Case Study - MA Lighting

Case Study - MA Lighting


Case Study

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

grandMA – total control


Queensland Performing Arts Centre

– grandMA system controls 504 channels at Brisbane’s cultural centre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, known as QPAC, offers arts presenters and the people of

Queensland a choice of venues and services to suit every need. Performance spaces include

the Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Playhouse, Cremorne Theatre and Studios. Spacious foyers and

corporate entertainment areas complete the performance spaces. With a history of sell-out

musicals, plays, ballets, operas and concerts, QPAC has an unrivalled reputation for providing

the right mix of location, space, service and venue credibility.

Showtime in the Concert Hall

The Idea

After an intensive research by the lighting department to upgrade the QPAC’s dimming system an

MA Lighting dimMA system was chosen for its Concert Hall. It became one of the largest

theatrical dimMA installations worldwide. “We wanted an energy efficient system that didn’t

have a power dynamic issue with the frequency harmonic”, explained Doug Brimblecombe,

lighting manager at QPAC, “We also wanted something that would work as a relay so we didn’t

have to keep changing modules. Furthermore it had to be suitable for powering moving lights. At

the same time we wanted to increase the amount of dimmers as we only had 96 channels and

now we’ve got 504.”


The installation consists of seven dimMA Digital Dimmer Racks, each with 72 circuits, distributed

throughout the Concert Hall. There are four racks with four MA Network Dimmer Processors

(NDP’s) in a specially constructed room within the ceiling space, two behind the side lighting

positions each with a backup NDP and one in the basement also with a backup NDP. Each rack

has a redundant processor capable of controlling 144 dimmer circuits. This rack distribution went

away from the traditional central dimmer room design and thus a large saving was made with the

cabling infrastructure, as the racks are now closer to the outlets.

dimMA Digital Dimmer racks

provide altogether 504 channels

“There were a whole lot of features that made the dimMA system stand out,” commented

Brimblecombe, “They were the only dimmers that could ‘hot swap’: the power was automatically

disconnected when we pulled the chassis out. The build quality is really fantastic when you

actually see the product. Heat issues were important - two dimMAs were placed either side of the

venue where the temperature can soar to 40 degrees. So it was crucial that they could stand the

heat whilst not making a noise. The MA dimmers were the quietest that we saw on spec in the

world. Nearly 40% of performances take place in the Concert Hall. So if you’re listening to a

chamber orchestra you don’t want to hear a dimmer whirring in the background. Furthermore the

dimMA system was the first complete dimmer system that was presented to QPAC that had a

really good, fully expandable and controllable yet simple networking.”

Once the dimming system had been specified, Brimblecombe and his crew had to work out

how they were going to run the system and consequently a fibre optic backbone was

installed, as well as four lines of DMX and two lines of CAT5, to most of the venue.

“Looking to the future, I can see us getting more into energy efficiency with 80 volt lights

for example. The MA dimmer, no matter what power is coming in, will always put the same

output out. With the MA dimmers, we can safely look at replacing the ceiling lights with

newer technology that uses lower voltage such as LED lighting.”

Having been thoroughly impressed by the MA Lighting dimMA system, the lighting

department turned their attention to the MA Lighting range of lighting consoles and a

purchased two grandMA full-size, two grandMA light, six grandMA wireless PDA remote

packages, four MA NSPs, two grandMA video media servers and four MA 2Port Nodes.

QPAC is the most important

cultural address in Brisbane

Project Team

Building Management

CAA Facilities Management Branch:

Bassett Consulting Engineers:


Executive Manager, Production Service:

Manager Lighting:

Australian Distributor:

Local Distributor:

Electrical Contractor:

Steven Gibson

Duncan Richards

Bill Jessop

Doug Brimblecombe

Show Technology Australia

The Production Shop

O’Donnell Griffin

Double reliability: Two NDPs offer

the perfect backup solution

dimMA in roof ceiling and data distribution with redundant DMX

Lighting control room

grandMA full-size







DMX x 4 stream as backup



PDA running

grandMA remote

PDA running

grandMA remote

Stage right system


grandMA onPC




Stage Left


Stage Right

dimMA in Basement and

Main data distribution

Schematic Network Diagram

Company Profile

MA Lighting International, based in Paderborn, Germany, is the dedicated sales, support and service entity

for the renowned grandMA control systems, digital dimming systems, networking tools and media servers of

MA Lighting Technology, based near Wuerzburg (GER). The product range offers cutting-edge solutions for

control and dimming and contains the award-winning grandMA consoles, the renowned Light- &

Scancommander, but also the reliable digital dimmer racks and packs. With its media server grandMA video

MA bridges the lighting and video worlds and integrates media servers like a fixture into lighting control.

Today, MA Lighting is well known for its technical know-how and has achieved a unique international reputation

for its operational philosophy. The company looks back with 25 years experience. MA Lighting strictly

follows a professional user-centric approach and is getting as close as possible to the market via its own

international offices as well as competence and support centres in the UK, North America, Latin America, the

Middle East/India and Asia Pacific – supported by an world-wide distribution and service network.

MA Lighting International GmbH

An der Talle 26-28

33102 Paderborn – Germany

Tel: +49 (0) 52 51 68 88 65 -10

Fax: +49 (0) 52 51 68 88 65-88

© 2008 MA Lighting International GmbH

Version VIII.01

All technical specifications are subject to change without notification.

We do not assume liability for any incorrect information in this case study.

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