L-Acoustics Makes The Grade At College Street Music Hall
Audiospectrum installs Kara(i) system at celebrated New Haven venue
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut - December 2015 - Originally debuting as the Roger Sherman Theater in 1926 before eventually changing its name to The Palace, College Street Music Hall has been an important part of New Haven, Connecticut’s soul in its various iterations as a movie house, live performance space and music venue over the years. But as has happened in countless other American cities in the early aughts, College Street went through hard times and had been mostly shuttered since 2002.
This past May, however, saw the reopening of this classic music venue as the perfect fit to accommodate touring artists that have outgrown smaller theaters but are not yet ready for sheds and stadiums. The shining star topping off the hall’s return to glory is an L-Acoustics Kara(i) line array, designed and installed by Boston-based Audiospectrum Inc.
The system, which is comprised of two flown hangs of 14 Kara(i) and four SB18 per side, has the further low frequency support of two arrays of ground-stacked SB28 subwoofers and four coaxial 8XTi, deployed horizontally for lip fill. The asymmetric under-balcony area is covered by two 12XTi and two 8XTi coaxial enclosures.
On stage, a total of five SB18 subs are used: two under each left and right pair of flown constant curvature ARCS II side fills, and one deployed as a drum fill. L-Acoustics 115XT HiQ wedges provide floor monitoring, and four LA8 amplified controllers power the formidable stage system.
The new house system needed to sound great, of course, but it also had to be versatile and flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of artists, genres and show configurations. The newly renovated auditorium can be configured from 650 floor seats with the balcony area closed to a general-admission, floor-filling capacity of 2,000. The project was “one of the biggest turnarounds in downtown entertainment since the city of New Haven revived the dormant Shubert Theater, just across the street from the Music Hall, in the mid-1980s,” according to the Hartford Courant.
“Kara was the most appropriate choice for this theater,” says Audiospectrum Principal Rafael Jaimes, who supervised the project. “It’s a superior product and already has great horizontal coverage of 110 degrees. With fourteen boxes per side, we have plenty of vertical coverage, so we only needed minimal fills to cover a few areas.
“Two each of the coaxial 12XTi and 8XTi enclosures were all that was needed to cover the under-balcony area beyond the FOH mix position. A critical piece of the design is the positioning of the main Kara(i) rig, which covers mix position directly. Typically, in older theaters, mix position is relegated to the furthest position under the balcony, which then forces engineers to mix off of the ancillary fill speakers. In this case, the FOH engineer is positioned directly in the main pattern of the Kara(i) rig, which contributes to a better overall experience for both the artist and audience,” he explains.
Jaimes says the Kara(i) enclosures also offered the best solution for a vintage venue. An inspection by structural engineers revealed that there were not enough usable hang points to support a full flown line array system. Instead, a “goal post” truss was designed. Kara’s light weight kept pressure off of that truss solution without having to compromise sound power or quality. “It’s a lightweight box with big sound,” adds Jaimes. “That’s exactly what this project needed."