Case Study: Catalina Jazz Club, Los Angeles

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When Catalina Popescu and her late husband, Bob, launched their Catalina Bar & Grill on Easter weekend in 1987, it was with the dream of reviving the Los Angeles jazz scene by attracting international artists and nurturing local talent. Late last year one of those musicians returned the favor by making an introduction to QSC that resulted in a major upgrade of the venue’s sound system, which now features QSC E Series E12 12-inch, two-way passive speakers (now the E112) and E18SW subwoofers (now E118SW) all driven by PLD4.5 power amplifiers.

“I’m a regular performer there and knew the system needed a serious overhaul,” says L.A.-based musician J. Wayne Linsey, who uses QSC speakers in his keyboard rig. “I like the clarity and footprint of QSC speakers. I thought the company might have something that would fit the needs of the club, so I made the introduction.”

The club’s house engineer, Jeffrey “Woody” Woodruff, provided QSC’s design team with blueprints of the room and the positions of the previously installed system. QSC recommended five of the company’s new E12 speakers--a pair hung above the left and right front corners of the stage plus one above the center--to cover the main dining section of the supper club. “This allow us to put a little extra lead vocal or lead instrument into the center, just to give a little more focus,” says Woodruff.

Two E18SW 18-inch subwoofers, positioned at the upstage left and right corners replace the six previously installed subs. Three additional E12 speakers were also installed as delays to extend even coverage throughout the L-shaped room. “The combination is great. It’s a very natural sound that just lifts what is coming off the stage,” says Woodruff. “And the delays fill in around in the bar and back towards the booths, so you don’t notice the transition between the zones.”

Overall, compared to the old speaker system, he says, “It’s like a blanket was lifted off the whole thing. Everybody is noticing the clarity of the QSC system. And now I have hardly any EQ on the house speakers, only on individual voices.”

“The Catalina’s L-shaped room is challenging to any sound system or mix”, says drummer Dave Weckl who has played at the Catalina many times. “Especially the bar area off to the side of the band. But we were told from people sitting over there that it was the first time they had heard good sound from the system, and that it was an enjoyable mix. I look forward to my next time there.”

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