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News | KUDO In The Coliseum Of Rock

ORLANDO, Florida - February 2006 -- The venue may look like a site from ancient history, but the sound system inside is as modern as they come. Hard Rock Live Orlando, with its impressive Roman Coliseum façade lending a literal ‘old-school rock’ vibe to Universal Studios’ CityWalk, has now replaced its previous concert loudspeaker complement with a brand new KUDO line source array system from L-ACOUSTICS.

After hearing KUDO demonstrated at ETS-LDI last November, Hard Rock Live Orlando Technical Director Brad Meszaros and FOH Engineer Brian Robertson were convinced that it was the right system for their venue. Consequently, local systems integrator TechnoMedia Solutions was brought in to install the rig for the 3,000-capacity venue, which now sports twin nine-box hangs of KUDO flanking the stage as well as four SB218 subwoofers flown directly behind each KUDO array, providing a single point source for the entire bandwidth of sound.

Additionally, half a dozen MTD108a eight-inch, two-way coaxial speakers are set out on the lip of the stage as needed to provide front fill directly in front of the stage, while a total of four 115XT loudspeakers are installed to provide balcony and underbalcony fill at the rear of the room. The whole system is impressively powered by nearly 100,000 watts of amplification.

According to Robertson, who has served as the venue’s FOH engineer since it opened in early-1999, “I have heard literally every PA on the planet come through here and this is by far the best that this room has sounded in the seven years that I’ve been here. There are a lot of reflective surfaces in here, so the room is extremely live. But by setting up the new system with SOUNDVISION design software and appropriately adjusting the dispersion of each cabinet, the KUDO boxes very effectively minimized those reflections and ‘tamed’ the room. I’ve been bugging management to provide some acoustic treatment for the room for a while now, but with this new rig, I no longer need it.

Another thing that immediately struck Meszaros and Robertson about KUDO was its intelligibility. “Our previous loudspeaker system always struggled with vocals, which were overly sibilant, harsh on the midrange and fairly hard to understand,” he recalls. “The KUDO systems are so clear, though. Everything sounds so unbelievably nice and the coverage is now extremely even from the front of the stage to the back of the balcony. There’s no longer a best spot to hear – every spot in the room is now the best spot.

And it’s not just the trained audiophile ears that can easily discern the improved quality of Hard Rock Live Orlando’s new loudspeaker system. “I was very curious to see if our senior management would even notice the difference when we swapped out the system; if not, they might wonder why we spent all of this money,” Robertson laughs. “But on New Year’s Eve, both Hard Rock Café Orlando’s general manager and vice president came in to see a group of amazing studio musicians billing themselves as Classic Albums Live sonically reproduce Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti and AC/DC’s Back In Black, and they were absolutely floored by the difference. There was no question about the improvement and that it was money well spent.

In the short time since the new KUDO rig went in, it has already been used on an extremely diverse array of internationally acclaimed artists, including Sir Elton John, The Black Crowes, Tracy Byrd, Aimee Mann, Scott Stapp, Wu-Tang Clan, W.A.S.P., The Moody Blues, Willie Nelson and many others.