For as long as entrepreneur and philanthropist Mortimer Levitt could remember, music was his passion. On evening strolls through Coney Island’s Luna Park, Levitt fell in love with the music he heard in the rides and restaurants. The impressions those summer nights in New York made stayed with him throughout his life.
Mortimer Levitt eventually made his fortune in the custom-tailoring business, but his passion for music and the arts never wavered. In 1963, he created the Mortimer Levitt Foundation to provide communities with venue where everyone could experience the arts under the stars. He established the first Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Westport, Conn., in 1974, with this goal in mind.
But like any great entrepreneur, Levitt was a big dreamer. He wanted to establish music pavilions across the country—82 total, to match his number of custom shirt shops. On his 90th birthday, he sold his business and continued to work toward this goal until his passing in 2005, establishing similar performance venues in Los Angeles and Pasadena, Ca., and Memphis,Tenn.
Levitt’s patronage continues through his foundation, and on October 10, 2008, the fifth Levitt Pavilion opened at Founders Plaza in the heart of Arlington, Texas. With a 50-concert season, the pavilion serves up an eclectic mix of high-quality entertainment productions, from dance to live music to performance art, where townspeople can hear Latin rhythms one night and jazz the next.
With new productions for every show, the 2,000-capacity Levitt project demanded a sound system that could adapt quickly to an ever-changing schedule. Cornerstone Media president Kent Morris, a veteran audio contractor and installer, recognized the unique challenges of the project and specified the Peavey Versarray 212 line-array system as the main audio component.
“Initially, the venue was designed as a permanent installation, but it was then converted to a portable system for security reasons,” he said. “This meant that every component had to be fitted into rolling cases and also had to work with quick disconnects. The Peavey Versarray 212 line array rig we specified is substantial—six 2×12 enclosures flown over three 2×18 subs per side—but its unique bracket-and-pin connection system makes setup and teardown very manageable.”
A three-way line-array enclosure system engineered for large performance venues and capable of a high degree of versatility, the Versarray 212 achieves high fidelity and high-level sound reinforcement through its exclusive planar ribbon drivers, neodymium woofers and angle-adjustment technology. A manifold ribbon array ensures that it delivers pristine audio to large audiences without overpowering the listeners.
Morris chose other key components such as the Architectural Acoustics Digitool MX by Peavey, a fully programmable audio processing and management system that includes advanced parallel DSP processing, a multi-layer front panel display and multiple interface and control options.
“The Digitool was key to solving the acoustical challenges presented by this venue. With its eight full inputs and eight outputs, it’s a step above conventional loudspeaker management systems. The difference was in being able to control the response of all eight monitor sends.”
Twenty-eight Crest Audio Pro 200 Series power amplifiers provide transparent power for the pavilion’s Versarray system, while a Crest Audio HPW-44 console provides state-of-the-art analog mixing with new features such as integral automatic mixing, stereo input channels, stereo returns and a unique ambient mic input.
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