CASE STUDY: Hudson Hall, New York

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When Hudson Hall at the Hudson Opera House in New York State decided to renovate their historic building, they were faced with a challenge common to any historic space: retrofitting it with modern amenities and equipment while maintaining its authenticity. There was one challenge, however, that proved to be unique to the performance hall—its sound system.

A significant portion of $8.5 million raised for renovation funds were, necessarily, dedicated to the building’s historic nature, so by the time the organization was ready to consider sound equipment, they had to be mindful of the budget they had left. Still, they wanted a state-of-the-art system flexible enough to support a variety of styles of musical performances on the stage, dance performances in the round on the hall floor, and everything in between.

Simon Nathan, owner of Audio Production Services and a consultant at Italian Speaker Imports, analyzed the organization’s needs and recommended FBT. Lighter than most, the boxes could be easily reconfigured on a performance-by-performance basis, and positioned to resolve the many issues raised by the room’s curved corners and ceiling. Nathan assured the staff at Hudson Opera House that not only would the speakers be an affordable solution, the sound quality would rival that of other brands.

“With Simon’s guidance, we started by flying two line arrays—three Mitus 206LAs flown on each side of the proscenium,” said Sage Marie Carter, general manager of Hudson Opera House. “They have a wide cone that covers most of the hall. As for the rest of the system, though, we purposefully kept it very reconfigurable to accommodate the wide variety of performances we present. In total, we have two 118FSA subs, two Stage Maxx 12MAs, and eight Ventis 112As that can also serve as wedges when we need more monitors. Sometimes we hang them from the truss or on side pipes when we’re doing performances in the round or on the floor. At others, we use them as center fills when our seating is close to the stage and some audience members aren’t in the path of the line array. We don’t always have a crew to help alter the set up from show to show, but the best part is, the speakers are so light and flexible that I can easily set everything up myself.”

Smaller and lighter doesn’t mean the speakers are any less powerful, though.

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