BUENA PARK, Calif.âŽ¯Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas is rich with tradition in this culturally diverse college town. Originally built in the 1850s, the theater has suffered though two destructive fires, once by a pro-slavery Sheriff who torched it and threw into the nearby river the printing equipment that was used for an abolitionist newspaper being printed in the space, and later after it was rebuilt as an opera house in 1912.
Again resurrected, the multi-use theatre is the cornerstone of Lawrence, located in the town's busy downtown district among other century-old buildings and in the middle of the University of Kansas atmosphere. Purchased at an auction in 1985 by current owners, David and Susan Millstein, the space has been totally renovated and maintains its early 20th Century architecture, unique murals, throughout the two movie theatres and 1,000-seat live performance space.
Based on a recommendation, theater manager Rob Fitzgerald began conversations with Kent Clasen, president of MSM Systems in June of 2008. The main design criteria was to facilitate band riders, meet coverage and SPL needs, and keep sight lines clear for the wide screen movies which stretch to 1' of the proscenium. The solution was apparent, and after an EASE 3D acoustical model of Liberty Hall was designed and several products tested, a NEXO GEO S 12 Series was the clear choice based on excellent coverage, high output and low visual impact.
A Yamaha M7CL-48 was installed for its wide acceptance by touring bands and to keep the FOH footprint to a minimum, since the equipment is often struck to allow for movies, meetings, and receptions. A Proco 40-channel splitter snake handles the stage and FOH connections. According to Fitzgerald he began talking with touring clients and they were all favorable towards the NEXO and Yamaha combination. “I knew we would have a rider-friendly rig, and since it has been installed, engineers have all been very pleased with the system,” notes Fitzgerald.
Eight Nexo S1210 with two S1230 were flown with four S2 subwoofers ground stacked. Two Nexo NX242-ES4 with Ethersound handle the speaker processing. “In old theatres, space is always an issue, so the four Yamaha T5n amps and processing are in a rack that is flown about 8' off the ground downstage right to preserve stage space. This is our second GEO S12 installation which I really like, and the S2 subwoofers are so powerful, they will just about knock you over,” Clasen said.
Two PS15 speakers are flown for center channel movie reproduction. A Dolby cinema processor was installed that feeds an Ashly Protea Matrix processor which handles preset routing for the movies as well as concert settings with a preset for aux feed subs or fed from L/R buss. “One of the main challenges was to install a system capable of reproducing the movie sound and at a push of a button be able to be a rock concert sound system,” adds Clasen. A preset was also installed for aux fed subs if the band engineer prefers.
Kansas Public Radio Production Manager Jason Slote mixed FOH for Liberty Hall's Inaugural Show, and Waitiki who plays exoticia music, was the musical performer. “I've mixed a lot of shows here in the past and I was always fighting the room or feedback, and with a stacked sound system balcony, coverage was an issue,” says Slote. “The NEXO system takes care of all those issues. This show featured a variety of unusual acoustic instruments which we mic'd with Neumann condensers, Royer ribbon mics, and some Earthworks Omnis. I was amazed at the clarity and gain of the system without a hint of feedback. We also recorded live radio shows here recently, and the speech and special effects came through crystal clear, and the recording was the best ever. This is a very easy system to mix on and very powerful.”
“We are very pleased with our choice to use MSM Systems and their professional approach and expertise made our investment pay off with happy customers,” states owner Susan Millstein. MSM Systems has extensive experience with NEXO and Yamaha products. “We have always gotten good results and support from Yamaha, and NEXO and Yamaha products are a great package with Yamaha digital consoles being the industry standard.”
“There are many challenges working in a 100 year old venue,” Clasen continues, “but our crew did a great job of installation, and working with the helpful Liberty Hall staff, it was a combined effort. The installation took place over two weeks, and on top of that, we had to be out of the space with our tools, lift, and scaffold stored every day by 4:00 p.m. so the theater could show movies.”
Previous concerts dating back to its earliest days include Oscar Wilde and Ethel Barrymore, and more recently Devo, Iggy Pop, Ike and Tina Turner, Stan Kenton, William Burroughs, David Bryne, and Laurie Anderson, to name a few. The new system played host to Joan Baez in March.
For more information on MSM Systems, visit www.msmsystemsinc.com.
For more information on Liberty Hall, visit www.libertyhall.net.
For more information on NEXO and Yamaha products, visit www.yamahaca.com.
About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of integrated professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the broadcast, sound reinforcement/installed sound, touring, commercial recording, and post production markets. With the recent purchase of NEXO loudspeakers by Yamaha Corporation Japan, the company remains the official U.S. and Canadian distributor for all NEXO models. YCAS offers comprehensive in-house and field product training for its customers, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.