A new L-Acoustics amplifier and loudspeaker package has been installed at the Capitol Theater in Madison, Wisconsin.
According to the theatre's technician Brian Anderson, the new set-up comprises ten KARA enclosures per side, each complemented by an additional hang of six SB15m subwoofers creating an ultra-compact and lightweight flown three-way arrangement. The KARA arrays cover the balcony and orchestra level seating areas, which eliminates the need for underbalcony speakers. One of the requirements was that no speakers should be visible, so the arrays are enclosed within towering boxed frames on the far sides of the stage, and concealed behind acoustically transparent scrims.
For foldback, a dozen coaxial 12XT wedges can be placed onstage when needed, with four more 12XT also available for deck-fill use. A front-fill system of six 5XT units is inset into the front of the stage lip, while two SB28 subs per side are positioned below to provide augmented low-frequency impact. A combined total of 11 LA8 amplified controllers monitor, process and drive the front-of-house and monitoring systems. All of the equipment was supplied by Clearwing Productions, and installed by Capitol's own audio production team.
"The Capitol Theater hosts nearly 250 performances a year, and those productions span quite a variety – everything from theatre to rock, classical and opera concerts – so we needed a system that could be very versatile," Anderson said. "After inviting five of what we considered to be the most production rider-friendly manufacturers to individually come in and demo their most appropriate systems here in the space, we unanimously chose to install KARA.
"Since the system went in this past August, we've done a bunch of shows and we're thrilled beyond belief. What I particularly love is that I can sit in the far corner of the upper balcony's very last row and I don't feel that I'm getting a different representation from when I'm sitting front and center. The evenness of coverage is spectacular; much better than I would have thought possible. And the system's detail, articulation and clarity are frighteningly good. It's very honest, revealing every little nuance of both a performance and mix."
The Capitol Theater first opened its doors in 1928, and is the oldest and second largest venue in Madison's Overture Center for the Arts complex, which includes seven performance facilities and four art galleries.
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