The Maxine Theater, a new 580-seat performing arts center located in Valley Center, CA, offers a high-end sound reinforcement system, designed and installed by Quiet Voice Audio, that features EAW AX Series loudspeakers, SB Series subwoofers, as well as MX8750 and DX8 digital processors.
“There weren’t any corners cut on this project,” notes Jon Bart, president of Quiet Voice Audio. “It was envisioned not only as a community theater, but as a destination for top concert artists and traveling theatrical productions. This is reflected in the sound design as well as the acoustics of the space.”
The theater’s performance hall offers a classic “keystone” design; with non-parallel side walls, a curving back wall, as well as graded floor and ceiling. The single level room fans out from the large stage at the front, and all seats are padded.
The sound system design process commenced with a thorough investigation of the site, followed by extensive EASE modeling to help define the best possible loudspeaker locations and angling. Complicating matters, though, were California’s strict earthquake codes, which strictly limited loudspeaker location options.
“The less-than-optimal array locations meant that the dispersion of the loudspeakers was a critical issue,” Bart explains. “Given the desired performance of the system, we also needed loudspeakers that would support our sound pressure level criteria, and, they needed to be pretty much bulletproof, able to withstand being overdriven by amateur operators. All of these factors led us to the EAW AX Series.”
Complete coverage throughout the room is provided by two arrays, each comprised of dual AX364 full-range loudspeakers flown side by side. These three-way loudspeakers, offering a 60-degree by 45-degree coverage pattern, are located at stage left and right, about 30 feet above the floor.
The AX Series, designed specifically for fixed installation applications, incorporate a unique coaxial design that has the mid-frequency cone and high-frequency compression drivers sharing a neodymium magnet and directly coupled to a single horn. These horns include a refined version of the company’s patented Radial Phase Plug design known as Concentric Summation Array (CSA) technology, which brings the loudspeakers performance, several steps closer to the mathematical ideal of a single point source. The net result is a smooth frequency response, consistent polar patterns over a wide operating bandwidth, and greatly enhanced vocal clarity.
Flown about 10 feet behind each array, and bolstering the low-end output provided by the full-range loudspeakers, are EAW SB250zP subwoofers, each featuring dual 15-inch cone drivers in a vented cabinet. For events requiring even more horsepower, dual EAW SBX220 subwoofers, complete with casters, can be rolled on stage, directly beneath the flown array/sub complements on each side.
The full-range portion of the output equation can be further bolstered with the additional of EAW JFX560i compact two-way loudspeakers, which can be placed atop each SBX220 subwoofer. These JFX560i loudspeakers can be easily angled inward to provide side-fill coverage to the stage, or even positioned on their sides and placed anywhere on stage to serve as floor monitors.
An EAW MX8750 digital signal processor is mounted backstage with the system power amplifiers. Quiet Voice Audio began with EAW’s recommended AX Series settings, and then slightly tailored them especially for the Maxine Theater during the tuning and optimization process.
To further meet the ease of system use goal, Quiet Voice utilized two rack-mounted EAW Commercial DX8 digital processors, which provide easy access to pre-programmed, onboard memory presets. “The DX8s are applied to the most commonly used microphone channels, and have optimized settings saved as digital snapshots that can be easily recalled,” Bart explains. “If just a mic or a few mics are needed for spoken word presentations, all it takes is someone to turn on the system, call up the snapshots, and the mics are good to go.”