Photo above: The Venue at Thunder Valley’s inaugural concert season kicked off with a February 17th performance by the Eagles on the room’s L-Acoustics K2 rig
The Venue at Thunder Valley Casino Resort is a new 4,500-seat entertainment space officially christened on Valentine’s Day this year. Under the aegis of the United Auburn Indian Community Tribal Council, the $100 million, 150,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Lincoln, California, approximately 30 miles north of Sacramento, is already proving the value of its state-of-the-art approach to venue technology with the first run of shows. That started with the Eagles’ “Hotel California 2023” tour, followed by Bruno Mars, and then Santana with Bryan Adams, plus The Black Crowes, Frankie Valli, Ringo Starr, and many more in the wings, all using The Venue’s newly installed L-Acoustics K2 sound system.
Touring artists like these are attracted to the venue for its controlled acoustics and leading-edge technologies, with the L-Acoustics K2 system as its audio flagship. “With a system like K2 in place, touring shows can leave all or most of their touring PA on the truck,” observes Chris Miller, engineer and owner of Sacramento-based CTM Sound, the project’s audio systems integrator and exclusive audio production vendor for Thunder Valley. “We were very comfortable taking on a room this size with K2.”
In consultation with the L-Acoustics applications team and Akustiks, the consultancy that ultimately specified the venue’s audio design, CTM installed a system that perfectly addressed The Venue at Thunder Valley. For instance, the two main hangs of 14 K2 per side, buttressed with two flown hangs of seven K1-SB subs per side, are powerful enough to cover virtually the entire seating area, including reaching nearly 200 feet to the rear of the venue and its middle-level balcony with full-range, fully coherent sound. More low-end power comes from a dozen KS28 subs, end-firing as a flown center cluster.
The front rows are covered by eight Kiva II loudspeakers across the stage lip, while upstairs, the upper of the venue’s two balconies is covered by four hangs of three A15i speakers each—two Focus, one Wide—to provide complete coverage of that seating area. And performers onstage enjoy 20 L-Acoustics X15 monitor wedges.
The system is powered by 23 LA12X and one LA4X amplified controllers and managed by a pair of P1 system processors matrixed at FOH, allowing for guest consoles or EQ. Audio transport is over a Milan AVB network, managed by a dozen LS10 network switches located throughout the venue, including at FOH, video control, and the amp room.
“The combination of K2 and A15i hangs for the upper balcony meant we didn’t have to splay the main hangs as much to reach the upper seats,” explains Miller. “We found every tool we needed in the L-Acoustics toolbox to fit this project perfectly. As a result, it not only sounds fantastic but there’s very little difference in SPL from the front to the back of the house. The coverage is even and consistent throughout.”
This isn’t Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s first L-Acoustics sound system. The property’s 900-seat Pano Hall venue had an L-Acoustics Kudo system installed, consisting of two hangs of 12 loudspeakers each, in 2011. Some of those have been repurposed as side-fills for the new venue, along with several existing SB28 subs. “That’s a classic L-Acoustics speaker model, and they still sound great,” says Miller.
As he was overseeing the load-in for the facility’s Eagles performance, Scott Prentice, production manager for The Venue at Thunder Valley, said, “When you have a band like this coming in that’s used to top-of-the-line sound technology, having a system like K2 makes all the difference. K1 and K2 are at the top of every rider I see, so it says something about the venue when they see L-Acoustics there.” He adds that aside from symbolizing the venue’s own dedication to sonic quality, K2 being installed can also save touring artists time and labor costs.
Finally, he notes, The Venue at Thunder Valley’s K2 system is specifically tuned for the room. “L-Acoustics technicians came here to tune it for our space,” he says. “Other venues in the region tend to be multipurpose rooms, spaces that do a number of things, some of which happen to be concerts. But The Venue at Thunder Valley is a theater designed specifically for music, and it has a PA system that makes it the best in our market.”
Gene Whitehouse, chairman of the United Auburn Indian Community, is quoted on the Thunder Valley Casino Resort website as proclaiming, “The United Auburn Indian Community is proud to have the ability to continue to position Thunder Valley as Northern California’s premier entertainment destination,” he says. “The Venue is the future of entertainment at Thunder Valley, and we look forward to attracting big-name performers year-round.”
For more information on Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s The Venue at Thunder Valley, visit www.thundervalleyresort.com. CTM Sound and Akustiks can be found online at www.ctmsound.com and www.akustiks.com.