute (NFI) in Oslo is literally the axle upon which the Norwegian film industry revolves. And with over 2000 screenings a year in its Oslo premises, roughly half of which are previews of major international releases for press and cinema owners, having the best vision and sound facilities are a fundamental requirement. It is with this in mind that the NFI has recently installed the first of Alcons’ brand new Cinema Ribbon Monitor Systems (CRMS).
The NFI’s Lillebil Room (named after the famous Norwegian actress Lillebil Ibsen) is a 68 capacity screening facility, where a constant series of daytime previews and evening showings keeps its equipment and staff very busy.
“The sound has to be fantastic because of the status of the NFI,” says the facility’s Jan Olsen. “I had been aware of the Alcons pro-ribbon technology for some time and was eager to try something unconventional in the Lillebil Room.
“We always want to improve our equipment, and I was looking for a system that could easily handle current and future challenges of film sound, such as uncompressed sound from digital cinema packages.”
After feedback from consultant Torkell Saetervadet, Jan chose a CRMS configuration of three front channels and 12 surround cabinets, powered and controlled by Alcons ALC power amps, with Sony DFP3000 for analog sound and SDDS playback, a Dolby DA20 processor for SRDigital and a Yamaha DME64 as central digital processor.
Each CRMS system comprises a mid-high section (“CRMStop”), featuring one RBN401 pro-ribbon high frequency driver with non-vented 8-in. mid driver and a separate low frequency 15-in. section (“CRMSsub”).
The mid-high unit is specifically designed to act both as the mid-high section for the main/front system and as a full-range surround system. This unique design results in a very uniform sound stage throughout the entire listening area.
“I especially like the system’s clarity, it's a very open sound. Speech intelligibility is extremely good and the bass response from the front channels is so much tighter that our previous system,” says Jan Olsen.
“Since we are using the CRMS mid-high systems on the surround channels, the smoothness between the front channels and surround is fantastic. I actually forget how good it sounds between seeing films in there. It's always a pleasure to watch them in that auditorium.”
With one of the Lillebil Room’s main functions being to show previews of films from some of the world’s biggest makers to Norwegian journalists and cinema owners, their verdict on the sound quality of the CRMS is extremely important.
“The feedback from audiences has been very good,” says Jan. “We now run every feature film on 0.0 (SDDS) or 7.0 (Dolby), and no one thinks it is too loud any more. On our previous system, we often had to reduce the volume by between - 2db and - 6db, because it was unpleasant and distorted. But however loud the soundtrack is with the CRMS, it never sounds stressed.”
More information on: www.digitalcinemaready.info