Greater Atlanta Christian School (GACS) in Norcross, GA, serving over 1,600 students with quality creative and technical facilities to support its arts and media curriculum, recently equpped three of its venues with new sound reinforcement systems, all incoporating Alcons Audio pro-ribbon loudspeakers.
The first of the three spaces to receive a sonic was the Artusa Hall Performing Arts Center, a former chapel which the school repurposed into a performing arts venue. This included completely rebuilding the interior, adding a self-supporting timber framed balcony, and increasing the audience capacity from 700 to 950.
A key requirement was to deliver the best technical facilities, but not to visually detract from the internal architecture. In a venue with reflective, polished wood surfaces and a glass balcony front, it was the right scenario for the Alcons LR7 pro-ribbon micro line array.
“They wanted something that would deliver great sound for everything from solo classical recitals to drama, ballet, orchestra, choir and bands, including renting the venue to outside performers,” says Alex Fleming of Atlanta-based Lodestar Labs, the integration firm on the project.
The system comprises arrays of six LR7/90 (6.5-inch) micro line array modules and two LR7B single 12-inch bass modules per side, flown just in front of the proscenium arch. Two, floor mounted BC332 cardioid subwoofers (18-inch front / 15-inch rear) per side add extra low end where required.
In addition, a single SR9 double 5-inch in-fill monitor provides front fill for the first few rows, and four 6.5-inch TS3 monitors provide the under-balcony fills. Two VR12i and two VR12iM mid-size 12-inch monitors are provided for the stage. All loudspeakers are driven by four Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
“We first heard Alcons systems when demoing speakers for the Artusa Hall and we were blown away by the L-series boxes,” says GACS audio visual technician JD Cooper. “We immediately realized that the pro-ribbon systems are phenomenal. The accuracy and clarity is unmatched by traditional compression drivers.”
Next up was the replacement of outdated systems in the Clifton Jones Theater and the Long Forum. The Clifton Jones Theater had similar sonic requirements as Artusa Hall (along with minimal visual impact), with the LR7 micro line again the choice, with five LR7/90 and one LR7B per side for the main system, plus a pair of VR8 stage monitors, all powered by two Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
“Some of the unique features of the Alcons pro-ribbon systems are the fast transient response and significantly reduced distortion commonly associated with compression driver-based systems,” says Fleming, “Together they deliver the most natural reproduction of music, effects and the human voice.”
The largest of the three spaces, the Long Forum is a 4,000-seat arena that also serves as auditorium for touring acts, larger assemblies and athletic events. As is typical of these larger gymnatoriums, there were a variety of design challenges including being a reverberant space as well as multi-use requirements.
For the main left/right system, nine Alcons LR18 dual 8-inch mid-size line array modules per side were specified. Two VR12 mid-sized monitors were utilized in horizontal orientation for out fills. The system is supplemented by four BC543 (triple 18-inch active cardioid) subwoofers.
“The Alcons subwoofer technology continuously delivers incredible impact, while also minimizing over-exciting the acoustic space in areas where the audience isn’t present,” adds Fleming. The four Alcons subs replaced 16 dual 18-inch units in the previous system.
Also in the Long Forum, an arena system was installed for basketball games and half-court assemblies. It utilizes seven RR12 point source array modules comprised of 6-inch pro-ribbon drivers and 12-inch woofers, deployed horizontally in three array clusters of two, three and two cabinets each. Seven Sentinel10s provide amplification and control.
For portable applications, GACS added a pair of VR8 compact monitors. The school’s audio visual technician, Ben Chambless, states, “We are fortunate to have multiple Alcons systems on our campus. I’m blown away at the intelligibility and detail. The gain before feedback is exceptional. I’m amazed at how much sound can come out of speakers this size.”
Fleming concludes, “Nothing in our experience is similar to the sonic excellence heard throughout the Alcons systems. The handling of sources as they move through the loudness curve is unmatched — vocals at high SPL are the cleanest, most natural we’ve ever heard. Directivity, feedback rejection, technology, ease of deployment and other factors are also industry leading.
“The customer really loves the Alcons pro-ribbon systems and has noticed superior results in all three venues. Less EQ is needed to get excellent tone on each channel and little corrective EQ is needed to reduce feedback on even the most challenging of lavalier or headset mics. They have also said that the sonic width of the Alcons solutions are superior to all other speaker systems that have previously been used or auditioned in the spaces.”