Since its founding in 1994, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s (MACC) hosts over 1,700 events a year in nine facilities on the picturesque Hawaiian island.
Two of the MACC’s premier venues, the 1,200-seat Harold K.L. Castle Theater and the 250-seat McCoy Studio Theater, have just been given major audio upgrades with the installation of new self-powered Meyer Sound systems. The Castle Theater’s new MICA™ compact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers, 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers, UPJ-1P compact VariO™, UPA-2P compact narrow coverage, M1D ultra-compact curvilinear array, and CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers are put to optimal use with the aid of Meyer Sound’s RMS™ remote monitoring system and a SIM® 3 audio analyzer.
The system was installed by Docktrdave Audio, specialists in theater sound system retrofits. Company president Dave Lawler and his partners, Craig Doubet and Eric Laliberte, saw the opportunity to make a big difference for the MACC. “As the designer/installer, you’re in the spotlight when you’re retrofitting a venue with a new sound system,” says Lawler. “We use Meyer Sound speakers because they allow us to live up to the high expectations that come with these projects. I think their loudspeakers are the best quality out there, but the biggest benefit of the Meyer products is predictability. With their self-powered architecture, MAPP prediction software, and the myriad of available rigging hardware, you get great tools to deliver what you’ve predicted to the client.”
In fact, Lawler states, Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction program played a key role in the systems’ design. “MAPP is a fantastic prediction tool,” Lawler says. “Anybody can make a prediction program, but MAPP predictions exactly match the measured reality. It’s very handy not just for laying out the system, but for client presentations, since it enables them to see what the system’s going to do before it goes into the venue.”
Having confidence the new systems would be adequate for the task was certainly foremost in the minds of those at MACC. “The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is without question the premier performing arts complex in the state of Hawaii, and possibly the entire Pacific Rim region,” explains Rusty Conway, technical director of MACC. “Because of our location, our mission, and our number of venues, the variety of entertainment spans a very wide spectrum. Not only do we want to provide quality audio reinforcement, it’s expected.”
The Castle Theater hosts everything from major music tours to a culturally diverse and technically demanding concert series, and so it required components that would push the envelope both acoustically and aesthetically. Two 10-cabinet MICA arrays offered the necessary power-to-size ratio and profile, given each unit’s peak output of 138 db SPL.
“The size of MICA is perfect for the room, providing full coverage with a smaller amount of weight,” says Lawler. “There were issues with hanging speakers from the upper grid, and you don’t need something too big in a room that is that small, relatively speaking. “We complemented the MICA arrays with four 700-HP subwoofers in the grid, plus six M1D cabinets on the stage lip for frontfill and two UPJ-1P units on the proscenium walls to cover the area between the line arrays and frontfill. The separate center cluster system is made up of five CQ-1 and two UPA-2P loudspeakers.”
The sonic flexibility and self-powered nature of the Meyer Sound components was also an asset to the installation team, allowing them to design the Castle Theater system to do double duty. The system can be easily removed from the venue for use at outdoor events, thus saving MACC the cost of renting a sound system for such occasions. “The assortment of Meyer UPA, UPJ, and M1D self-powered loudspeakers give us the flexibility to quickly throw the right tool at jobs that require portability,” Conway says. “Obviously, not having to deal with amp racks is a huge bonus. For most of these applications, the UPJs are great—to be able to turn the horns and have them become wedges, or put them on sticks makes them really versatile.”
A “black box” facility that hosts small-scale theatrical performances, seminars and corporate events, the intimate McCoy Studio Theater, benefited from the precise coverage control, low distortion, and extraordinary fidelity of two UPA-2P and two UPJ-1P loudspeakers. “There are a fair amount of portable UPA-1Ps and UPJs to be used as monitors or on speaker stands,” says Lawler. “They add significantly to the versatility of the space.”
According to Lawler, the benefits of self-powered design were both easily in evidence and very welcome at MACC. “The amp room of the Castle Theater used to have three floor-to-ceiling racks—now there’s just one-half of a rack,” he says. “Self-powered speakers are quiet, highly reliable, and have an extremely low failure rate, while exhibiting high audio quality. The consistency is great, and every cabinet performs practically identically to others of the same model, which results in an extremely predictable system.”
The impact of MACC’s new audio systems is significant enough to be considered downright transformative, Lawler asserts. “It’s a pretty shocking difference in fidelity and coverage – the audio is so vastly improved that the comparison with the prior setup is just night and day,” he concludes. “When you approach a project like this with Meyer Sound, you’ve got high-quality hardware, advanced software, and total support. That adds up to success.”