The Eastern is a state-of-the-art music and event venue in the Dairies complex, a curated mix of specialty shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, all connected by greenspace in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta. The 2,300-capacity venue boasts a multi-tiered floorplan that offers excellent sightlines, a spacious floorplan, and a rooftop that includes a covered performance space, bar, restaurant, and open-air seating that can accommodate another 300 patrons. What The Eastern also has is an L-Acoustics K2 PA system that guarantees exceptional sound and coverage for every kind of artist the venue hosts, plus a smaller A Series system to extend that same sonic consistency and quality for musicians playing up on the top floor.
“The main room is sharply asymmetric, with the house-right wall at a full 45-degree angle to the stage, which was very surprising for a purpose-built venue,” explains Nauman Lalani, Director of Special Projects for Music Matters Productions, the Atlanta-based AVL integrator that installed the venue’s estimated $1.5 million worth of sound, lighting, and video systems. “It’s really a trapezoidal shape, which was very challenging for the sound-system design.”
In seeking a solution to assure full-range coverage for the space, Lalani discovered that only L-Acoustics K2 technology offered the right answer; and it also came with a rider-friendly brand. “When we looked at a model of the venue and the coverage pattern and SPL goals we wanted to hit, especially at the low end for EDM shows, the K2 with its steerable fins was ideally suited for the task. The alternative would have been having to include a third speaker hang and all the motors, rigging, cabling—and cost—that goes with that. L-Acoustics was the way to go.”
K2 employs L-Acoustics Panflex, a unique horizontal steering technology that combines mechanically adjustable fins with DSP algorithms; effective from 300 Hz. Narrowing or widening the horizontal directivity can serve many purposes: adapt to the width of the listening area, enable consistent SPL distribution for long and short distances, reduce or extend overlapping areas, and avoid reflecting surfaces.
Sold through L-Acoustics Certified Provider Special Event Services, the entire system, designed by Music Matters Productions in partnership with a team from L-Acoustics using Soundvision modeling software, comprises left and right hangs of eight K2 over three Kara II, each paired with a sub-cluster of four KS28 on the floor below. In addition, there are a total of 23 short-throw X8 speakers: six used as frontfills along the stage lip, two in a VIP area, and the rest installed under-balcony, and all in time-aligned matched pairs.
The K2 arrays, KS28 subs, and all X8 are powered by nine LA12X amplified controllers, while one LA4X powers the Kara speakers. A dozen X15 HiQ stage monitors, and two SB18 subs used as drum monitors, are powered by five LA12X.
All of that power and SPL were in full force for the September 1st opening show featuring rap/pop star Big Boi. “He gave the subs quite a workout that night,” says Lalani. “The Eastern’s L-Acoustics speakers are amazing. The top of the system is throwing almost 200 feet to the back of the room, so we needed a large-format box for that and to reach our SPL goal. We tested the system once we set it up and we were far exceeding that goal at 80 percent with no problem, so there’s lots of power and headroom. Plus, I was surprised by how light the boxes are. One person can pick up a KS28! When the system is running, it sounds phenomenal. We are super happy with it.”
Upstairs at The Eastern, a large event space features another L-Acoustics system consisting of two A10i Focus and two A10i Wide speakers in a left-right configuration, plus two KS21i subs, powered by two LA2Xi amplifiers, one of the first installations of that new product. This rooftop system also includes four 108P self-powered speakers used as monitors.
While the venue owners expressed happiness with how the K2 system sounds in the room, noting how positively visiting artists have responded to seeing L-Acoustics on their tech-spec sheet, they were equally pleased with how L-Acoustics worked with them through what Zero Mile Co-founder and Co-owner Alan Sher says has been the most challenging period in the recent history of live music production.
“Artists and production people like seeing L-Acoustics on the riders, but what stands out to us is how L-Acoustics, particularly L-Acoustics CEO Alan Macpherson, Americas, and BJ Shaver, Business Development Director for Install, Americas, worked so closely with us during what was an incredibly trying time, getting this venue together during the pandemic,” explains Sher, who established The Eastern with his partner, Scott Orvold. “The relationship was great from the start, and the attention we got from Alan and BJ really set L-Acoustics apart. They weren’t just a vendor—they acted like a partner.”
Sher says he, Orvold, and the venue’s booking and production partner, Los Angeles-based AEG Presents, put considerable effort into achieving exceptional sound there, with careful attention to acoustic treatment and design. As part of that, L-Acoustics played an integral role in the process, assuring a perfect fit of the system into the space. “L-Acoustics collaborated with everyone involved on making this venue sound great,” he says. “It was an incredible combination.”