d&b reinforces the Temple for Performing Arts: Des Moines

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The Temple for Performing Arts (TPA) in Des Moines, Iowa is one of those solidly imposing structures built to underpin the growing confidence of mid-western cities as they entered the twentieth century. Originally constructed in 1911, the TPA fell on hard times and was, until recently, deemed one of the nation's most endangered historic buildings by the National Historical Register. Restoration of the building's fabric began in 2002 and now the restored venue boasts three individually unique performance areas: The Grand Hall and The Recital Hall, both on the 4th Floor whilst The Temple Theater is situated on the 2nd Floor and is operated by the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines.

Like the opulent Grand Hall, the equally sumptuous Temple Theater is four thousand square feet and provides seating for approximately three hundred in its theater profile. Jason Kartak, from Minnesota based Audio Logic Systems describes it as 'A fabulously ornate theater with a nice natural acoustic.' It happily accommodates a broad palette of musical culture, arts, entertainment, learning and comedy; most recently home to a record sixty eight weeks run of the determinedly lowbrow comic play Triple Espresso. To support this eclectic quality of entertainment, the management knew that a similarly flexible and responsive PA system was required.

Greg Tracy, Assistant Production Manager for the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines explains further, "After a seven year time span, it was decided to upgrade our existing equipment in the Temple Theater. Both staff and audiences had been consistently impressed with the quality of the sound during the Triple Espresso run, and so we immediately contacted John Markiewicz, their sound designer." By a happy coincidence, Markiewicz is also the owner and president of Audio Logic Systems in neighboring Minnesota. Tracy continues, "John brought down three different d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker systems for us to compare: the Q-Series, the C-Series and the T-Series. We also asked him to prepare quotes for two other brands of loudspeaker systems, but it didn't take long before those possibilities were eliminated."

Although the room is a relatively friendly environment acoustically, there were other factors to consider. Kartak explains, "Today's sophisticated touring shows demand an increasingly high standard of audio fidelity. A quality sound system solution was needed but it had to be one that didn't compromise the visual aesthetic of the room." The unobtrusive visual design of the T-Series from d&b seemed to fit the bill. "When I demonstrated the system, TPA saw them immediately as the ideal solution to their needs. Small, lightweight, yet extremely powerful in line array configuration; what makes this system stand out is its ability to deliver full bandwidth reproduction at much lower levels, say for speech, without the need for re-addressing the EQ structure." Tracy concurs, "As in most retrofit installations, there were inconvenient walls, poor cable routes and acoustically unfriendly surfaces to deal with. A particularly tricky area here is an overhang which puts the last half dozen rows of seats under a much lower ceiling than the rest of the seating. The T-Series arrays did a beautiful job of punching the sound into that area with no discernable loss of response.”

The first to use the system was a local singer/guitarist Mary McAdams and her band in September. Since January 2010, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines has presented the Prairie Meadows Temple Theatre Series presenting a variety of performances including Dixie's Tupperware Party, Runt of the Litter, The Wonder Bread Years, and Girls Night: The Musical. There seems no doubt that the installation has been a valuable development in the Temple Theater, as Tracy explains, "It allows for a much wider range of performances, both in size and complexity, from meetings and acoustic performances to comedy club type events and full blown musicals." Tracy is uncompromising in his praise for the installation, "I was impressed! Impressed with the d&b products; impressed with Audio Logic's expertise. Everything went like clockwork."

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