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Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center Upgrades with an Eye to the Future

Bauder Audio Systems supplies the PAC with a DiGiCo Quantum338 console, SD-Racks and 4REA4 processor.

Kimmel Center Senior Audio Engineer Kenny Nash (left) and Assistant Audio Engineer Walter Brown (right) seated at Verizon Hall's new DiGiCo Quantum338 console
Kimmel Center Senior Audio Engineer Kenny Nash (left) and Assistant Audio Engineer Walter Brown (right) seated at Verizon Hall’s new DiGiCo Quantum338 console.

Philadelphia, PA (January 6, 2022)—First opened in December of 2001, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts centers around the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall, home to the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the “Kimmel Center Presents” performance series, which features a variety of jazz, classical, and pop music performers.

Last summer saw the venue get an audio upgrade with a new DiGiCo ecosystem comprising a Quantum338 console, two SD-Racks, and a 4REA4 Processor with multiple controllers, provided by Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Bauder Audio, which also consulted with the Kimmel Cultural Campus technical team during their in-house installation of the gear.

While the Quantum338 console and SD-Racks address the Center’s immediate audio production needs, according to André Barette, Kimmel Cultural Campus director of production, the 4REA4 processor is being used as a backup processor for the Verizon Hall sound system, routing paging and program audio to various zones in the venue’s back-of-house areas. In the future, he expects its capabilities to be extended to the Center’s other performance spaces, including the 650-seat Perelman Theater and its 75-foot-diameter turntable stage that permits the space to be used as a recital hall or a proscenium theater, and the SEI Innovation Studio, a 2,688-square-foot black-box theater. “The 4REA4 is a very powerful and versatile processor, and we foresee it becoming an important part of our digital audio infrastructure in the future,” he says.

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Also included in the project were a pair of DiGiCo A168 stage boxes, one on the stage in the Verizon Hall and the other in the venue’s equipment room, connect with the 4REA4 processor, extending its reach from the main hall into other areas of the facility, such as the lobby, and replacing a number of older rack-mount mixers and processors.

This combination of the 4REA4 and stage boxes is controlled using DiGiCo’s AControl6 and AControl8 multi-layer programmable remote controllers. The AControl8’s eight faders and six layers are used to manage audio when the hall is being used by the orchestra by itself, without amplified sound. The console is removed, allowing eight more seats to be made available for sale, and control of basic audio elements such as PA announcements and bell effects alerting patrons that a show is about to commence is handled efficiently by this tablet-like controller. Meanwhile, the smaller AControl6 acts as a compact submixer in the equipment room.

“The Quantum338 console solved their input channel count problem,” says Brian Naab, Production Manager at Bauder Audio Systems. “Before, they had to resort to sidecar mixers as the channel counts got larger for pop shows with orchestras. Now, with the SD-Racks, they have 112 channels to work with, and they’ve got a lot of console in a small footprint. It’s one amazing desk. But the combination of the 4REA4 processor, the stage boxes, and the AControl devices really gives them lots of flexibility in terms of configuring the hall, and for future extension of audio throughout the venue. Eventually, the 4REA4 will distribute and control audio everywhere, so future growth is built into the system.”