Bartlesville Community Center
The Bartlesville Community Center recently completed an extensive upgrade
designed to enhance the sound reinforcement capabilities in the building's primary performing arts space-the Marie Foster Performing Arts Hall. After an extensive evaluation period that included on-site demonstrations from all the major equipment manufacturers, the contract was ultimately awarded to SFH Productions, LLC of Tulsa, OK. The system that won the bidding process was required to have the ability to easily adapt to a broad spectrum of presentations. Key components in the new sound reinforcement system include all self-powered loudspeakers from the D.A.S. Audio catalog.
The Marie Foster Performing Arts Hall is a highly sophisticated performing arts venue. At approximately 125 feet long by 125 feet in width, the space has a concave ceiling that is 60 feet at its highest point with a 25 foot slope to the floor. There are 1,692 seats, with an additional space able to accommodate ten wheel chairs. There is no center aisle-seating is arranged in the Continental style, with each row 42 inches wide. Each row is actually considered to be an aisle. The sound reverberation rate in the space is controlled with the drapes on the side and rear walls in optimized ranges of 1.9 seconds for symphony concerts to 1.1 seconds for theater performances.
According to Gary Howard, principal of SFH Productions, a full-service A/V firm that offers equipment rental, audio recording, and related services in addition to systems design and installation, "The space required a system that would complement the room's already very nice acoustics. Further, it had to be capable of providing a natural sound that patrons who are accustomed to non-amplified acoustic performances could enjoy. The system's ability to provide even dispersion throughout the entire seating area without sounding harsh or overpowering was also a key design mandate and, of equal importance, the client requested that it have the ability to blend aesthetically with the room as much as possible and present a clean, unobtrusive appearance to the audience."
The D.A.S. Audio loudspeaker system installed by Howard and his crew consists of three main components: two symmetric left and right flown line arrays, floor mounted double 18-inch subwoofers, and four D.A.S. Audio Variant 25A ultra-compact line array modules that can be positioned for front fill-typically along the front edge of the orchestra pit. Each line array consists of two Aero CA-215A monoamplified arrayable subwoofers positioned atop ten Aero 28A two-way, compact line array elements. Each line array is flown using StageMaker SM5 Electric Chain Hoists. The arrays are raised and lowered for each performance as necessary-to avoid visually conflicting with the regularly scheduled acoustic performances of the local symphony orchestra.
Complementing the flown loudspeaker arrays are dual, ground stacked Aero 182A 2K subwoofers-positioned just to the outside of each loudspeaker column. When monitors are required, a combination of seven D.A.S. Audio SML-12A and two SML-15A powered stage monitors are provisioned according to the requirements of the specific performance.
"The system made its 'baptism by fire' debut on the 16th of January with a performance by the Temptations," notes Howard. "Since that time, it has also been used for a concert by the 1st Infantry Division Band. What really makes this system so compelling is the combination of the D.A.S. Audio loudspeakers. Throughout the entire hall, there is no more than a ± 3 dB SPL variance. The D.A.S. loudspeaker system delivers very clean and even sound coverage without overpowering the audience. It's a very high quality sound that never gets aggressive."
Anthony Hinton, Technical Director for the Bartlesville Community Center, is equally enthusiastic. "When I was looking for an audio system for the community center," said Hinton, "I knew I needed something that would enhance the auditorium and not take away from the natural feel of the room. The D.A.S. Aero line array system did just that. The combined system is not too loud as to distract one from enjoying the show, and yet it fills the room with whatever is taking place on stage without going overboard. The reproduction is very smooth and accurate..."
Text by Roger Maycock.