The Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

The first US symphony hall built to offer in the round performances, the Denver Performing Arts Complex’s Boettcher Concert Hall is the present home of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Built in 1978 it provides a unique layout for its 2,634-seat performance space, and has recently updated its sound reinforcement system to maintain its high standards.

The City of Denver called in acoustician/consultant Akustiks to specify the new system, which was supplied by AVDB Group, and system was installed by Steve Kuberski and Mark Herron at Mood Media (formerly Muzak).

‘I looked at this project with four different manufacturers, and one of the deciding factors to use L-Acoustics was the performance of ARCS II, which fit the bill very well,’ says Akustiks Partner, Anthony Nittoli. ‘Boettcher is an asymmetrical surround concert hall, so it’s an extremely challenging environment to put a sound reinforcement system into. But ARCS II’s tightly controlled coverage pattern very nicely allowed us to place sound exactly where we wanted it and keep it off of the surfaces that we didn’t.’

Front-firing ARCS II array (Pic: Mike Pappas)The new PA system comprises four horizontal arrays of ARCS II – an exploded cluster of six constant curvature cabinets directed toward the main orchestra seating section, two four-cabinet arrays for the left and right mezzanines, and a smaller three-enclosure array covering the rear parquet section. Three additional ARCS II – each individually hung in a horizontal orientation – supply upper front fill and address the upper ring and rear mezzanine. Four double-stacked Kiva clusters are also supplement coverage to some of the upper seating and other areas.

Below, up to eight additional Kiva can be positioned on the stage lip for front fill, while low frequency reinforcement in the space is via four SB15m subs in a cardioid configuration. System power, processing, networking and control use a combination of six LA8 and two LA4 amplified controllers.

Over the past couple of years, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra has increasingly peppered its show roster with soloists and diverse guest acts.

‘The Orchestra’s performances with pop and rock artists have all been very successful and certainly necessitated the presence of a serious, rider-friendly sound reinforcement system,’ says Aric Christensen, who has served as the hall’s Head of Audio for the past decade. ‘I had previously mixed on V-Dosc and Kudo systems, so was very familiar with L-Acoustics, but ARCS II was largely unknown to me. However, I trusted both Anthony’s design expertise and the manufacturer’s reputation, and we’ve been extremely happy with the results. The point-source approach of our ARCS II system is much more appropriate for the room and everyone that has mixed on it so far has responded really well to the whole experience.’

Christensen points out that the system gets used on almost a daily basis, be it providing simple vocal reinforcement for the conductor introducing pieces to full reinforcement for a band with some spot-miking of various orchestra soloists: ‘Not only is it perfectly capable of handling rock and roll, but it’s also well-suited to reinforce higher dynamically demanding classical performances without adding coloration to the acoustic instruments,’ he says. ‘That, in my opinion, represents a far greater challenge, and one that it carries out remarkably well.’

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