Recently, the Marin Theater Company in Mill Valley (Calif.) underwent an install under the supervision of sound designer Norman Kern. Kern has also been part of projects at the Mill Valley and Walnut Creek theaters and has worked with artistic director Lee Sankowich, whose credits include director of the theatrical version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Kern recently specified EV® SxA360™ and Plasma® powered loudspeakers for the new system at the Marin Theater Company, a professionally run, non-profit venue that has built a reputation as one of the finest theaters of its kind in the U.S. Kern reported that,
“Last season I suggested the theater management make a move towards installing a new system, as the last one needed to be replaced. They asked me to put together three possible systems. The most affordable one was the one they ended up installing--the system with powered EV SxA360s. Why? Because the more expensive systems didn’t sound any better. The SxA360s were perfect, as this is a 250-seat proscenium theater with no fly space, and the SxAs pack a lot of power and full-range articulation into an exceptionally compact package. They are very quiet, they are very precise, and for what we do in our theater they are absolutely perfect. They are very musical, warm-sounding boxes that are equally accommodating to the spoken word and soundscapes in a wide range of volume levels. The 360 is one of the most versatile loudspeakers I’ve ever worked with.”
Kern also specified an EV Plasma P2™ powered subwoofer, which has extended low frequency response via a built-in processor, bringing similar flexibility to the bass frequency control in his soundscapes. Kern’s system is run via a 24-channel digital mixer and incorporates SFX™ software from Stage Research® for intuitive cueing and playback control. Using a combination of software specially designed for theatrical sound designers and professional grade loudspeakers makes his job at once easier and more effective: “We’re going in completely digital to the speakers, and things sound fantastically clear and true coming out of the 360s, no matter what SPL we’re running. This is a compact system that was acquired within budget, yet it sounds larger than life. There’s no space for a cluster above the stage, so each box is flown from the lighting rig – their lightweight and small footprint meant we could fit big sound into a pretty small space, without interfering with the lighting.”
Kern continued: “The 360’s low distortion, wide coverage and sonic warmth really immerse the audience in the theatrical experience, which is what my job is all about. When the Production Manager came by to hear the new system, I put on something I had done in the studio and really cranked it up. He sat there listening without flinching – even though it was very loud. It was only when he opened his mouth to say something that he realized just how high the SPL was. The distortion on these boxes is so low that that high volume can be achieved for an exciting sensory effect, rather than causing discomfort and distortion. As an independent Sound Designer, I’ve been so impressed with the performance of these speakers that I’m even thinking of purchasing some myself–-a portable system that I can take from theater to theater to ensure my work always sounds this good!”
For more information, please go to www.electrovoice.com.