Live Sound

The Other Class of 2006

NEW VENUES SPROUT UP ON THE LIVE SCENE 6/01/2006 8:00 AM Eastern

Just in time for the jam-packed summer touring season are numerous completely redesigned or new venues that will host both up-and-coming and international superstars on their stages. And these new venues' owners are putting top-of-the-line pro audio equipment at the top of their “install” list, as they know high-end gear helps attract key talent that will bring music lovers coming back for more shows. From your local club to renowned auditoriums, Mix takes you behind the stage (and FOH) to find out what these new venues are offering.

The Elysium Lounge hosted P. Diddy’s Super Bowl party.

ELYSIUM LOUNGE
Making headlines when it hosted P. Diddy's recent party during the Super Bowl, Detroit's Elysium Lounge (www.elysium-lounge.com), a retrofitted bank, now hosts top parties and DJs with a top-of-the-line sound system provided by Advanced Lighting & Sound. The main dancefloor features all JBL speakers: AM6340/95 three-way bi-amped enclosures, ASB 6128-6118 subs and AM4200/95. Amps and speaker processing is via BSS Audio's sw9088iis Soundweb Speaker Management and sw9008iis Output Expander, as well as a dbx DriveRack. Power is via Crown I-Tech amps. The DJ booth hosts an Allen & Heath Xone:464 DJ mixer, Technics turntables, and Sennheiser EW-135 wireless handheld mic and HD280 PRO headphones. Larry Jones of Advanced Lighting & Sound went to great lengths to ensure that the speakers would not disrupt the décor of the lounge, hanging them behind painted grilles so that they are not visible to the average patron. Additionally, an intricate acoustical treatment system was installed to help tame the sound in the cavernous space.

The dancefloor is packed at New York City’s new element club.

ELEMENT
At the crossroads of the East Village and the Lower East Side (next door to the Mercury Lounge) in New York City sits a new dance music venue and lounge, element (www.elementny.com). The building has seen many incarnations: a former bank, Jasper Johns' studio in the late '70s and numerous other clubs in the past three decades. The original architecture of the bank remains intact, but after a major overhaul, the 10,000-square-foot tri-level venue features elegant décor with textured woods (bark, zebra accents), jagged slate, copper and paper. The 305-capacity main room features a 40×60-foot oak hardwood dancefloor, and is powered by a 37,000-watt EAW Avalon Series sound system that is controlled throughout multiple zones inside the club via a wireless Crestron panel, which allows for real-time, in-zone, tuning. Amplification is via QSC CX302/902/1102/254 amps. The DJ booth features an Allen & Heath Xone:464 mixer, with Technics and Pioneer turntables, and Shure handheld mic system and beltpack transmitter.

According to element's technical director, Artur Lewicki, “Tuning the system has been a long, painstaking process. Three of the four mains, which are flown around the perimeter of the space, had to be moved several times to find the perfect placement to best cover the unique shape of the dancefloor. We would make an adjustment, then let the system run for a couple weeks and listen to it during the various parties. It takes a long time for a system to really settle in and to learn how the sound is going to act within such a complex space. Two weeks ago, we thought we were 99 percent there and then we had a Tsunami party — hardcore trance with live vocals and electronic accompaniment — with a filled dancefloor. Wow, was that a different beast. We are still happy with the speaker placement, but we will be visiting the processors before the next one of these events.

“The subs were originally built as an array — stacked two wide and three high — to increase the throw, which actually did work when there were a comfortable amount of people on the floor,” he continues. “The problem we found was that once you hit a certain density on the dancefloor, it wasn't penetrating. You could hear the rumble on the other side of the floor, but you couldn't feel the punch. We split up the array into three stacks of two and placed them around the perimeter. Now it feels like the bass is coming from inside your body.”

The Shrine Auditorium’s $15 million upgrade includes a new audio and production system.

SHRINE AUDITORIUM
No stranger to large events, Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium recently underwent a $15 million renovation, maintaining the theater's classic architecture while adding a state-of-the-art audio and production system. According to Shrine general manager Duke Collister, because the Shrine is a wide room with a stage measuring 105 feet at the proscenium, and the throw to the rear seats is 209 feet, he spec'd a Meyer Sound MICA and M1D. Collister worked with audio consultants Jack Haffamier (Complete Production Rentals) and Joe Hesse (MSS Audio Services) to configure a system that shows two arrays of 16 MICA cabs angled inward slightly from the sides of the proscenium, augmented by a pair of center arrays of 10 M1Ds each (eight mounted under the stage lip for frontfill and 18 more under the balcony). Other Meyer gear installed includes eight 700-HP subs for LF and two Galileo loudspeaker management systems for processing and drive.

According to Haffamier, “A lot of the awards shows built out almost 20 feet in front of the proscenium. That calls for a much different configuration than a rock show. We can switch from 16 MICAs per side to nine per side with three delays to cover the upper balcony.”

Tootsie’s in Nashville has a long history and a new sound system.

TOOTSIE'S
Since 1920, Nashville-based Tootsie's has been a barometer of sorts for country music artists: If you get your snapshot on Tootsie's Wall of Fame, success may soon follow, as has been seen with such musicians as Kris Kristofferson, Hank Cochran, Mel Tillis, Roger Miller, Waylon Jennings and Patsy Cline. Chart-bound musicians heading to Music City will find a new system at Tootsie's, which is based on gear from Peavey and Crest Audio; Peavey is no stranger to Tootsie's, as front-of-house engineer Bobby Phillips can point to a rack containing CS 800/1000 amps driving Peavey Black Widow 18-inch subs from the 1970s.

The new system comprises a 24-channel Crest Audio HP-Eight mixing console, which Phillips can use for both mains and monitors. “I'm running five monitor mixes — one set of in-ears and four wedges — and I typically run 16 to 20 channels, depending on the size of the act.” Ten Peavey GPS (Global Power Series) amps deliver the signal to two sets of QW loudspeakers and monitors. At stage right and left, a GPS 900 powers the high end of a QW 1, while a GPS 2600 powers the mids. Other models include GPS 3500 amps, QW 215/218 subs and QW ML/MR monitors.

KING CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Rebuilt with acoustics in mind, a $1.3 million renovation at the King Center for the Performing Arts (Melbourne, Fla.; www.kingcenter.com) focuses on creating a space that is more conducive to live performances, which includes improved acoustics and sightlines. King Center's technical supervisor and head of audio, Rance Caldwell, worked with ASR ProEvents (Longwood, Fla.) audio consulting firm to bring in a JBL VerTec line array (16 VT4888s, six VT4880s) to the 2,000-seat performance space. “The VT4888s are really conducive to the space, and the mid- to high frequencies are very smooth,” Caldwell says. “We were able to hang them a little bit higher and aim them down to get the exact coverage we needed.”

Renovations to the King Center for the Performing Arts were designed to improve acoustics and sightlines to the stage.

The renovation also included major changes to the ceiling structure that will improve viewing capabilities for the patrons seated in the Grand Tier, as well as remodeling the artists' dressing room areas and an artist entrance. Since reopening, the center has hosted Vince Gill, the Moody Blues, Loggins & Messina and Clay Aiken.

Mezzanine, S.F.
San Francisco-based Mezzanine wanted to start competing for top-name live acts. To do this, the club hired production manager Josh Roberts (Ben Harper, Beth Orton, King Crimson, Meat Beat Manifesto, among others). One of his first to-do items, Roberts brought in an entirely different sound system. The live rig, which augments the existing DJ system rather than replacing it, comprises two line arrays made up of six EAW KF730 loudspeakers each. Four EAW SB1000 subwoofers are located under the stage. Power for both systems is provided by three QSC 6.0 MkIIs, a pair of QSC 4.0s and three QSC 2.0s. Mike Lacina-owner of San Francisco-based JK Sound, which assisted in the install-also designed a switching system that allows the amplifiers to power both the DJ and live rigs, while saved profiles on a pair of XTA DP226 processors allow technical staff to quickly recall processor settings for both systems. MORE

Morongo Casino and Spa, Hollywood
The Keyclub Hollywood, which has hosted the likes of Aerosmith, Marilyn Manson and Black Eyed Peas, has just opened up its sister venue at the Morongo Casino and Spa with a state-of-the-art-sound system install provided by Rat Sound Systems, which includes two Yamaha PM5Ds, a load of outboard gear at FOH, XTA Drive Racks-all of which incorporates the venue's old P.A. as a supplement system by throwing a Midas XL88 Matrix mixer. MORE

Gibson Amphitheater, Hollwood
The Gibson Amphitheater at Universal CityWalk, formerly known as the Universal Amphitheater, recently brought in Sound Image of Escondido, Calif., to perform a complete sound system renovation. Critical to the new setup at the well-known Los Angeles-area venue is a multichannel Lake Mesa Quad EQ(tm) digital matrix processor system, which has been installed to provide front-of-house main system and onstage monitor loudspeaker processing. MORE

Hard Rock LIve, Orlando, Fla.
Hard Rock Live Orlando has upgraded its concert loudspeaker complement with a brand-new L-Acoustics KUDO line source array system. After hearing KUDO demonstrated at ETS-LDI last November, Hard Rock Live Orlando technical director Brad Meszaros and front-of-house engineer Brian Robertson were convinced that it was the right system for their venue. Consequently, local systems integrator TechnoMedia Solutions (www.gotechnomedia.com) was brought in to install the rig for the 3,000-capacity venue, which now sports twin nine-box hangs of KUDO flanking the stage and four SB218 subwoofers flown directly behind each KUDO array, providing a single point source for the entire bandwidth of sound. MORE

Sycuan Showcase Theatre, El Cajon, Calif.
After renting monitor systems for larger shows during the past few years, the Sycuan Resort and Casino venue made the decision to invest in its own rig and asked San Diego's J&E Pro Audio Supply to submit a proposal for a new stage reinforcement setup. J&E Pro Audio Supply's Jaire and Enrique Lopez at Sycuan Showcase Theatre's new Soundcraft Series FIVE Monitor desk One of the primary pieces of gear that J&E specified was a 48-channel, 32-bus Soundcraft Series FIVE Monitor desk, which is now located on the right side of the theater's stage. MORE

Fabric, London
Nightclub Fabric has upgraded its Room Two to include a 32-channel Allen & Heath GL4800 multipurpose console; the purchase was made through London-based Autograph Sales Ltd. The GL4800, loaded with the four extra stereos option, will manage FOH and monitors for a wide range of acts. Room Two already has a 4-mono/6-stereo-channel Allen & Heath Xone:464 club mixer permanently installed, with Martin Audio speakers, JBL amps, and XTA and TC Electronic outboard equipment.

Revolution Hall, Troy, N.Y.
All-purpose venue Revolution Hall-an expansive rectangular-shaped room featuring a thrust stage looking out at balconies on three sides-recently installed Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, including four SH-50 full-range loudspeakers for FOH (two per side), two more SH-50s for cross-stage monitors, three broad-dispersion SH-100 loudspeakers flown for each balcony section and four TH-115 subwoofers for under the stage.