Orange County’s 40-year-old Galaxy Theatre changed ownership back in August and has now undergone a significant metamorphosis into two separate live performance spaces: the intimate 350-capacity Constellation Room and much larger Observatory, which can accommodate an audience of over 1,000.
One of the primary improvements made to the venue in the process was the installation of L-Acoustics KARAi line source arrays provided by Certified Provider Rat Sound Systems of Camarillo, California.
Jon Reiser, along with business partner Courtney Michaelis and a third silent partner, are the team behind transforming the Galaxy from a lackluster aging venue into an edgy hipster hangout that consistently attracts some of the brightest up-and-coming acts like Foster the People, Crystal Castles, The Naked and Famous, Young the Giant, Tyga and Warpaint. Reiser is no stranger to SoCal’s indie music scene having previously spent five years as a partner and talent buyer for Costa Mesa’s Detroit Bar.
Shortly after purchasing the Galaxy, Reiser brought in L.A.‘s Foster the People to play the newly dubbed Observatory. Knowing that the club’s pre-existing PA system wouldn’t be adequate to cover the crowd for such a popular band, he turned to Rat Sound to provide a temporary dV-DOSC rig while simultaneously initiating the design process to permanently integrate a new KARAi system.
Today, the Observatory features left and right arrays each comprised of six KARAi elements flown adjacent to two SB18i subs. Four SB28 subs are also located down on the floor—two housed in bunkers inside the stage plus one on each side of the stage.
A custom enclosure built across the front of the stage houses four coaxial 8XT front-fill speakers, while a single 115XT HiQ flown in the center of the house two feet downstage of the stage lip serves as a downfill. All systems are powered and processed by LA8 amplified controllers housed in racks at the monitor mix position.
Rat Sound provided not only the installation of the L-Acoustics arrays, but the rest of the venue’s sound and lighting systems and acoustic treatments as a full turnkey package.
Rat Sound director of installations David Myers notes that the rental dV-DOSC system helped minimize the venue’s downtime to only two nights despite the significant amount of remodeling and equipment upgrades.
“With the new acoustic treatments and KARAi system in place, the Observatory sounds phenomenal,” says Myers. “KARAi is extremely coherent; it’s like having the artist right in front of you in a studio environment. And the bands, engineers, promoters and audiences are all loving the sound. The Naked and Famous recently played the room and their front-of-house engineer told us after the show that we had totally spoiled him for the rest of the dates on their tour.”
Reiser adds, “The Naked and Famous immediately booked another show with us for March and I know that a big part of that was because of how impressed they were with the system and production level. We’ve had a lot of really great shows in here lately—including Scott Weiland, two nights with Young the Giant, and an epic New Year’s weekend with ATB and Tiesto—and everyone’s walked away at the end of the night being very happy with the house sound.”