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San Jose Civic Is First Bay Area Concert Venue With d&b KSL Loudspeaker System

LJ Productions and venue management work together to overcome a structural challenge that created a system design template for future installations.
d&b KSL
The new d&b KSL arrays flying at the San Jose Civic.

The San Jose Theaters, a collection of four historic cultural venues managed by Team San Jose in partnership with LJ Productions, recently installed a new d&b audiotechnik KSL loudspeaker system to serve the San Jose Civic, the first of its magnitude in incorporating ArrayProcessing optimization technology for concert venues in the region.

The San Jose Civic (2,850 seat, 3,300 general admission floor) is located in the heart of the downtown neighborhood and makes up part of the Team San Jose campus. Over the past 80-plus years, these four venues have played host to The Who, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, and many other legends. Installation began last summer, with the new system kicking off with back-to-back sold-out Deadmau5 shows, followed by a host of performances and events.

“Having the latest and greatest technology such as the d&b KSL system is part of being in the heart of Silicon Valley and we are proud to lead the way in setting a new standard for performing arts production,” states Bob Ouellette, San Jose production manager for San Jose Theaters. “As a nationally recognized touring house, our primary concern is to fulfill the riders for the artists and promoters. d&b is always listed as one of the preferred systems.” The installation of the d&b KSL system was a collaborative effort by both LJ Productions and the San Jose Theaters. Together, they worked to overcame a structural challenge that created a system design template for future venue installations.

KSL, the newest member of the SL-Series family, is designed to deliver full-range broadband directivity and extended low frequency response that helps keep sound off the walls and the stage, with the goals of enhanced coherency for the audience and a quieter stage for the performers.

The San Jose Civic shares a common wall with the more intimate 468-seat Montgomery Theater which posed a problem as there are many times that challenged production teams to isolate and control sound in the San Jose Civic during simultaneous performances. The venues often present performances simultaneously, so controlling the sound in the Civic was important.

“We were counting on d&b ArrayProcessing to keep the energy off the common wall,” sayss Adrienne Felicioni of LJ Productions. “We conducted dB testing before and after the KSL install. There was an incredible drop in sound leakage getting into the Montgomery.”

He adds that the install process went very smoothly. “The amp racks were pre-built and wired at our warehouse. The room previously had flown delays that were no longer needed since the KSL-Series has great throw and coverage. Team San Jose Theaters production team at the San Jose Civic were very pleased with the coverage and clarity and looks forward to the Civic’s reopening.”

Independent sound engineer Michael Clifford notes that the system design and installation has “built-in” sound quality control in the large upper level of the theater, an area that when unused, can create echoing during an event. “We’ve designed, using d&b ArrayProcessing, a slot to apply a hard avoid on this upper seating,” Clifford explains. “It works flawlessly in eliminating the reflections we used to get from the empty space that now directs the energy evenly throughout the lower seating.”

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He also says that the sound team was able to build additional slots for various configurations that the venue’s most frequent clients use, such as different front fill and sub placement requirements: “Since we share a common wall with the Montgomery Theater, in the past, we would have to apply a strict dB limit until their show was over. Now, we simply push a button that redirects energy away from the other theater without any noise complaints from the other venue. In the past, with sub heavy shows, we would have to augment our system with oftentimes double the amount of sub power. As these shows return, they still feel the need to augment, and since we only have 6 SL-SUBs, once they hear the KSL system, they quickly change their minds and put their extra subs back on the truck.”

The system configuration is a combination of KSL12 and KSL8 loudspeakers (both left and right arrays have nine boxes) joined by six SL-SUB subwoofers, four Y10P for front fill, and two V7P for out fill. All loudspeakers are driven by a dozen D80 amplifiers joined by a 30D amplifier.

“The new cardioid KSL rig along with the cardioid SL-Subs surpassed my expectations of its ability to eliminate unwanted sound from wrapping around to the rear of the PA making the stage volume significantly quieter, reducing the overall gain, and improving the signal to noise ratio by leaps and bounds,” concludes John Faldetta, owner of LJ Productions.

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