GREENSBORO, GEORGIA – JULY 2010: The Greensboro Downtown Development Authority recently joined forces with the Oconee Performing Arts Society and Linger Longer Communities to secure funding for a $2.5 million renovation of the historic Greensboro auditorium. Originally built in 1939 in the heart of the mid-sized rural Georgia town, the auditorium has been transformed into Festival Hall, a multi-purpose theater, education, and community center. Live performances at Festival Hall include classical music, musical comedy, plays, cabaret, country, bluegrass, jazz, gospel, and children’s music and performances. In a principled act of restraint amid a climate of “bigger is better,” dB Audio & Video (Gainesville, Georgia) systems advisor J. Frank Locklear delivered a fully-functioning, high-fidelity sound reinforcement system using just one Danley Sound Labs SH-100B combined full-range loudspeaker and subwoofer.
Due in part to referrals from other clients in the Greensboro/Lake Oconee area, the project leaders asked dB Audio & Video
to provide a quote for the design and installation of systems for audio and production lighting, as well as for acoustical analysis and acoustical treatment recommendations. The historic structure, built in the waning days of the Great Depression, underwent total renovation, with a new addition on one end for the stage and backstage area. The renovation turned the front end of the building into a lobby and added a second story to accommodate a control room for audio and video with windows into the performance area overlooking the audience seating.
The audio system uses a Danley SH-100B for the main – and only – speaker in the room. The SH-100B combines Danley Sound Labs’ patent-pending Synergy Horn full-range technology with its patent-pending Tapped Horn subwoofer technology to provide remarkably flat output from 50 Hz to 17 kHz. The placement of the SH-100B against the ceiling and proscenium wall further enhances its low frequency response. With an accurate 110- by 110-degree coverage pattern, the SH-100B covers the entire seating area evenly, with no bumps or dead spots. In addition, its central location right above the stage provides perfect imaging from every seat in the house.
QSC RMX series power amplifiers drive the main speaker and stage monitors, with Xilicia providing DSP for input conditioning, modest loudspeaker conditioning, and additional output for two Community CPL23 monitors in the control booth. The sound system conveniently locates microphone inputs at center stage and at the rear of the proscenium wall on the left and right. A Yamaha MG series mixer handles all microphone inputs, including wireless microphone receivers located at mix position in the booth.
With the trend in sound reinforcement systems growing toward ever more complex arrangements of components, it is noteworthy that Festival Hall has but one loudspeaker. Locklear put his decision in perspective. “Whenever possible, inviolable laws of physics dictate that it is preferable to design a sound system around a single point source. With multiple sources, the patterns invariably interact, either directly in the air or after reflecting off surfaces. Such a process adds and subtracts the signal across a range of frequencies, with different additions and subtractions occurring at different seats due to the different arrival times of the multiple signals,” Locklear explains. “That makes it impossible to ‘fix’ the problem with equalization. With a single point source, the direct signal is exactly the same at each seat, and the filtering of the reflected signal is kept to a minimum.”
The architect designed the new venue with some of the sidewalls built at angles to help eliminate standing waves. Nevertheless, the sidewalls at both the stage and the rear wall created unwanted reflections that were detrimental to good speech intelligibility. dB Audio & Video provided and installed two-inch fabric wrapped, acoustic panels in a variety of sizes and shapes with colors that blend with the dÃ©cor. The treatment absorbs some of these problem reflections and thus makes the room much more conducive to speech. However, it does not deaden the room too much, and music still sounds natural and lively as it interacts with the otherwise well-considered acoustics.
The production lighting fixtures, dimmers, and console are a combination of ETC and Elation. All front lighting at the stage is incandescent, while over-stage uses LED fixtures. An ETC SmartFade 4896 console mounted at FOH controls all dimming circuits, as well as the LEDs. The booth also contains two spotlights. ClearCom belt-packs and headsets tie communications together between FOH, stage, and backstage areas. The video playback system includes a Da-Lite 9′ x 16′ tensioned electric screen hung behind the proscenium valance curtain and a Panasonic PT-D6700 6000-lumens projector with a long throw lens mounted in the control room, projecting the length of the auditorium.
Compliments flew at the first performance at Festival Hall, which featured actor John Lithgow. Among them were the somewhat surprised reactions of audience members as they came to realize that the full, vibrant sound was emanating from just one loudspeaker above the stage!
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.
PHOTO CAPTION Just one Danley SH-100B loudspeaker delivers audio to historic Festival Hall in Greensboro, Georgia.