A Massive Line-array System at the Paradise Theater, New York
Apr 12, 2010 12:00 PM
For many types of entertainment, the Paradise Theater is one of greater New York's leading destinations. With its Greco-Roman statuary and marble columns that line gilded walls crowded with murals of winged cherubs and cloud-bound figurines reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel, this 80-year-old, registered landmark building with a seating capacity of 3,785 people is host to performers of all genres.
Engineer Fernando Garcia of the AVS Production Group, the Bronx, N.Y.-based production company contracted to handle sound at the Paradise Theater, was instrumental in both specifying and erecting the massive sound system that consists of 20 D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 large-format, three-way line-array modules plus another four Aero 12A two-way, compact, mid-high line-array elements.
"The challenge of correcting the sound system was further complicated by the ornate nature of the hall," Garcia says. "We originally envisioned a line array system where all the elements were flown and the individual boxes were pinned to provide coverage both in the balcony and on the main floor. We were limited, however, in terms of the weight we could hang without modifications to the ceiling area, which was ruled out because of aesthetic considerations. As a result, the solution to provide the most uniform coverage was a combination of flown and ground stacked loudspeakers."
The Paradise Theater's loudspeaker setup consists of 10 D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 enclosures on each side of the stage, with six enclosures flown and the remaining four ground stacked on the stage edges and vertically aligned with the overhead clusters. These enclosures are driven by 10 Lab.gruppen FP 10000Q 4-channel amplifiers, with five amps per side. For front fill, four D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A self-powered, compact line-array elements are evenly distributed across the front center of the stage area. Loudspeaker management tasks are handled by a D.A.S. Audio DSP-4080 four-in/eight-out digital processor. Subwoofers and stage monitors are proprietary.
During the installation of the new sound-reinforcement system, which occurred last November, Garcia was impressed not just with the sonic performance of the D.A.S. Audio equipment, but also with the company's technical support services and the hardware. "Right from the start, the D.A.S. team was extremely helpful," Garcia says. "They assisted with the modeling of the loudspeakers, which was performed with EASE Focus, and were of great help responding to the various questions I had.
"As I mentioned previously, the theater's architecture limited the amount of weight we could fly, and this is where the Aero 50s' flyware became a tremendous asset in helping us address this issue. The D.A.S. bumper used to fly the Aero 50s is surprisingly small and light compared to many systems from competing manufacturers. This helped tremendously, as we had no issues raising the cluster up to the height we wanted. Many competing systems use much larger grids that are simply too wide and, thus, compromise the ability to fly the loudspeakers at the height we wanted without hitting walls or the ceiling. By comparison, the D.A.S. setup is essentially a clamp, so it doesn't occupy as much space. D.A.S. Audio's hardware design is clearly superior."
With the sound system operational for the past several months, Garcia reports positive results on all fronts. "The sound quality of this equipment is excellent right out of the boxthese enclosures are really flat, so they simply don't need much tweaking" he says. "While we have equalization available, I find that we use it very sparingly. We're now experiencing even coverage throughout all areas of the theater and speech intelligibility is first rate. Best of all, we don't need to blast the system in order to fill the room. We work with SPLs that are appropriate to the nature of the act and the size of the audience. When we need to raise the levels, we have plenty of headroom to work with. When The O'Jays performed, their sound engineer had never used D.A.S. before. Upon hearing the system, he was really impressed with the clarity and coverage of the systemand we hear this sort of comment all the time. Everyone offers compliments on the system's performance."
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