Lensic Theater basks in a warm South Western glow, with d&b
Restored just ten years ago, the beauty of the mixed Moorish and Spanish Renaissance style Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico is now basking in the warm embrace of something other than South Western sunshine: a new audio system that reflects the honeyed tones of the theater's architectural heritage. "Despite winning 'Best place for live entertainment' from a local independent newspaper for several years, lately we had become more disenchanted with the muddiness, lack of clarity, and poor distribution of our house system." Explained Lensic's engaging Operations Director Steph Smith. "This needed proper consideration; out of eight hundred and twenty one seats the sound was marginal in two hundred of them."
Smith took a thorough approach, "We looked at proposals from several leading manufacturers and eventually arrived at d&b audiotechnik, and not without good reason. We'd had a visit from a touring production, k.d. lang, that had their own d&b system. It was much more extensive than anything we required, but it proved to us that d&b was where we wanted to go."
Sensitive to the architectural refinement of the Lensic's interior, Smith found he was able to address aesthetic as well as acoustic considerations, something that had simply not been possible with older audio technology. "Size of enclosure was a large concern in this house as the line array has to lift up out of sight (almost) for our concert and HD Live cinema programs. The compactness of the Q-Series and its power for size sold us. It didn't hurt that their price was very competitive. We actually constructed hollow cardboard box mock ups of the d&b and flew them to show the theater board how compact the d&b Q-Series sub and loudspeaker enclosures would be."
The system was supplied and installed by Albuquerque based AE Productions, as Joe DiFalco, Southwest Manager for the d&b US office explained. "AE productions are a very technically competent organization, as they clearly demonstrated on this project. Although the Lensic had a clear idea of what was required, AE's project leader David Buehler carefully guided them through the system design process. He demonstrated a clear understanding of the products and their application; more importantly he took on the d&b ethos of less is more."
For a first time installation Buehler was very pleased, "We had just attended J-Series training in North Carolina when I engaged with this project. The one thing I didn't realize is just how fast and easy it is to load tuning parameters into the amplifiers; tell them what they're driving and where, press go and it's done. The d&b D12 is really rocking; in five minutes we had audio coming out." The main system comprises a Q1 array each side of stage, with single Q7s independently rigged to cover the upper balcony, and the 10S-D from the d&b White range for the lower balcony. "Steph had a welder on site for us when we delivered, the brackets for the balcony delays were done there and then. We were able to position them so high they practically disappear into the darkness above the audience; yet they sound phenomenal. The wider 110 degrees of horizontal coverage from the D variant of the 10S proved ideal for the sweeping breadth of the Lensic's balcony."
Smith was equally pleased, "AE were great; on time, on budget, no drama. The factory backup and factory tuning reassured us because this was the first install of d&b AE had done. We selected d&b for size, accuracy, power, elegance, and tune ability in amplification and that's what we got. They also perfectly matched the cabinet paint to the auditorium. Every one comments on how much better it sounds, how much more even the distribution is. As operators of the system we are proud of the clarity and solid sound the Q-Series produces."