As technology continually drives the improvement of entertainment systems, customer expectations rise exponentially. This is just as true at sea – in the cruise market – as it is on land, which is why the cruise liner Saga Sapphire has emerged from a recent refit with a comprehensive Sennheiser, DAS Audio, K-array and APart audio system on board.
Under previous owners the 30,000 ton vessel was named the Europa, SuperStar Europe, SuperStar Aries, Holiday Dream and Bleu de France. Given its third major refit at the end of 2011, the liner emerged as the Saga Sapphire with significantly upgraded facilities designed specifically for its owners’ over-50s market. Major elements of the refit were brand new audio, lighting and A/V systems, specified and installed by Luton-based TEDAV.
“Our technical director Mark Morley had an extensive marine past and brought a lot of that with him when the company started, so we do a lot of refit work,” says TEDAV operations manager Sam Nankivell. “Probably 98% of all the radio microphones we install or purchase are Sennheiser and nowadays we habitually specify them for clients. One of the key elements of supporting seagoing vessels is that maintenance is almost continuous, due to the environment. With Sennheiser we know what we are dealing with and how to effect repairs, should they be necessary, and the relationship has built from there.”
The relationship with Sennheiser has naturally led to TEDAV looking at, and then specifying, brands that Sennheiser UK distributes. In the case of the Saga Sapphire, this includes DAS Audio, K-array and APart loudspeakers.
The installations cover eight of the ship’s entertainment spaces, including the Britannia Lounge, the main performance venue. There, 18 K-array KK50vb variable beam, two KK50 and two KK100 compact line array cabinets, six KKS50 subs, KA10 and KA10-10 amplifiers comprise the main audio system, with four Sennheiser SKM 300 G3 series microphones, four sets of EW 300 G3 in-ear monitors and 13 RI 150 LL infra-red receivers with neck loop for passengers with hearing impairment.
Elsewhere on board the audio specification includes further K-array KK100s, KKS50 compact line array bass and KN10S-P subs; Sennheiser wired e 845 and e 614 microphones, plus 10 sets of HD201 headphones; DAS Arco12, Artec 26, Artec 28 loudspeakers and PS-800 amplifiers; APart Mask 6T loudspeakers and Swingset amplifier/speakers systems where background music is required, plus a total of around three kilometres of speaker cable.
“We have followed a very similar pattern to what we did on the Saga Pearl two years ago. The idea was to keep the familiarity of the system in each space on both ships,” says Sam. “The ships have very long, wide rooms with very low ceilings and a traditional eight to 15” box doesn’t lend itself to that environment.
“The sort of small footprint loudspeaker that K-array manufactures – which produces the clout and clarity that we need, whilst blending into the background – was an ideal solution, as it also provides great coverage. Once we’d done the Saga Pearl and knew the products in a lot more detail, it was a logical progression to do a similar thing on the Sapphire.”
Having access to a full range of high quality installation products through one supplier has proved to be a major advantage for TEDAV.
“The range of products we can take from one supplier is a huge benefit,” concludes Sam. “It means we condense the supplier chain down and have access to the same high quality level of support for all of them.”