Commercial and education

Greeson Hall, Crosby, Scunthorpe

We were called in to install an induction loop system because it was necessary for some users of the hall. As part of this, we were also asked if we could do something about the level of reverberation (echo) in the main hall (1.37 seconds). We took some measurements and concluded that we would need to cover 28% of the walls with absorbent AND diffractive materials and due to the way the hall was used it would also need some hanging diffusion panels.

We manufactured the panels for the hall and allowed them to choose the colour scheme and patterns. We installed this in just over 7 hours following a 20-hour manufacturing time.

The reverberation time dropped to the recommended and BB93 friendly RT time of 0.8s and the space is now used far more than it was originally becoming once more central to many community activities.

Manchester Grammar School

Called in by Cabinco, a bespoke manufacturer of wooden structures, to ensure the new Bexwyke Lodge building would meet the requirements of BB93 and future expansion capabilities.

We took extensive measurements of similar buildings that Cabinco had built and used this to develop and specific compound for a “shoe” upon which all structural elements sit and a special acoustic glue which ensured that no room can be heard from another. We also assisted to ensure the room sizes and finishes would meet the stringent requirements of the project.

The building has a mean resonant frequency of below 120 Hz, exceeds BB93 requirements and an overall RT of 0.6s. It is also thermally very efficient which is a by-product of good acoustic design.

We were also involved in the design of the new theatre and studios at Manchester Grammar as a direct result of this work.

We also worked with Cabinco on projects for the RSPB and domestic dwellings after this.

St Ann’s Special School, London

We were asked to measure and suggest alternative treatments for St Anns School to avoid the council covering a beautiful Victorian vaulted ceiling in the main school hall where the RT was over 8s in some frequencies. We took extensive measurements and concluded that when the building was built it was incorrectly sized as such we were forced to use the building as is.

It was a necessary part of the solution to be able to use amplified music and speech.

We concluded that the solution was to hang acoustic clouds in the school hall and we allowed the school to choose the colours initially and then gave the school additional covers which the children could paint on so the covers could be changed roughly every 6 months by the school’s existing maintenance contractors. This work was completed over the course of 3 days working at height (over 7 metres) during school holidays.

We also showed that by fitting the acoustic ceiling (cost of over £300k) the acoustics would actually have been made far worse.

The RT time was reduced to 1s across the median range of frequencies after the fitting of a linear array system allowing, for the first time, amplified music and speech to be used in the main hall.

Eden, Ibiza

Eden Ibiza is an iconic nightclub on the Balearic island of Ibiza. We had been asked to solve the perennial problem of replacing the entire sound system every year.

After asking a lot of questions we discovered that the primary reason for this was that the system was underpowered and incorrectly specified and that although the club never paid for the system as part of a sponsorship deal with a major manufacturer, the local company in charge of the work never had the knowledge to specify or install the required system effectively.

We wrote a specific brief, identified the speaker positions, crossover frequencies and ultimately brokered a deal that instead of 1 sponsorship, saw two brands come together to co-promote and sponsor the club.

We installed 3 times the amplification and almost doubled the number of speakers installed and achieved a sound system that DJ Brandon Block called “simply bloody amazing”. The basic system has been altered many times now although the speaker positions and amplification modifications remain constant.

Private environments

Private Client Residence, Sheffield

We were called to a private clients’ house in order to ensure his relatively high-end sound system was operating to its potential and if required to suggest acoustic treatment.

The approach we took was very different from what the client expected.

In the words of the client:

I was expecting the Halcyon Consulting guys to rock up, measure the room and produce the theoretically perfect convolution filter, suggest some acoustic panels and tell me where to put them and otherwise spend my money for me. What I got though was a lengthy and in-depth consultation about what music I like, where I thought my audio was lacking, what results I wanted etc.

We then spent some time listening to some of my favourite music and again discussed what I thought was missing and any problem areas – I found my treble a bit bright for example and the mid bass lacking.

The have this uncanny ability visualise the room interactions by listening and then used measurements more as confirmation of results rather than the method of identifying theoretical issues. It was then a case of moving the speakers around to completely change their interaction with the room and working with what was already in there.

For example, there’s a big wardrobe at the rear of the room close toward the right-hand side of my listening chair and this was causing issues but somehow, they got it to interact and resonate with the speaker, so now from the listening position the bass is perfect. They also dealt with the treble so now instead of a slight fizz to the top end I now just have bags of detail – hi hats have that lovely zing to them, high piano notes and vocals now sound completely natural.

So, at this stage no panels, no convolution files, no fluff – just a really nicely set up room that sounds brilliant and this just isn’t something I think I could have achieved to the same degree.

Private Client Residence, Chichester

We were called to a private client’s house to set up his equipment and make recommendations for now equipment that suited his space better.

This is what the client says about the experience with Halcyon:

Having made an enquiry via a Hi-Fi forum as to whether anyone could recommend a company/person able to optimally set up my system, I was passed the details of Halcyon Audio and messaged by Mike Harlington who offered his help and assistance once the social distancing rules surrounding the current pandemic allowed.

Once able to visit, I was joined by Mikes’ colleague Nico, with whom I spent a very enjoyable afternoon (for me at least) bombarding him with questions whilst he went about the business of taking measurements of my listening room (lounge) both in terms of size and layout, as well as sonically. A few days later Mike contacted me and asked if I would be happy for the two of them to rejoin me once he was able to discuss their findings and help resolve my issues in person.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of them joining me at home for what I will genuinely say was one of the most enlightening, informative, and pleasurable experiences I have had in recent times.

Not only did I learn more about how human hearing works, room acoustics and frequency crossovers than I thought possible, but I now have a system that has come alive due to the magic and expertise in their chosen field and I cannot thank them enough.
The soundstage has increased, instruments are clearly placed in the spaces around me and sound more ‘live’ than I would have thought possible. I also now hear instruments and vocals that I’d never heard before, even on well-loved and regularly played tracks.

I don’t know what Mike did or how he does it, but I have been left smiling like a Cheshire Cat for the past week, looking forward to returning home just to listen to my music and all without a need for room soundproofing, expensive upgrades or new kit. In fact nothing more than the clearly extensive knowledge of these guys. Would I recommend them? Without reservation. If you need help or advice ensuring your system sounds the best that it possibly can and don’t want the sales pitch or nonsense usually associated with anything ‘audiophile’ then please do yourself a favour and call Mike or Nico, you won’t be disappointed. I will be annoying them every time I need help or advice from now on.