ORLANDO, FL-As a venerable Orlando institution coming up on its 40th year in business, the longevity of Cowboys nightclub is owed to keeping up with the times and not being afraid to invest in change. An example is the just-completed transformation of the club's house sound system from a live configuration to meet the expectations of a DJ/dance format.
A perspective of the dance floor coverage region of Cowboys nightclub shows the two types of EAW Avalon full-range loudspeakers that were used to overcome different coverage challenges.
The conversion of the sound system from live to DJ/dance format for superior recorded music reinforcement has been ongoing for a couple of years under owner Steve Sullivan's guidance. He's taken a hands-on approach in steadily upgrading and tailoring the system infrastructure to enhance dance tracks within the space, a project that includes a premium mixing console, power amplifiers, and digital processing.
The culmination of his work is the recent addition of EAW Avalon Series loudspeakers, selected after what can only be described as "above and beyond" research. First methodically narrowing down a wide range of options leading to a targeted focus on the EAW line, Sullivan then actually traveled to the company's Whitinsville, MA facilities, at his own expense, for a first-hand demonstration of several EAW full-range and subwoofer models and in-depth discussions of each.
"From the outset, this was a pretty cool project for us to be involved with," noted Mike Frazee, a principal of RAW Media Teknologies, Winter Garden, FL, one of the area's systems providers who teamed up with Sullivan on the project. "Usually we start from scratch in presenting possible solutions to the customer, but Steve is very knowledgeable about audio in general and had already done a lot of homework. As a result, our discussion quickly went to the specifics of various loudspeakers in the EAW line and how they could play into what he wanted to achieve."
An unusual caveat of the club's 60-foot by 30-foot dance floor space is a significant drop in ceiling height near the halfway point. Sullivan and Frazee decided that coverage in the higher portion would best be achieved with larger Avalon DC2 loudspeakers, with the lower area optimally served by smaller DC4 loudspeakers.
"We needed to look at it from two different perspectives, really, as almost two different systems that would be united to get the job done," Frazee explained. The higher ceiling region receives full-range coverage via single DC2s mounted high up in each "corner," while the lower region is blanketed by two tandems of DC4s at each end. "The DC4s open up a little quicker, making it perfect for the more condensed space, and then we took advantage of the handy back angle of the cabinets to tuck them up into the ceiling as tightly as possible."
The other crucial part of the equation: clubs need subs. In his trip to EAW, Sullivan also received demos of several viable subwoofer models, electing to go with SB528s which are loaded with dual 18-inch-woofers. They envelop the dance floor in pulsing low-end energy, with four subs posted on the deck within the higher ceiling zone and two more supporting the lower zone.
"It came down to the 18-inch woofers-they cruise so effortlessly below 100 Hz," Sullivan noted. "One of the challenges we face is wearing two musical hats, presenting both country and hip-hop/dance music, and the subs have to be able to handle both types of low-end programming very accurately."
The system is topped off with two EAW Avalon DCT1 dedicated supertweeter arrays centrally mounted at the higher ceiling. "It's a nice bit of 'ear candy' that really sweetens the top end of the frequency spectrum," Frazee said of these pyramid-shaped units loaded with four high-frequency compression tweeters. "The DCT1 is deluxe, going way beyond 'disco' piezo tweeter packs."
More than 21,000 watts of Crown Macro-Tech power is on hand to drive the loudspeakers, with two dbx DriveRack units deployed for comprehensive digital processing. Vic Palmer and Todd Foster of Quest Marketing, EAW's sales rep firm serving Florida, provided Frazee with added support in optimizing the system, including the loan of an EAW MX8750 for precision loudspeaker tailoring, particularly in the midrange frequency region.