3TEN and Moody: another Texan tale of less is more

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What Big House Sound Inc. has done at Moody is a two-fold d&b solution, providing a dual purpose audio system for Moody’s basement club venue 3TEN, and revamping the main system in the theater proper with ArrayProcessing.

“One of the things with Austin City Limits and its home at Moody Theater is that they strive to be the cutting edge of performance production, and that has really paid off for them in terms of their reputation.” Rod Nielsen, President of Austin based Big House Sound Inc. “How that music sounds is the lifeblood of the venue. It is important for us to give Moody good sound advice (no pun intended): it’s our reputation as well.”

John Wheatley, Technical Manager for both venues, explains: “This all started in the Moody Theater; we were having some problems in certain sections of the room. Positional restrictions on rigging points in the roof and the physical architecture of the room meant that area could not be addressed any better. It was only a handful of seats but even so we spoke to the guys at Big House. This was just as d&b’s ArrayProcessing (AP) became available. They said immediately that AP will make everywhere in the room sound like it does at front of house.”

“We wanted to make sure AP was a good fit for Moody,” said Zach Richards, Director of Installations for Big House, “so we arranged a demo. This is a tiered room, but the furthest seat is only eighty five feet so we didn’t need AP to optimize for power; we were able to use the potential of the software to maximize full spectrum coverage, tonality and level throughout the entire listening area.”

Wheatley was intrigued. “We could tell it was better right away. Using AP meant we needed more amplifier channels, quite a lot more in fact, but Big House was able to convert the theater system to d&b’s new 30D installation amps, by repurposing most of our D12s to the 3TEN club’s monitor system. That made it entirely affordable. We traded the amps; it was a good deal, one I didn’t think we’d regret.

“3TEN’s a small room, maybe forty feet from front edge of stage to the back wall, so we spent some money and had it acoustically treated. It’s really a bar; we wanted to stage small concerts in there, but also use the room as a regular bar, so Big House designed a background music (BGM) system, and a concert system for us.

“In the tight confines of the room that small V-Series system running AP really matters. Don’t forget we have customers right next to the stage (five feet off). With the excellent system optimization of AP they are in-field enough that the PA sound overcomes the sound from the stage, and it’s not offensive. That’s the sort of quality sound for which Moody is famous. It’s flexible in how we use it; we can also open up the bar’s back wall and have people sat outside on the patio, so there are different settings within AP that makes that an easy and perfect change. We can also pipe-in concerts into the bar from the theater upstairs.”

Late March both venues received a saturation test in the form of the SXSW music festival, culminating in two sell out shows by Robert Plant. Ben Findlay, Plant’s front of house engineer knows Moody well. “I played there a few times, first with Jeff Beck shortly after Moody opened in 2011, and more recently with Robert in 2013; I’ve always found it really good. The feedback I got for both shows was entirely positive.”

Wheatley concurred. “Big House has made a really good job of both rooms. We haven’t had a single complaint since we changed to ArrayProcessing, not one. “

Images courtesy of Alison Narro Photography

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