Donated to the federal government in the late 1960s by owner Catherine Filene Shouse, Wolf Trap now houses The Barns of Wolf Trap, a 400-seat venue; the Educational Center, which provides space for the Wolf Trap Opera Company; and the 7,028-seat indoor-outdoor Filene Center. The recently upgraded audio systems at the Filene Center include a main P.A. comprising an L-Acoustics V-DOSC system with 12 elements and four double 18-inch sub low cabinets per side, and a center cluster containing three arcs, driven by QSC 6.0 amplifiers.
A 69-channel active splitter divides signal between the house, lawn and monitor areas, and makes provisions for a recording truck. The lawn system includes six bays of JBL proprietary cabinets divided into three L-R zones, each containing eight 15-inch drivers (for a total of 48), two 2-inch horns and three bullet tweeters driven by Crown and JBL/UREI amplifiers. A new Yamaha DM2000 digital mixing console and outboard effects are positioned at the top of the lawn seating area. According to lawn system engineer Gavin Pearce, who works with a staff of four full-time audio employees at the park, the DM2000 was chosen due to its size and available number of inputs, combined with the ability to recall and onboard effects.
“The DM2000 replaced a much larger PM3000,” said Pearce. “We liked the smaller footprint since it has to be moved. I had used the Yamaha 02R while traveling with the touring companies of Broadway shows and became familiar with the paged architecture of digital boards. Since we’ve started using the DM2000, we’ve found it especially handy when doing festivals where you’ve got acts all day long and must change settings quickly.
“All the inputs from the splitter are normalled straight into six AD824 mic pre’s,” adds Pearce. “By doing that, we were able to almost completely do away with the analog patchbay, although I still need some for tie lines and the like. As far as lawn systems, this is pretty serious—that’s one reason people are so happy sitting on the lawn here. Most outdoor venues treat the lawn patrons like second- or third-class citizens, but at Wolf Trap, they care enough to have a second FOH position and a designated engineer. That blew my mind when I first came through here on tour and, fortunately for me, that very position became available two years later.”