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Heavy-duty Audio Upgrade at Eisemann Center, Part 1

Feb 9, 2011 11:56 AM, with Bennett Liles

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With a heavy show schedule the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas needed to upgrade its facilities and part of the new gear is a wireless mic system from Lectrosonics. Virgil Justice and Valerie Clark will tell us about that and the centers other improvements coming right up on the SVC podcast. Virgil and Valerie thanks for being with me for the SVC podcast and you’re coming to us from the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas. That’s a very interesting system upgrade you recently had there, what sort of facility is the Eisemann center?
Valerie: It’s a community based performing arts center that serves the entertainment and special events needs of both the cultural and business client in the entire north Texas region. [Timestamp: 1:1]

OK so you must have a lot of different performers coming in there. How far in advance do you know or can you schedule for what’s coming in and know what you have to set up for?
Virgil: Well we have our own series where we present shows and we try to schedule that out a month, month and a half and then we have our client-based revenue that we try to schedule anywhere…that we try to schedule a month and a half out but sometimes it may be… what would you say Valerie 48 hours? Yeah 48 hours or 49… [1:39]
Valerie: Definitely.
Virgil: So it’s really client-driven timeframe on that. [Timestamp: 1:43]

All right well it’s pretty much living out on the edge as far as setting up and being ready for something. I’ve heard a few things about the Eisemann Centers Presents series. Tell me a little bit about that.
Virgil: We’ve established our series of shows and we present under that branding name—“Eisemann Center Presents.” And we have the Spotlight series which is an eclectic line up of theater, music and dance and that takes place in a larger 1,600-seat venue, the Hill Performance Hall. And we have a really popular series, The Viewpoint Bank Theater Comedy series, in our Bank of America Theater and that’s a smash comedy hits shows, six to eight performances of each production usually and then we have the Family Theater series which is a Sunday matinee productions geared towards children and their families. And our newest addition to our lineup is Jeffery Seigel’s Keyboard Conversations and it’s a Monday Night Concert series with a lively commentary by Jeffery Seigel a internationally acclaimed pianist. [Timestamp: 2:42]

OK so for the Eisemann Center Presents series you’ve got some regular setups and predictable acts coming in so I guess that’s not as big a challenge to be setup and ready.
Virgil: Yeah, the reoccurring ones we do get a pattern to and we know the resources and timeframes. If it’s every Monday…every other Monday night we kind of know what’s its going to be. The stuff that changes like the Theater Comedy series it’ll be a different comedy or it’s not as much standup but a different comedy theater type of show each time so it requires different planning depending on the act or show that’s coming in. And it’s the same with the Spotlight series that’s anywhere from the Oakridge Boys or Al Jarreau to ABBA Mania so it’s all different kinds of acts there too. [Timestamp: 3:33]

And it looks like you’ve gotten some help with the Texas Instruments Foundation Grant. Now what was this grant designed to provide in the helping the Eisemann Center upgrade its facilities?
Valerie: Consistent with the Texas Instrument’s focus on technology, the TI Foundations Grant helped to fund the Eisemann Center’s future arts and technology needs which included a custom designed orchestra shell for the theater, additional interior and exterior signage, sound and lighting system upgrades, audio/visual equipment enhancements and facility system upgrades to enhance patron comfort. [Timestamp: 4:07]

Well that was great in having TI get behind you and bankroll some tech upgrades. So they took your tech gear up to the next level.
Virgil: Correct, yes. Being a technology-based company they were on board with us using it for technology-based reasons. [Timestamp: 4:21]

So now you’re better equipped to operate in the big leagues especially when it comes to having some of the bigger performers come in maybe on short notice.
Virgil: Right. We wanted to be able to be more at a stand by ready position than have to figure out, “Well what equipment don’t we have that we’ll need?” [Timestamp: 4:38]

Yeah and I’m sure that when the grant came up you had some specific ideas on what improvements were needed and exactly where since you’ve got several performing areas there. What areas did you most need to improve to be able to operate in the big leagues?
Virgil: Well a large percent of the grant was ear-marked originally for PA upgrades in the rooms. In the Hill Hall the larger room we wanted to focus on intelligibility and we wanted to get a higher SPL and dynamic range than our original PA was able to handle. We had artists coming in, more concert type artists, that would end up having to supplement with a rented PA or bring in their own off the truck or that kind of thing because the PA that was originally spec’d in the building wasn’t…we didn’t meet rider specifications for a lot of those types of groups so we selected a Meyer system in there and Meyer did the design for us in that room and it’s now a M’elodie stereo line array for the main level of the house with an M2D line array coverage over the balcony for over balcony seating and 700HP subwoofers for the low end and then we have a series of M1D cabinets we can string along the front lip of the stage to provide fill for the pit area when we seat the pit with audience members. [Timestamp: 5:56]

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