Photo: Barbara Blaisdell
For more than 25 years, the Stardome comedy club in Hoover, Ala., has built a reputation as a respected comedy showcase in the Southeastern region, having hosted Margaret Cho, Craig Ferguson, Louis C.K., Sinbad, and Pauly Shore, as well as a regular roster of new and innovative talent.
The room’s tiered, dinner theater style seating offers a few interesting acoustical challenges. As Patrick Sobers of Birmingham-based Media Visions explains, “It’s a fan-shaped room, with dinner theater style table seating on tiered rows. But the front section is almost at orchestra pit level; you don’t get to stage height until the third or fourth row.”
With a throw to the last row of around 60 feet, the problematic space called for a sound system that could be shaped to create the custom coverage the room needed. Media Visions recommended the Renkus-Heinz VARIA modular point source array.
The system comprises left and right arrays, each with a single VAX101-15 and VAX101-22 cabinet. Each array is topped with a VAX15S subwoofer. “The top box has a variable 60- to 90-degree coverage, and the bottom one goes from 90 to 120 degrees,” says Sobers. Additional front fill is provided by a pair of CFX41 compact coaxial speakers, with CFX81 8-inch cabinets covering rear delay and side fills. The system is powered by Lab Gruppen amps, with a Biamp Nexia handling system DSP. A PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 digital console handles Front of House duties.
Sobers quotes the club’s owner, Bruce Ayers, as saying the system “sounds absolutely awesome.”
“They’ve struggled for several years with systems that didn’t really meet their needs,” says Sobers. “VARIA enabled us to design a system that delivers consistent, full range coverage and great intelligibility to the entire room.”