Webster Hall, one of the oldest and most renowned nightclubs in Manhattan, has installed a new live sound reinforcement system that includes a full L-ACOUSTICS dV-DOSC loudspeaker rig in its Grand Ballroom.
Originally built in 1886, the East 11th Street venue has hosted everyone from Woody Guthrie, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley to more contemporary hit-makers like Guns N' Roses, KISS, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King during the club's tenure as the Ritz. However, in recent years, live concerts at Webster Hall have been a rarity, as the venue's focus has been almost exclusively on dance music.
But now, thanks to The Bowery Presents (TBP), a local concert promotion company that also owns and handles shows for the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge, live music is making a regular comeback at the nearly 120-year-old venue.
"With a capacity of 1,400, the Grand Ballroom is considerably larger than our other two performance spaces," notes TBP Owner Michael Swier. "Not only does this make Webster Hall the next logical step up in terms of graduating artists through our venues, but it also gives us an opportunity to bring in artists that would otherwise be too large for the 600-capacity Bowery Ballroom. To properly attract the kinds of bands we wanted, we knew we needed to add a front-of-house sound system that would match the superior audio performance for which our other two establishments are well known."
As he had done in the past, Swier turned to TBP system designer Matt Kasha to come up with a new SR system. Kasha settled on twin dV-DOSC/dV-SUB line source arrays hung to the left and right of the Grand Ballroom stage. Each array is comprised of a single dV-SUB with 12 dV-DOSC cabinets flown below and three additional dV-SUBs hung at show trim, presenting the appearance that the loudspeakers couple to the stage, yet eliminating the transference of low-frequency vibrations to the performing area. To augment the system's "thump," six SB218 enclosures–a dozen 18" woofers in all–are positioned under the stage. L-ACOUSTICS LA Series amplifiers power all loudspeaker systems.
"Sound really is The Bowery Presents' number one concern," says Kasha. "But trying to achieve quality audio fidelity in a historic venue where aesthetics dictate that we can't do much acoustic treatment can be tricky. However, the highly predictable directivity of the dV-DOSC system very effectively enabled us to direct audio away from problem areas and deliver exceptional sound both to the main floor and balcony areas.
"As a result, this club now sounds every bit as good as our other two venues and all of the production managers and band engineers have been absolutely loving it."
Since putting in its new system, Webster Hall has already hosted a diverse array of popular artists, including Sonic Youth, Supergrass, The Faint, Nickel Creek, Bad Religion, Steve Earle, Skinny Puppy, Jimmy Eat World, Muse, The Hives, The Donnas, John Mayer, Queens of the Stone Age, Moby, The Shins, Bright Eyes, and others.