EAW Line Arrays Lead New System At Historic Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene, Texas, a monument to an earlier time of movie palaces and vaudeville performance, now offers a new, dynamic sound reinforcement system designed and installed by Gemini Sound of Dallas that's highlighted by EAW KF730 compact line arrays as well as JF50S two-way loudspeakers and SM200iH stage monitors.

Built in 1930, the distinctive Spanish-Moorish architecture of the Paramount Theatre received a new lease on life with a 1986 renovation that has led to it serving as a valuable community asset in providing live and motion picture entertainment of many varieties. The restoration and renovation took over six months and resulted in a prestigious Texas Award for Historic Preservation from the Texas Historical Commission.

Late last year, Gemini Sound began the process of developing a new sound reinforcement system for the 1,199-seat theatre, which has a main floor as well as lower, middle, and upper balconies. In formulating the design, the system team collaborated with key theatre personnel that included executive director Betty Hukill, artistic director Barry Smoot and technical director Jennifer Lashley.

"We didn't want to utilize a trapezoidal box approach with this design," explains Gemini Sound president Tim Cain. "There were aesthetic and infrastructure issues to address, with a line array design much more capable of eliminating those concerns while also meeting coverage and concert-type performance goals. The KF730 Series furthers this with its very compact size-to-output ratio, and its sonic signature is excellent."

The line arrays are flown to the left and right of the stage, tucked well up and out of the way. Each is comprised of two SB730 flying subwoofers that fit seamlessly within the array structure, with five KF730 full-range modules below, tapered back into a classic "J" shape.

The arrays are able to provide seamless coverage from front to back and side to side, with careful placement and the inherent pattern control of the boxes helping to keep output off of side walls and balcony faces to prevent reflections and reverberation. They're supported by compact JF50S loudspeakers on the stage that supply mid/high fill to the first few seating rows, with four EAW SM200iH wedges available for any stage monitoring needs.

"This is a well-executed system, fully taking into account the current and future needs of the client and then some," Cain concludes. "We all agree that it's an optimum solution in meeting sonic requirements in a challenging retrofit situation."

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