Old Lyme, Conn., February 26, 2015—Palm Beach Dramaworks has been delivering high-quality theatrical content to an eager local audience since 2000. In 2011, as their productions grew in both scope and audience attendance, they decided to leave their original home for a space that could better accommodate their artistic ambitions while raising the overall quality of their productions. After moving into a 218-seat theater facility in downtown West Palm Beach and completing several badly needed renovations to the interior, the Company invested in a new K-array loudspeaker system to enhance the listening experience of its patrons.
Despite the fact that there was already an in-house sound system that was intact and functioning, the owners recognized its shortcomings and — as audiences continued to grow —realized that they needed a high-grade, professional-quality sound reinforcement solution to keep pace with the ever-increasing quality of their productions.
Matt Kelly, of West Palm Beach-based Rebekah’s Dreams Entertainment & Production Services, handled the installation and product specification of the space — which features many unusual architectural details such as an extraorinarily high proscenium opening. “I immediately thought of K-array for a loudspeaker solution, since I had seen their products while visiting Sennheiser at InfoComm,” he says. “I knew that K-array could deliver professional-grade sound reinforcement and at a very reasonable price.”
Working closely with Sennheiser’s Andrew Kornstein, Kelly arranged an on-site demo of the K-array KR402 system, which impressed Palm Beach Dramaworks’ team. “For the first time, they heard the room as it was meant to be,” Kelly recalls. “They were also very impressed with the aesthetics and minimal footprint of the loudspeakers.” Once the team decided to bring K-array’s leading-edge loudspeaker technology to the stage, Kelly consulted with Sennheiser’s systems integrations expert Eric Reese to help devise a system to perfectly suit the space.
Setting the Stage for Pristine Audio
Kelly ultimately chose the K-array KR402 system and (4) KAN200 flexible array element speakers, which were placed across the front of the stage. The K-array KP102 line-array elements were small enough to mount to the side of the proscenium, without diminishing the visual appeal of its fine architectural details. “They didn’t want the speakers to be visually obtrusive and wanted to keep the stage readily accessible,” Kelly recalls. “We knew that the sound system had to come closer to ear level though, and KP102’s slim profile allowed that to happen.” Using K-array’s K-WALL2 mounting brackets, Kelly affixed a pair of KP102s to the proscenium on each side approximately six feet above the stage. The system’s (2) 21” KMT21 powered subwoofer cabinets, also the power source for the KP102s, were cleverly hidden behind architectural details on either side of the stage to deliver smooth and articulate low end.
The (4) Anakonda KAN200 elements, which were placed at the edge of the stage facing the audience, vastly improved intelligibility for the orchestra seats closest to the stage. “These are some of the prime seats in the house, yet they were lacking intelligible audio before we installed the K-array system.” Kelly says. “The Anakondas provided a nice fill without overpowering the other speakers.” A K-array KA40 power amplifier was selected to ensure efficient and distortion-free operation of the KAN200s throughout each performance.
Palm Beach Dramaworks audio engineer Richard Szczublewski, who assisted by tuning the system following installation, was impressed with the overall audio quality: “The K-array system delivered a significant improvement in both clarity and intelligibility,” he says. “Now the theater has great sound quality, coverage and frequency response.”
Patrons take notice
The new K-array system debuted at the opening of My Old Lady, a production that ran between December 5 and January 4. According to Kelly, theatergoers took immediate note of the vastly improved sonics. “They received quite a few complements from subscribers on being able to hear the actors more clearly than ever before,” Kelly recalls. “The difference was noticeable.”
As for his own business, Kelly intends to continue utilizing K-array as part of its future installations. “I like the audio quality of K-array, but I also like the fact that it doesn’t impede on architecture or sight lines,” he says.
As a patron of Palm Beach Dramaworks himself, Kelly says he has never felt as connected to what is happening on stage as he is now. “With the new K-array system, audio has really become an integral part of the performances.”