OU’s Elsie C. Brackett Theatre Gives L-Acoustics Rave Reviews
Skylark AV and BOLD-Multimedia install compact Kiva loudspeaker system during major renovation of University of Oklahoma’s Rupel J. Jones Fine Arts Center
NORMAN, Oklahoma - January 2016 -- To say that the University of Oklahoma (OU) places a premium on the performing arts would be a dramatic understatement. The only public university in the United States with a School of Musical Theatre, not to mention the state’s sole comprehensive music school, OU is also home to one of the nation’s oldest established drama schools, second only to Yale in terms of longevity. So when the Norman, Oklahoma campus revealed that it was renovating the main 570-seat theater at its Rupel J. Jones Fine Arts Center, an L-Acoustics Kiva loudspeaker system soon became one of the most eagerly anticipated updates to take the spotlight.
For the audio portion of the retrofit, AVL project coordinator BOLD-Multimedia turned to Oklahoma City-based Skylark AV to help recommend a house sound system for the newly dubbed Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, which frequently hosts musicals, drama, dance and opera.
“The Brackett’s previous system needed to be replaced for three reasons: aesthetics, poor coverage and outdated technology,” notes Skylark AV’s Steele Beaty. “The university uses the venue not only as a place to hold shows and performances, but as a learning center for students who are looking to build a career in the field of live production, so it was their goal to implement the latest in audio technology. Our task was to specify a product that not only sounded great but also had perfect audience coverage and aesthetically blended into the remodel. Kiva was the right fit for all of their criteria.”
Skylark/BOLD’s solution, which beat out three other companies in the bid process, involved the deployment of left and right arrays comprised of six compact L-Acoustics Kiva enclosures flown under a single SB15m sub per side—plus a center hang of an ARCS Focus over an ARCS Wide used solely as an effects system. Four coaxial 12XTi are flown inside the stage area for performer monitoring, and the entire system is driven by one LA8 and two LA4X amplified controllers.
“Although we felt that an L-Acoustics system would be the best fit for the room, ultimately it was the school that made the decision to go with the brand,” Beaty continues. “They were extremely familiar with the product, and in their opinion thought it was a better choice than the other competitive systems. We agree. Kiva delivers an extremely even frequency response from the front row to the back of the room. And form factor versus performance is another reason why the product was chosen. With a total array height of only five feet, it perfectly fit into the space while reaching incredible SPL for its size.”
The Brackett Theatre first fired up the new L-Acoustics system in October with several performances of the technically demanding, Tony Award-winning musical, Ragtime. Since then, the venue has hosted a wide array of productions—from Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show to The Nutcracker—all of which have reportedly sounded better than ever in the newly remodeled space.
“Once the Kiva system was turned on, we quickly realized how special it was to be a part of this project,” adds Beaty. “The significance of the upgrade to this historic venue elicited tears from some of the University of Oklahoma staff commenting, ‘It’s the best sound we’ve ever had; I can’t believe that it actually happened!’”
For more information on OU’s Brackett Theatre, visit www.ou.edu/content/finearts. Skylark AV and BOLD-Multimedia can likewise be found online at www.skylarkav.com and www.bold-multimedia.com, respectively.