4 December 2023

Powersoft Brings A Sonic Hole-In-One To Mini Golf Adventurers

Powersoft’s Unica amplifier and Mover transducer enhance the audio experience at Treetop Adventure Golf’s new venue in Newcastle. Designed by Dan Roncoroni, the system includes 16 Unica 8M amplifiers for power density and remote monitoring via Powersoft Cloud. The Mover transducer creates dynamic effects in a limited space. Operating autonomously for 14 hours daily, the system integrates seamlessly with Treetop’s jungle-themed courses, providing an engaging audio backdrop for players.

Powersoft’s latest amplifier, Unica, and a compact transducer named Mover are enhancing the auditory experience at a newly inaugurated miniature golf facility in Newcastle, England. Treetop Adventure Golf, renowned for its immersive mini golf courses, recently opened a new venue in Gateshead, Newcastle, featuring two 18-hole courses with jungle and ancient temple themes.

To provide visitors with an uninterrupted adventure, Treetop Adventure Golf approached system integrator Full Production who contracted audiovisual experience designer Dan Roncoroni to design an AV system that would be able to stand alone with no operator intervention for 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Treetop Adventure Golf as a whole was an excellent client; there was no real traditional briefing, but a much more collaborative process,” says Dan Roncoroni, “where the system was designed to meet the company’s ambitions for new audio content, which was created with the capabilities of the system in mind.”

The aim of the install was to tell a story for visitors playing mini golf, which is “exceptionally hard to do so without considering the audio system at the inception,” shares Roncoroni. “With a huge variance in visitor demographics, and hundreds of visitors a day, ensuring that all voice lines are intelligible in all circumstances and that the site is well balanced and not cacophonous is vital.”

Each mini-golf hole conceals multiple speakers, strategically placed to ensure that no individual low-level speaker is visible to guests. Players trigger audio content by succeeding or failing their putts on each hole, complemented by a continuous background soundscape, creating an immersive and dynamic experience for visitors.

The entire amplification system at the mini golf venue is powered by Powersoft, utilizing 16 units of the Unica 8M amplifier platform. This includes eight Unica 2000W/eight-channel units and eight Unica 4000W/eight-channel units. Due to limited rack space, Dan Roncoroni selected Unica primarily for its impressive power density. The design heavily relied on individual amplification for nearly every loudspeaker, making the eight channels of amplification with power sharing in 1U invaluable for the project.

In addition to its power density, Roncoroni also opted for Unica amplifier platforms because of the Powersoft Cloud, which enables remote monitoring. “There are no dedicated technical staff on site and Powersoft Cloud allows us to try and be proactive with servicing and fault finding,” he says.

James Lawford, live sound channel manager of CUK Group, Powersoft’s UK distributor, highlighted why Unica stood as the perfect fit for this setup: “The rack space was limited, with only 16U rack, it was useful to have Unica’s power density. Not only that, but its power-sharing capability, allocating power across different speakers and utilising multiple channels within a small amount of space proved invaluable given the number of speakers in the installation.”

During the audio installation, electrical work was still in progress, making the testing and verification functions crucial. “Being able to test loudspeakers with only the switch powered, with no mains to the amps, was invaluable,” he says. Unica’s PoE input ensures that the network ports and amplifier logic circuitry remain powered in case of mains loss, ensuring a quick wake-up time when power is restored.

Lawford points out: “Dan relied on PoE++, which Powersoft highlighted as a key feature during Unica’s launch. This goes to show that Powersoft was considering both the end user and system integrator needs from the outset.”

In addition to the amplification system, Roncoroni chose Powersoft’s Mover, a compact low-frequency inertial-drive haptic transducer. Installed in an area requiring the replication of the sound and feel of a collapsing structure, Mover addressed concerns about ceiling height and potential noise complaints from neighboring units. “Mover solves both of those problems while arguably being far more effective than any traditional subwoofer,” he explains.

Mover’s compact design and impressive power-to-size ratio allow seamless integration into confined spaces without orientation restrictions. The high ratio between moving mass and total mass enhances overall product efficiency, contributing to an elevated AV immersive experience. Simultaneously, concerns about low-frequency noise pollution are minimized.

The accompanying Powersoft amplifiers include 68 EM Acoustics EMS-41, 13 EMS-51, five EMS-61, and four EMS-81X passive loudspeakers, along with fourteen EM Acoustics S-48 low-profile VLF installation subwoofers, two QSC AD-CTW ceiling speakers, 24 QSC AD-P4TB pendant speakers, and seven AD-P.SUB-B pendant subwoofers. Additionally, two M2 Mac Minis run QLab and PanLab plug-ins, along with two RME Digiface Dance and one TiMax SoundHub 32-S.

Each loudspeaker on the golf course is individually amplified, housed in a single 42U rack alongside the lighting and show control equipment. “The audio system is relatively simple,” says Roncoroni. “Each 18-hole course is run from a Mac Mini running QLab. The Mac Minis output content via Dante, through the RME units, either directly to an amplifier or via the TiMax for spatial audio.” Content is triggered through OSC commands from the Pharos lighting system, processing sensor output from each golf hole to activate win, lose, or ambient content.

“This was the first installation with Unica in the UK, and for us it was great to see how many Unica features Dan and Full Production utilised to make the final result a success,” says Lawford.

“We’ve had an excellent response from Treetop Adventure Golf,” reflects Roncoroni, emphasizing how the final result aligns with the installation’s objectives. He appreciates the company’s trust in using audio as a storytelling tool. “The company and its creative team have embraced an attitude that wouldn’t be amiss in professional theatre making,” he concludes.