eccles center, home to sundance film festival, installs l-acoustics KARAi system
News | Eccles Center, Home To Sundance Film Festival, Installs L-ACOUSTICS KARAi System
Eccles Centerís Kearns Auditorium, newly equipped with an L-ACOUSTICS KARAi loudspeaker system (photo credit: Max Seltenrich)

PARK CITY, Utah -- The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center, owned and operated by the Park City school district, is arguably Utah’s finest performing arts venue. First opened in 1998 and well known as the primary venue for Sundance, Robert Redford’s annual film festival, the center hosts a year-round program of national dance troupes, musical acts, cultural events and, of course, student productions.

The venue’s 1,269-seat Kearns Auditorium – the largest theatre in Park City – housed an aging sound system that had been designed for medium-level reinforcement but was regularly being run harder than intended. Eccles Center Production Manager David Hallock, who had been researching the renovation of the sound system for nearly four years, finally called on Salt Lake City-based Poll Sound to install a KARAi line source array system from L-ACOUSTICS.

Hallock was already familiar with L-ACOUSTICS’ reputation when the school district placed an RFP to update the system. Deward Timothy, Poll Sound’s owner and lead sound system designer, brought in his own rental KARA system to show what it could do in a daylong presentation, ultimately winning the bid among three applicants.

“L-ACOUSTICS provides a very comprehensive and systematic approach to sound reinforcement design,” notes Timothy. “Using SOUNDVISION we were able to model the space, anticipate any problem reflection issues, and solve them right from the start. And the model always works. In all the systems we’ve installed, we have never had one where the performance didn’t match what the model predicted.”

During the preliminary design process, Hallock modeled the space and considered several different systems before choosing a format that was appropriate. He also looked at eight-inch versus ten-inch systems and discovered that the smaller format gave him enough power to do everything he needed in the space and would be good for 99 percent of the shows they host – a nice advantage in this budget-conscious project. “From there, it was a process of figuring out how many enclosures we needed to cover the room well, which optimally turned out to be 12 KARAi per side,” Hallock says.

Once the system design and budget requirements had been fulfilled, Hallock worked on addressing sightline issues. The speakers ended up being hung in a trolley system so they could be moved literally upstage and downstage 12 feet in order to clear lighting positions for different types of events.

In addition to the KARAi arrays, Kearns Auditorium also received a central ARCS WIFO array, six SB18i subs – both flown and stage-stacked – 12 discreet 5XT coaxials divided as stage lip fills and balcony under-fills, two ARCS FOCUS as a balcony delay system, and LA8 and LA4X amplified controllers.

“Another plus with L-ACOUSTICS is that even though there were three different cabinet types in this system, they are all voiced to sound the same,” Timothy adds. “So when you move from the main house to under the balcony, the sound system personality does not change; it sounds the same in both locations. And the final results of this installation have been so pristine; the clarity is remarkable. I measured intelligibility and it was 0.79, so really nice. But honestly, given L-ACOUSTICS’ commitment to excellent engineering, we weren’t surprised that we were able to attain that.”

In the first few weeks following the system’s installation the venue used it on a number of different productions, including A Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor and dance ensembles The Trey McIntyre Project and Jessica Lang Dance. “This system is appreciable because it gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility,” Hallock adds.

For info on the Eccles Center and its upcoming events, visit Poll Sound can similarly be found on the Web at