MELBOURNE, FL-The King Center for the Performing Arts was in dire need of an updated sound system when Alison Kraus came through to play a headlining gig. Like most acts that played at the King Center, she brought her own PA system because it was well known that the house system was outdated. The sound Kraus' team got out of the system made the center's production manager Tim Freese and the theater manager Steve Janicki realize that quality sound was possible in the facility.
The King Center's technical supervisor, Rance Caldwell, stands by the recently installed rack of Crown amps and Lake Contour processing.
The center went to Kenny Holton at local contractor ASR to update its system. Holton recommended they include Craig Beyrooti of Atlantic Pro Audio and Link USA in the design process because of his experience in the touring industry. Holton and Beyrooti took the theater managers to NSCA for the expertise of the factory representatives. They were introduced to the JBL representatives and went about putting together the perfect system for the center. They decided on Crown amps, but Holton and Beyrooti were adamant about installing a Lake Contour system because of its quality in processing audio performance.
At the King Center, there had always been a difficulty in flying a separate rig when a group would bring its own PA. To resolve this, the ceiling was raised and the fly points were improved. Holton explained, "The theory was that by using the Vertec rig, an extremely rider-friendly rig, a band could use its own system if they wanted and it would be easy to take ours down and put back."
The King Center hosts events from one person at a podium to a full concert rig so maximum flexibility was stressed along with the need for independently zoned speakers. Holton said, "It's zoned and independently controlled through the Lake system for the lower, middle, and top speakers. It's a left, center, right system with delays on the balcony, some frontals on the deck. We knew what kind of control these acts coming through would want."
The speakers installed were JBL throughout: VT4888s for the L/R cluster, VT888-SFs for the array short frame, VT4882 subs, AM4212/95s for the rear fill, a PD5322/95 for the center fill, and SRX715s for the stage fills. A major selling point for the system is a wireless tablet PC that connects to the Lake processing unit, allowing for the change of EQ in each zone with full control. There were no processing issues besides some time correction and a basic gain setup. The theater decided not to upgrade its board, a Yamaha PM-4000, so the crew had to work with it in the installation. Since they only had eight matrix sends to work with setting up the Lake system was a bit more of a challenge.
The balcony at the King Center was given special attention for sound distribution and speaker placement.
Another challenge was getting proper sound to the balcony. Beyrooti expanded, "This venue has a huge balcony, it's almost more than half the seating. We paid special attention to getting low end up there. So we spoke with the JBL guys and they suggested moving the speakers back a bit more."
There was a lot of attention paid to the cabling when the install began. They used all Link USA cables, including a Eurocable snake that was completely plug-and-play. Beyrooti said, "They wanted the cabling to allow them maximum flexibility. A lot of the cables we used were custom made or brand new models."
When the system was finished the King Center was more than pleased with the result. "They were blown away. They didn't realize that the Center could get such an even sound, even in the balconies. We had them up there, playing with the tablet PC and they were just amazed," recalled Holton. Beyrooti stressed the focus on touring bands that was put into the design of the system. "This install was more concerned with touring acts because both Kenny and I had been out on the road ourselves. Normally a venue will hire consultants that have no touring experience to design the systems, but they got the rock guys. And Kenny's known the King Center for over fifteen years. It was just refreshing to work with guys that actually use the gear everyday."
Link USA Strives To Define Cabling Industry
Great attention was given to the cabling in the King Center install. The theater managers requested a high level of flexibility to appease the various levels of events that came through the center. From touring acts to small award ceremonies, they all had to share the system.
Craig Beyrooti, a main figure in the install, and an employee of Atlantic Pro Audio and Link USA respectively, was responsible for much of the decisions in the cabling. For a new system, like the one installed, most of the cabling had to be replaced, allowing the center to acquire newer, higher quality cables. Beyrooti said, "One of the great things about the relationship of Atlantic and Link USA is that I have input on what I'd like to see in a cable. I have a very high comfort zone in Link's durability and flexibility."
The cables that were used in the King Center install were all custom made for the job. They used a Link USA Eurocable snake as well as several new models of speaker cables. "The 16 conductor, 11 gauge, 3 square-meter cable was a first in terms of a multicore exclusively for speaker use. The fact that we had access to quality cable really made the difference. And considering that cable would be my personal choice as a sound guy, it just made perfect sense."
Due to their flexibility and quality, Link USA cables have become commonplace on most touring acts' riders. Beyrooti expressed, "You just pick it up and feel that this is a cable that far exceeds expectations."