South Coast Repertory Theatre, Costa Mesa, CA

Costa Mesa, CA, USA

The South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, CA may be compact at 300 seats, but lacks little in terms either of prestige or high technology.

Its new Segerstrom wing, designed by Cesar Pelli with working architects Snyder Langston and theatrical systems by Theater Projects Consultants, led by Benton Delinger, features a versatile Renkus- Heinz based, LCS-controlled auditorium audio system.Working with the theater is the Orange Country Performing Arts Center, also Costa Mesa-based. Head of Audio for South Coast Rep is B.C. Keller.

Designed by Dave Clark and Martin van Dijk at Engineering Harmonics of Toronto and installed by Sound Image’s Scott Oosthuizen and Jason Schwar tzel, the system was specified, as envisioned by Keller, to provide the versatility essential to allow the theater to host a broad spectrum of productions and events including regular theater, experimental workshops, musicals and concerts.

It has a main level, trap room and a balcony, together with the regular lobby, backstage and production areas. Scott Oosthuizen comments:

It’s definitely a very high tech install for a regional repertory theater complex: it’s quite small but very advanced. Technically, the most significant challenge for us was the physical one of accommodating everything, particularly the cabling, in a ver y tight space.

And space dictated a small but powerful system:

The main system needed to be very compact but also to have full large-scale capabilities, with full audio playback bandwidth, high power and clear sound.

At the heart of the system is a pair of Matrix 3 processor racks, Level Control Systems’ third generation automated audio control system. As standard it provides flexible I/O, system expansion, audio playback, and signal processing including compressor/limiters, parametric EQs, delays, multi-dimensional panning, and comprehensive external control.

To meet Keller’s requirements, Clark also specified LCS’s optional 16-track record/playback system, Wild Tracks™, used principally to deliver sound effects on cue. “We designed the sound system to be completely flexible,” says Clark, “and to support the use of LCS, so it has two LCS Matrix 3 systems” On the receiving end of these is a Renkus- Heinz surround sound system featuring a mixture of products from Renkus-Heinz’s standard product range, and other contractor products that were built to order.

In the latter category, six SR5/6 full-range loudspeakers are ranged across the top of the proscenium arch, with 18 TRC61 cabinets providing the surround elements and four SR62Hs deployed as front fill speakers, rounded off by a pair of Renkus-Heinz DRS18-1V subwoofers – one mounted in a catwalk, the other a portable addition which is sited depending on the sonic requirements of an individual production. Dave Clark says, “The system design means that South Coast Rep can mount every type of production that they originally envisaged, maximizing the use of the facility without having to compromise whether it’s music or speech.”

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