Posted in news on July 26, 2016 1:58 pm EDT

Sound Reinforcement Upgrade Provides Lessons for Church Consultants

Massachusetts' historic Academy of Music Theatre makes new history with a performance space audio upgrade.

Fidelity, light weight, and compact size reportedly made Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers the choice for Northhampton, Mass.'s Academy of Music Theatre's sound needs.











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TAGS: acoustics, audio upgrade, performance space, sound reinforcement,


By Church Designer Staff

The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass., has a history as the nation's first municipally owned theater. Opened in 1891, the Academy quickly became a favorite stop on tours of leading troupes and performers, ranging from Mae West to Harry Houdini. With the advent of film in the 1930s, the Academy screened silent films, soon followed by talkies, in addition to hosting live entertainment.

The loudspeakers needed to provide consistent coverage throughout the entire theater without interfering with sightlines to the stage opening....

The Academy has evolved over time to support a variety of programming, including rock concerts, theatrical productions, films, literary arts, dance and youth programs, much as modern churches now host. As the Academy evolved, the need for an updated sound system to support its diverse programming became increasingly apparent. Academy staff recently turned to veteran touring sound engineer Jason Raboin to design and install a new state-of-the-art sound system.

Church-like challenges

The project presented a number of interesting challenges. The speakers needed to provide consistent coverage throughout the entire theater without interfering with sightlines to the stage opening, or distracting from the architectural beauty of the 125-year old opera house. In addition, the limited rigging options within the historic performing arts center demanded compact, lightweight loudspeakers as part of a visually unobtrusive sound system.

The system Raboin designed centers around four Fulcrum Acoustic CX1595 15-inch coaxial loudspeakers powered by Ashly nXp amplifiers. The CX1595 speakers provide the requisite output capability and optimal 90-degree by 45-degree dispersion pattern, while their lightweight, compact, visually unobtrusive design ensures minimal effect on sightlines and the Academy's aesthetics. Two compact, portable Fulcrum Acoustic Sub215 Dual 15-inch Direct-Radiating Subwoofers provide concert-level low frequency for the historic theater while also minimizing visual intrusion.


Fittingly, the new sound system had its debut performance with Northampton's annual Django in June Festival that features the "gypsy jazz" popularized by virtuosic guitarist Django Reinhardt in the 1930s and 1940s when the Academy also was in full swing. Festival founder Andrew Lawrence remarks, "Django in June was so happy to offer the inaugural performance on the Academy of Music's new sound system. I ... thought the sound was impeccable."




Learn more about the companies in this story:

Fulcrum Acoustic



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