LA GRANGE, GEORGIA: It had only been five years since Troup County Comprehensive High School added a 900-seat fine arts auditorium to their campus in LaGrange, Georgia, but already they were pining for a new sound system. Troup is well-known throughout the region for its theater department, which produces three performances a year at a level of professionalism that is commensurate with college productions. Although the auditorium's architects did a beautiful job of constructing a thoroughly modern facility, with excellent site lines, acoustics, and amenities, the auditorium's original sound contractors were not so successful. And thus the otherwise fabulous auditorium limped along from day one.
As it was, the old sound system lacked intelligibility and punch. It forced the theater department to rent sound systems to bring their productions up to a level that the school's drama director, Brittany Hale, described as "merely average." As dollars flowed out with
every production for such middling results, the school made the decision to cut their losses to find a permanent solution. "dB Audio and Video, located in Gainesville, Georgia, came highly recommended," said Hale, "and they were the only bidder who promised to do the entire job, start to finish, with no subcontractors. We felt that it was a cascade of subcontractors who compromised the original system, and we were keen to avoid that this time."
Before he visited the facility, dB Audio and Video sales/audio/video specialist Neil Philpott was skeptical about whether he would be able to help a high school-grade theater on a tight high school budget. "I was totally shocked when I walked into the building," he said. "Not only was the auditorium well designed for both performers and the audience, its backstage amenities for set building, overhead set fly-in, and set storage rivaled anything I've seen at even the college level. Best of all, the room's acoustics were nearly perfect for speech and supporting music. It was a shame that the sound system was so shoddy."
Recognizing that the new sound system would likely serve Troup for decades, Philpott and Hale worked hard to define a set of goals that would maximize functionality given a finite budget. Philpott's most pressing concern was the loudspeaker system itself. "Because this facility would be used for a wide range of performances, it required a speaker system that would deliver effortless vocal reproduction and impactful music across the frequency range," said Philpott. "In addition, we had to deliver to each of the 900 seats - coverage had to be comprehensive and seamless."
Using patented synergy-horn technology, Danley loudspeakers deliver remarkably flat, phase-coherent, natural-sounding audio reproduction. At the same time, their beams are precisely defined, even down to low frequencies. As a consequence, they array seamlessly. "Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers were the natural choice for Troup," said Philpott. "Unlike some other manufacturers, whose speakers require bi- or even tri-amplification, Danleys require only one amp channel per speaker. That saved Troup a lot of money."
An elegant central cluster covers most of the auditorium using just one Danley SH-96 full-range loudspeaker and a pair of Danley TH-115 subwoofers. The SH-96 has a beam width of 90- by 60-degrees. Philpott situated five Danley SH-100s for both side fill and delay to cover the sides of the auditorium and its raked seating in the back third of the room, respectively. A Xilica XP-3060 DSP feeds a modest number of QSC RMX-series amplifiers to drive the Danley system.
In the interest of permanence, Philpott addressed the input-end of the system as well. The auditorium now has a new complement of twelve Shure ULX wireless microphone systems outfitted with Countryman miniature transducers. Together, with existing microphones, they feed into a new 32-channel Yamaha LS-9 fully-automated and recallable digital mixer. The digital console allows Troup to save all scenes from multiple theatrical performances and to remotely mix during rehearsals. A Tascam CD-RW900SL provides easy recording ability, and a seven-station, two-channel Production Intercom system brings behind-the-scenes communications up to the level of the rest of the system.
With the new system in place, the auditorium now touts less than 3dB variance across the audible frequency range and throughout the listening area. Moreover, the stage volume is 18dB lower than the house, providing ample headroom before feedback. "We're so glad to finally have our sound system at a level that identifies with the caliber and excellence of the Troup County School system," concluded Hale. "It sounds absolutely amazing - clear, robust, and natural."
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.