Located in the rural Illinois town of Carlinville, Blackburn College serves 600 undergraduates. Its unique work program keeps costs low and campus community involvement high by employing students in a range of non-traditional student jobs under the direction of professionals for nine of the campus's sixteen buildings. A recent $3 million upgrade to the 430-seat Bothwell Auditorium continued that tradition, with the student construction crew providing much of the labor. The new sound reinforcement system centers on Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers which provide exceptional fidelity and pattern control.
Blackburn College auditorium
"The old system was original to the building, which was constructed in the 1970s," explained Ryan Winstead, sales design consultant with Advanced Audio and Lighting Systems (AALS) of Peoria, Illinois. "Their tech staff had a hard time making things sound good, and they had an especially hard time keeping stage mics from feeding back during theater productions. Part of our upgrade included a new Yamaha QL5-65 console, which scales functionality to the expertise of the operator. Accommodating different proficiencies was an important part of the upgrade."
"Giving them much better pattern control was critical to the success of this installation, both in terms of keeping on-stage volume low and in terms of minimizing side and back wall-reflections to maintain fidelity and intelligibility," said Winstead. "They also wanted stereo coverage, which would be useful for musical and theatrical performances and essential for movie presentations. Based on past experience, I knew Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers would give us the pattern control we needed with fidelity that would more than measure up to their expectations. I also knew that Danley subwoofers would provide excellent low-end support."
To each sidewall, Winstead and his crew attached matching clusters composed of a Danley SH-46 at the top for principle coverage, a Danley SM-60 for downfill, and a Danley TH-115 subwoofer. Powersoft Duecanali 5204 amplifiers with integrated AESOP DSP provide power and modest processing for the system. The fact that all of the Danley boxes use passive crossovers minimized the number of necessary amplifier channels, which helped keep the project on budget.
In addition, AALS gave Bothwell Auditorium two Danley SM-100 low-profile loudspeakers for use as stage monitors, with plans for two more as funding permits. A Powersoft M50Q provides the necessary power. "Again, Danley's well-known pattern control makes the SM-100 an excellent stage monitor," said Winstead. "That, and its low profile. It has an inspiring sound and it doesn't take up a lot of visual real estate."