Farber Sound Brings State-of-the-Art Sound to Historic Paramount Theatre with Harman's JBL VRX Constant Curvature Arrays and Soundcraft SI3 Console

Farber Sound Brings State-of-the-Art Sound to Historic Paramount Theatre with Harman's JBL VRX Constant Curvature Arrays and Soundcraft SI3 Console
  • Located in the historic downtown district of St. Cloud, MN, the Paramount Theatre is a city-owned cornerstone of the community, serving as a stage for rent by community groups and for professional performances by touring musicians and theatrical groups.

When the time came for a new audio system, the Paramount Theatre called on Minneapolis-based Farber Sound, which designed and installed a house PA system containing Harman's JBL VRX Constant Curvature arrays, with a Soundcraft Si3 digital console at the front-of-house position.

According to Dave Farber, owner of Farber Sound, the project was the result of a longstanding relationship between his company and the Paramount Theatre. “For the past 10 years we have been the theater’s production company whenever they needed a rental system, whether it was just stage monitors or if the artists wanted something beyond the house PA system.”

Over time, Farber began to discuss the prospect of replacing the house PA system with an updated, cost-effective solution. For one event at the Paramount, Farber Sound deployed JBL VRX loudspeakers, which left an impression on Chuck Norwood, the Paramount Theater’s technical director. “The people I work with at the Theatre were very impressed and it really left a memory with them about how the VRX system would sound if it could fit the theater’s budget and space,” Farber said. “We installed the system and it’s been working fabulously.”

The system includes line arrays of four VRX932LA-1 loudspeakers per side, with one VRX918S subwoofer per side. Six AC16 loudspeakers provide front fill, along with two SRX728S subwoofers that can be utilized for additional subwoofer reinforcement when necessary.

As one of the region’s leading professional audio service companies, Farber Sound’s comfort level with the VRX line arrays is derived in part from its experience as a JBL VERTEC line array system owner, as the company deploys its VERTEC system for a variety of live sound events.

“The VRX system was perfect in terms of size and cost,” Farber said. “The balcony is not very deep and the throw is not very far, so the Constant Curvature line array design accommodated the layout of the room. We felt that with the types of productions the theater hosts, this system would really fit any scenario.”

The Soundcraft Si3 digital audio console was selected for its combination of versatility and sound quality.

“The Si3 has received quite a few compliments from artists who have used the system and they’re impressed with how easy it is to mix on the console right from the start,” Farber said. “The Si3 sounds great, the built-in effects eliminate the need for outboard equipment, and the number of inputs and outputs you get compared to other consoles in the same price range is a huge advantage.”

A BSS Soundweb London BLU 160 signal processor is used as the main DSP frame at the Paramount Theatre, with a 4-in, 8-out configuration, controlled through HARMAN’s HiQnet System Architect™ program. “We ran two CAT5 cables from the BLU 160 to the amp rack located in the catwalk, where we installed a BSS BLU-BOB breakout box to get to the amplifier system,” Farber said. “If one cable goes bad, the other one picks up immediately and the PA system continues. It made the installation very easy from a wiring standpoint.”

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