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End-to-end Howard Theatre Renovation, Part 1

Apr 6, 2012 10:54 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Part 1

Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast Show 55 Part 1 with Amit Peleg of New York design and integration firm Peltrix. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

The Howard Theater in Washington, D.C was once a dilapidated hulk, but after a huge renovation, its audio and video systems are among the best anywhere. Amit Peleg of New York design and integration firm Peltrix is going to tell us how they pulled off the Howard’s big tech resurrection, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Amit, thanks for being with us on the SVC Podcast from Peltrix in New York and we’re going to be talking about the big Howard Theater project, but before we get started on that, tell me something about Peltrix and what all you do there?

Amit Peleg: Hi. Peltrix is a design, installation, and integration company. In business since 1996 or [1995], I think. I think the end of [95]. We’re dealing mainly with high-caliber music videos such as B.B. King Blues Club and New York, Blue Note Jazz in New York—I mean Highline Ballroom in New York; we did Blue Note in Las Vegas and now Howard Theater in Washington D.C. is the current project we’re working on right now. [It’s] pretty elaborate. We don’t bid on jobs. We basically are hired to do the whole thing from start to end including actually helping with production, so we don’t just do either design or the installation, but we help right from the start to the architects with things such as stage size or design of the stage itself, what kind of materials to put on top of the stage, power. And then to the clients, we help in the end with even hiring the house production staff. [Timestamp: 1:58]

Well, that sounds like a lot, and I guess once you’re on location on the job that really gives you an advantage in having kind of handle on everything.

Yes, I actually worked in the field as sound engineer traveling for many years, so I kind of experienced what bands experience when they come to a venue and what they need and how to make their life easy or easier anyway. I try to implement those things in the venues that we work in so when they come over it’s the same thing as if they’re actually touring with their own system. Especially for one nighters, if they come in and—some of the artists that perform in those venues are normally an arena sized artists—and they’re used to [travelling] with their own rig and get the same thing every night. And if they come for a one-nighter, in a small venue like this, they have to be able to just patch in. Maybe they bring in their own console and or some other outboard gear and they should be able to get in and out without any delays because there’s not much time to play games there. [Timestamp: 2:54]

And you’re talking about a fairly small venue, but actually the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. is an old place, but there’s been a lot of work going on there. Tell me what’s been going on with the big renovation there. It sounds like a lot going on.

Yes, Howard Theater is a 100-year-old theater in Washington, D.C. that used to be the icon of the old straight-ahead jazz and the good era of the jazz at the very beginning. People such as Billy Holiday played over there and during segregation time even. It was closed and abandoned in the, I believe, in the end of the 1970s. It was basically shut down for 30 years and run down to basically a shell. Everything else was destroyed. The roof caved in and the walls were basically the only thing that was still left there. It is part of a pilot project to bring about the whole neighborhood around the Howard University in Washington, D.C. There are some other buildings that are being built right around it, but that will be the center point for action and activity in the area and hopefully that’s going to help in bringing this whole area to a better shape than it is right now. It’s pretty run down. [Timestamp: 4:02]

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