For over 20 years, the Kentucky Center performing arts complex in downtown Louisville has served as the largest multipurpose venue in the state, hosting dance performances, concerts, and high-profile political events that include Ronald Reagan’s presidential election debate in 1984. Many of these high-profile presentations were heard through the 12-year-old Meyer Sound system installed in the biggest venue of the complex, the Royal S. Whitney Hall. When it came time to upgrade the sound system in the Whitney Hall and its sister venue, Moritz von Bomhard Theatre, Audio Department manager David Doukas returned to Meyer Sound for a new system of substantially more power and improved clarity. It also had to be compact enough to fit into the existing spaces built for the previous system. To meet his exacting demands, Doukas installed a system based around the company’s popular M1D line array loudspeaker.
“The M1Ds were the only self-powered line array that could fit inside that 24-inch slot in the proscenium,” says Doukas. “It was the ideal solution because we didn’t have to change the building. We simply tuned the system, and it sounded wonderful.”
The 2,400-seat Whitney Hall is home to the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Opera, among other organizations. It also hosts a regular series of touring Broadway musical productions. Needless to say, optimal sound was of key importance, in addition to space and budgetary considerations.
“We had a fixed budget for this latest system renovation, and carving out an even bigger slot would have eaten up a large part of it,” says Doukas. “The M1Ds literally fit the bill, and the self-powered feature also helped free up backstage space that would otherwise be taken by amplifier racks.”
The completed main array configuration, designed with the aid of Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction program, consists of left and right arrays of 12 M1D loudspeakers each concealed behind scrim, as well as a center array of 14 M1D cabinets. The center array is lowered into place when needed, and flown out of sight when not in use. The design also includes five single M1D cabinets along the stage lip for frontfill, four UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers for balcony delay, and four permanent 700-HP subwoofers. Four additional 700-HP subs are available for deployment as needed.
“We’re very happy with the M1D arrays in the hall,” states Doukas. “The coverage has improved considerably, and now you can actually hear a stereo image.”
Shortly after completing the Whitney Hall system, a smaller M1D system was installed in the Kentucky Center’s 619-seat Moritz von Bomhard Theatre, which has hosted a full season of children’s theatre productions along with concerts, lectures, and political presentations by notables such as Tom Brokaw and Senator Hillary Clinton. The newly installed system features left and right arrays consisting of six M1D loudspeakers and two M1D-Sub ultracompact subwoofers. Three additional M1D cabinets provide frontfill.
Both venues utilize a Galileo™ loudspeaker management system for drive processing, and the Kentucky Center keeps its own SIM® 3 audio analyzer on hand for in-house use.
“The combination of SIM and Galileo makes tuning the room very quick and easy,” says Doukas. “The SIM system plugs right into Galileo, so you can move effortlessly from zone to zone to make any changes.”
Meyer Sound supplied the Kentucky Center’s monitor loudspeakers, as well. Eleven USM-1P stage monitors and four USM-100P stage monitors serve as floor wedges. Two MTS-4A loudspeakers provide sidefill when needed. A separate, portable system for lobby events utilizes two UPA-1P loudspeakers and four UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers.
Doukas is excited about putting the new systems to use for the venue’s busy events schedule. “If you can do it in there, it’s been done,” says Doukas. “We’re happy to have a do-it-all sound system.”