The theatre arts degree program Nebraska’s Wayne State College provides its students with three performance venues housed in the Lied Performing Arts Center. At 675 seats, the Ramsey Theatre is the largest of the three, but until recently, the quality of its sound reinforcement system was not commensurate with the quality of the program.
“Last year, I updated the PA system in Wayne State College’s gymnasium with six Danley OS80 loudspeakers, and they loved the improvement,” explains Brian Adams, owner of Adams Production Services. “They showed me the system in the Ramsey Theatre, which had recently suffered the failure of its main DSP. They replaced it, but it really called their attention to how bad the entire system sounded. It was comprised of fourteen 90s-era open horns and subwoofer boxes, along with several fills and a ton of amps and amp channels. They were way past due for an entire system overhaul.”
Adams designed an elegantly simple Danley system for the Ramsey Theatre. “It comes back to the basic principles of good sound reinforcement design,” he says. “For the same coverage, fewer boxes are always better than more boxes because that minimizes the opportunities for interference and comb filtering. Danley produces a wide range of point-source loudspeakers, which allowed me to choose a single box that would cover almost the entire theatre. On top of that, Tom Danley’s patented designs deliver steep drop-offs at the edge of the output patterns, which keeps sound off the walls and off the stage and improves intelligibility and gain-before-feedback. In contrast, the old system essentially sprayed sound everywhere and all of the boxes interfered with each other like crazy.”
The new system uses a single Danley SH96HO full-range loudspeaker positioned above the center edge of the stage to cover the main floor. A pair of column-form, point-source Danley SBH20 loudspeakers (with tight vertical pattern control) cover the small balcony section. The sound booth takes up the center section of the three-section balcony, and Adams was careful to give that position sound that is representative of the main floor.
Finally, a relatively smaller Danley SH95 fires down at the stage from behind the SH96HO for monitoring. and a four-channel Danley DNA 20k4 Pro amplifier powers the entire system. Adams used its integrated DSP and presets for all of Danley’s boxes as a starting point when he tuned the system. “Honestly, there was almost no tuning after the presets,” he says.
He continues, “They were very surprised at how incredible the Danley system sounded once we fired it up for the first time. Remember, they were used to the old system, which was far below even a baseline modern system. Now they’ve gone to a Danley system, which is far above a baseline modern system. I don’t think they ever imagined it could be that good.”