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Networked Audio

Designed by John Eberson, one of the foremost motion picture theater architects in the world, The Palace Theatre opened in October 1931 in Albany, NY as an RKO movie house that presented vaudeville acts between feature films. Still taking a multifaceted approach to the business of entertainment today, the renovated 2,844-seat room maintains a schedule of events centered around theater, live concerts, comedy and film.

"In spite of all its diversity," said Brian Vita of Peabody, MA-based Cinema Service & Supply, "our goal was to provide the room with a single system that could manage everything, from surround sound cinema to live music."

Weighing various networked options that would bring his vision to life, he ultimately chose six BASIS 922az units from QSC to serve as the bedrock of his control, monitoring and processing needs. Part of the family, the BASIS boxes brought configurable DSP to the Palace, along with ease of operation that eliminated the need to call a sound company every time a new event appeared on the bill.

"We effectively built two distinct systems within a single network to accommodate this room," Vita related. "One is pure cinema, and the other handles live PA. With the BASIS boxes at hand, audio can be reconfigured for any situation simply by calling up another preset. Now, after an evening of live comedy one night, with a simple flip of a switch we're ready for movies the next."

Within the cinema portion of the system, a Dolby digital processor drops signals onto the BASIS network, where they are amplified by a combination of QSC's DCA3422, DCA3022 and DCA2422 amplifiers prior to delivery to an all-QSC assortment of loudspeakers. These speakers include LCR screen channels served by triamped, cinema-specific SC-443s and 18 surrounds at left, right and rear, all of which are MD-F152/124r models from QSC's ModularDesign Series. Providing earth-moving bass that, according to Vita, "can cause structural damage if the need ever arises," are eight SB-7218s, also culled from the QSC catalog.

Designed around a central cluster trio of ModularDesign MD-F152/64r enclosures, the live PA portion of the rig receives downfill support from a pair of AD-S182H loudspeakers from QSC's AcousticDesign Series. Power for this segment of the system comes from the same DCA Series amps serving the cinema side of the house.

"If more is required of live PA, individual acts will bring in their own gear as needed," Vita pointed out. "In those cases, if they choose, they can easily plug into the BASIS network via a Cat-5 connection at the FOH mix position, which is the same place the house Soundcraft mixer we supplied is interfaced."

Thanks to the slim profile of the QSC rackmount components, all of the gear required of both systems easily slipped into only a pair of L267-70 racks from Lowell. At 70 inches high, the racks have a usable depth of 24 inches and were located independently, one in a main equipment room, and another onstage that received a perforated steel door.

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