This summer, Lucas Lafferty, owner of DK Audio Video, got a call from Michael Pickering, music director at the Community College of Aurora. The college’s 140-seat Larry D. Carter Theater was in desperate need of an audio upgrade.
Working with Marshank Group representative CJ Lewis, Lafferty put together a brand new sound reinforcement package for the venue featuring Powersoft‘s X4 amplifier.
“A lot of schools, churches, and events centers in Colorado are pretty far behind in terms of audio technology,” says Lafferty. “We’re really trying to raise the bar and show people how far the technology has come.”
Pickering wanted a system that would handle a wide range of music in their black box theater. “They do everything from acting classes to live theater to concerts, with music ranging from EDM to piano and vocal, so we needed the power to deliver a deep low end but also the clarity for more dynamic content,” Lafferty says.
He immediately thought of the Powersoft X4, an amplifier he has specified before. “Our first Powersoft install was at St. Francis High School a couple years ago and I was really impressed with the X4’s clarity and DSP capabilities.”
Pickering and his staff were immediately impressed by what Lafferty and Lewis told him about the X4’s efficiency, knowing that its extremely nominal power draw would be a big money saver for the college, especially when Lafferty explained that it would take only one X4 to handle all the output he need for the system. After hearing more about the exceptional sound quality, the school was thoroughly convinced that Powersoft was the right choice.
For loudspeakers, he and Lewis specified two EAW QX364 and one SBK250Z subwoofer. Suspending the speakers in the lighting grid above the stage well out of sight, Lafferty installed the X4 in the rack in the back of the theater.
“They had this huge 8-foot rack back there from their previous system, which utilized six two-rack-space amps,” Lafferty says. “Now we’ve just got the one single-space X4 back there running the whole system. It’s amazing.”
He set up one output each to the main loudspeakers for stereo and bridged the other two outputs through Powersoft’s Armonía software to deliver extra power to the subwoofer. “We had so much output from the X4 that I had to set up limiters in Armonía to make sure they wouldn’t blow the system,” he said. He also took advantage of EAW’s Greybox settings for the X4 to tune its performance perfectly for his loudspeaker system. With the theater already surrounded by thick theater curtains, Lafferty was happy enough with the room acoustics that he did not feel any additional treatment was necessary.
Pickering and his staff in the performing arts department were immediately impressed with the upgrade. “Going from the sound system they had previously to our Powersoft system was truly night and day,” Lafferty says. The X4 has even become a teaching tool for Pickering’s audio technology class. Using the X4’s WIFI interface to control it remotely via iPad, he is able to undo many of the settings for the system, then have his students troubleshoot, fix, and tune the system on their own. Later, he can easily recall Lafferty’s optimal settings via a preset. “It’s actually helping train students for the industry,” Lafferty adds.
With the aural revitalization of their beloved black box theater complete, the school has its eye on expanding its system into an even larger room nearby. DK Audio Video is slated to handle that install as well, and amplifier choice may be the easiest part of this extension.
“We’ve all been incredibly happy with the X4, so you can expect Powersoft amps to be the first choice,” Lafferty says. “We set out to show these kinds of institutions what the next wave of technology could do for them, and Powersoft represents just that. It’s amazing what these amps can do.”