When the new school year started at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), the 600-student community started classes with a dramatically new on-campus theater.
Supporting the school’s visual and performing arts training curriculums, the premier public arts high school turned the top level of its building into a state-of-the-art black box theater.
Used for classes, performances, and, at times, a gallery space, the new facility features detailed lighting and an intricate microphone design to accommodate the day-to-day demands of LACHSA’s dance, music, theater, and visual arts courses.
Focusing on the theater’s audio needs was Senior Technical Consultant, Michael Dannenberg of Vantage Technology Consulting Group, and full-service systems integration company, Western Audio Visual.
In analyzing the layout of LACHSA’s black box theater, the Western A/V team opted to install Shure ULX-D Digital Wireless Microphone Systems with dual and quad channel digital receivers. Located just outside of downtown Los Angeles on the Cal State Los Angeles campus—a mere 500 feet away from the University’s performance theater—Western A/V knew LACHSA required systems that could combat the area’s many RF challenges.
ULX-D enables multiple transmitters on the air simultaneously on one TV channel, making the most of available spectrum. It also features optimized scanning that automatically finds, prioritizes, and deploys the cleanest frequencies to transmitters using IR sync. This RF signal stability and efficiency, combined with space-saving racks and unmatched sound quality, made ULX-D a must-have for the LACHSA Theater.
Gary Evans, the Western A/V systems engineer who supervised the microphone design commented: “The Theater’s front of house is suspended up on a catwalk in the rear of the room, and there isn’t much space to fit a lot of equipment.
“Being able to operate up to 26 channels from just seven ULX-D systems—six with quad channel receivers, one with dual—in a tight area is huge. The form factor of fitting four channels in a single rack space was something we couldn’t ignore during the gear selection process.”
Avoiding RF interference was also an important factor for the LACHSA Theater’s personal monitoring systems. Evans selected the PSM900 Wireless Personal Monitor System from Shure for its robust RF performance. PSM 900 systems feature front-end RF filtering that provides a cleaner, stronger RF signal, reducing dropouts and audible artifacts.
“I chose the ULX-D and PSM 900 for similar reasons,” added Evans. “They are both very intuitive, feature-packed, and offer incredible sound quality and reliability. For LACHSA, reliability and quality were important because the school has one theater manager who relies on students to operate the equipment.
” ULX-D and PSM 900 can handle the wear-and-tear students will throw at the gear. With proper training, the systems are also simple to use and with features like IR sync, students can quickly grab and sync bodypacks—an important factor for productions and large performances.”
In addition to Shure wireless technology, the LACHSA Theater relies on a variety of Shure wired microphones, including the SM58 and Microflex Gooseneck mics.