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L-Acoustics Hangs Over Overture Hall

Clearwing Systems installs L-Acoustics in flagship performance venue

Madison, WI (May 16, 2018)—Clearwing System Integration recently installed more than 100 L-Acoustics loudspeakers inside the flagship hall of the Overture Center for the Arts.

Built in 2004 with a $204 million donation from the creator of the American Girl doll line, Overture has a sizable imprint on the local arts scene, and some of that stems from 2,255-seat Overture Hall, the largest of seven performing arts venues and five galleries inside the Center.

Hosting everything from concerts to Broadway shows to kids’ entertainment, the venue required an audio upgrade, but under specific circumstances, said Clearwing’s Mik Moore: “We had a very compressed installation schedule of just five weeks, and the entire system included a K2-based L-Acoustics system as well as all-new DSP, 55 miles of cabling run through existing conduit, plus new video, intercom, and assisted listening systems. It meant coring a vast number of holes through the facility’s12-inch concrete walls.”

Rider-friendliness was a huge factor in the decision-making process. “The overriding goal of this project was to make the venue as functional as possible,” says Moore. “We made sure to install touring-friendly equipment as well as a tie-line system so that crews can put their equipment all over the venue and tie into front of house or wherever needed for intercom. Ease of use was a huge priority, whether for the house staff or touring crew; it needed to be effective all around.”

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Clearwing installed a QSC QSYS system for backbone, with Listen Technologies products chosen to facilitate an expanded assisted listening system. On the speaker side, there is a touring concert-style system centered on 24 L-Acoustics K2 enclosures flown in a left-right configuration with low end support provided by a center-flown quartet of KS28 subwoofers and an additional pair of KS28 ground-stacked on each side of the stage.

However, for the symphony and opera performances, all of that recedes into the acoustically transparent ceiling and “cloud fill” system that works with the room, itself. A dozen repurposed 12XT coaxials are mounted above the acoustic cloud with an additional 77 compact 5XT mounted around the house as audience fills and 13 X8 systems as front fills. A total of two dozen additional X12 wedges provide onstage monitoring and stage-lip fill, with X8 and 5XT enclosures also used in different stage configurations. Power and processing for all of the loudspeakers are delivered by 19 LA12X and 13 LA4X amplified controllers.

“Acoustically, Overture Hall is a great-sounding room,” says Anderson. “It boasts very even decay at all frequencies and extremely low ambient noise, so you really hear every detail. However, the system needed to fit through the existing doors built into the ceiling panels so it could fly out and be hidden for certain events. Also, with three balconies, Overture required a significant amount of cabinets in the line array to cover all the seats. K2’s Panflex variable pattern control allowed a wide dispersion up close as well as narrower coverage further into the room without changing to different boxes or spilling over onto the walls. The variable layouts of the room for the different events made the system design a challenge as we have three different pit configurations, as well as a variable proscenium size in terms of both width and height.”

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L-Acoustics 5XT fills were used throughout the venue for additional coverage of the Loge box seat areas and as the under-balcony “ceiling speakers.” These were chosen to provide even coverage while maintaining the same sonic signature as the main arrays. A total of 39 5XT cabinets were ceiling mounted with custom ceiling mounts, while 24 5XT, custom colored to match the environment, were used for the Loge seating areas.

Overture Center for the Arts •

Clearwing Systems Integration •

L-Acoustics •