Fair Park Music Hall, home of Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) and seasonal performances of The Dallas Opera and Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, is undergoing a sound renovation to bring Broadway-style sound to its audience. Systems integrator Ford Audio-Video (FAV) is installing a complete digital audio and digitally controlled sound reinforcement system.

With the installation of a true stereo sound system replacing the mono system, audiences will be able to hear separate feeds from different directions. For years there have been complaints of "dead spots" where theatre-goers could not hear sound or vocals. "Acoustics were fairly decent in the building, but the sound system was inadequate," says FAV account manager Jim Nelson.

One feature of the stereo sound system is a complex digital signal processing system, a computer-controlled unit that combines all audio processing into one device. It can function as a crossover, equalizer, and mixer. It can also perform a signal delay function, limiting, and compressing. The processors will allow the sound system operator to steer the sound to appear as though it is coming from specific locations on the stage. Other system features include a new intercom system, increased microphone inputs from 24 to 96, and over 13 miles of wiring.

PMK Consultants, a Dallas-based consultant group in acoustics and audio/visual design, asked Ford Audio-Video Systems to install the system. "Ford has done a number of projects for us and has always provided good quality work. We wanted to negotiate directly with Ford to get this job done," explains Jerrold Stevens PMK senior consultant.

FAV removed eight speakers and is in the process of installing 46. "When it is finished it should yield top quality sound coverage for all audience members," says Bill Broyles director of operations of DSM. Built in 1925, Fair Park Music Hall has undergone many renovations. A $250,000 donation from the Meadows Foundation of Dallas and an additional $200,000 from the City of Dallas made this latest renovation possible. The renovation should be complete for the opening of Hairspray on March 15th.