Drama Queen

Northridge, CA - The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame became a landmark on the campus last year, completing the DeBartolo Quad by capping the southernmost end with a facility that faithfully renders Notre Dame's traditional collegiate gothic architecture on a massive scale. It is, overall, a 150,000-square-foot building with 177 rooms. That structure houses the Department of Film, Television and Theatre as well as the Browning Cinema, Leighton Concert Hall and Decio Mainstage Theatre. It was designed for both public performance and for teaching as it includes classrooms, editing suites, a recording studio and rehearsal hall. In order to handle the diverse demands of public dramatic performances as well as teaching classes and cinema sound reproduction, the university selected JBL Professional's high-powered Cinema Series loudspeakers.

"JBL Cinema Series speakers were specified originally," said Josh Ingle, audio engineer at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. "It was important that the speakers used were THX certified, which the Cinema Series are. We needed that level of performance because of the type of productions that are shown here and the university's demand for quality from top to bottom. The Cinema Series has delivered on that very successfully."

The DPAC, as it is known, houses five venues, with one of the most active being the Michael Browning Family Cinema. It is a 200-seat, THX-certified room with digital projection intended to show student projects from the film department as well as independent and sometimes commercial film releases. According to Ingle, most movies sell out, even if they are controversial or non-mainstream. "People love the sound," Ingle said. "The feel of the overall venue is great, the architecture is amazing and add to that the sound system being so good, the Browning is very popular."

The main left/center/right speakers in the front of the theater are the JBL 4675C-8LF models, which are direct-radiator high-power large cinema systems designed to deliver uniform frequency response throughout the entire listening area with high sound pressure level. Each cabinet features two 15-inch low frequency drivers, a single high frequency driver and a high frequency horn with a crossover at 500 Hz.

The surround speakers are the JBL 8340A high power cinema system with each cabinet containing a single 10-inch low frequency driver, a one-inch high frequency driver and a 100-degree horizontal by 80-degree vertical high frequency horn with a frequency range of 45-18 kHz. The Browning Theatre handles the low frequency sound with three 4645C subwoofers. They are comprised of a single 18-inch high power speaker with power handling capacity of 1600 watts continuous program and a frequency range of 22 Hz to 500 Hz.

Other venues within the building, such as the 350-seat Decio Mainstage Theatre are also using the JBL 8340A Cinema Surround speakers for hosting Broadway type shows and student productions. The speaker systems in all venues are powered by Crown Macrotech amplifiers.

"We needed high quality as well as flexibility because this is a teaching space as well as a commercial space," Ingle said. "It hosts everything from classes to commercial movies, and the sound has to perform up to spec, and it does."


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