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Case Study: Davidson College, NC

The 600+ seat Duke Family Performance Hall at Davidson College is a flagship venue for the Charlotte Metro area. The Hall was made possible by a gift from The Duke Endowment, a private foundation that has been a major benefactor to the college for more than 75 years.

“Davidson hosts a strong music, theatre, and dance scene within the student body but we also bring professional touring artists, musicians, regional Broadway productions, and dance companies to campus,” says Brandon Kincaid, Senior Stage Technician. In 2014 Kincaid began work to upgrade the aging sound system to better serve both student and professional artists; COVID provided the opportunity to complete the renovation with Charlotte-based SE Systems. “The end result is a great combination between d&b A-Series loudspeakers and a DiGiCo SD12 console that has created a venue that feels alive.”

“The A-Series is a great option for this venue because of its pattern control and ability for horizontal array,” states Sam Trexler, Project Manager, SE Systems. “We ended up using 4 A-Series arrays of 2 boxes each to cover the room from L/R positions. There is an upper set and a lower set. The room is not very deep, but it has two balconies that limit speaker placement options. The d&b Y10P center cluster boxes were chosen for their pattern control and small size. We needed to hide the center cluster in front of the subs so as not to add any more lighting obstructions. We chose the d&b T10 loudspeakers for under-balcony duty as the ceiling height is only 9’ and we needed to keep the audio off the rear wall and ceiling. The 35 x 105 pattern was ideal for covering this space.”

Trexler said the d&b CPO J-Sub was chosen for its frequency response and ability to be driven to full capacity on a 30D amplifier. “The original plan was to use ground stacked subs left and right on the stage, however this did not give even low frequency coverage for the room due to the balcony overhangs. d&b ArrayCalc was essential to determine that a center hung sub array would provide even coverage and free up stage real estate.”

Trexler added the SD12 was a great fit as the client was looking at future growth options and needed a rider-friendly system. “We paired the SD12 with DiGiCo 4rea4 and SD-rack with 32-bit cards allowing for great flexibility in how the system can be configured while still enable the system to run at 96Khz.”

“At low volumes the system feels well balanced and delicate,” adds Kincaid. “And, it has zero issues when I push the pedal! The CPO J-subs create a full and substantial low end without being overpowering or out of balance. We have very even coverage in all seats of the house. The PA system has the ability to provide delicate supplement for acoustic opera all the way through the student led EDM shows. The current show, Unveiled & Unvarnished, sounds better on the new PA with masks than any show ever sounded on the old PA without masks.”

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