The Improv Comedy Club in Kansas City sports Bag End SI8E-I subwoofers in its ceiling. Kansas City, MO (August 15, 2007)–Is a joke funnier if you hear it in higher fidelity? The jury’s still out on that one, but that didn’t stop the Improv Comedy Club in Kansas City from recently upgrading the venue’s house system. Owner Todd Leinenbach chose Rutherford Design, a sound and lighting design and installation firm with a background in comedy clubs audio systems.
“We know that standup comedians can make an amazing range of mouth sounds,” says Rutherford vice president Richard Rutherford, “and on occasion they ‘eat the mike’ to make an effect. If the audience can’t hear the full range of those sounds clearly–especially the deep bass–the effect is lost.” Comics occasionally will also use musical instruments as part of their act, but as Rutherford noted, “Whatever they come up with, it will sound better with good subwoofers.”
There was no appropriate place to position subwoofers near the stage at the front of the room, but since the objective was to disperse sound throughout the room rather than to produce “blunt force” directional sound or point source sound, Rutherford created 2 foot by 2 foot fabric speaker grills in the dropped ceiling of the club and placed four 18-inch Bag End SI8E-I subwoofers above the ceiling, aiming them straight down.
“These four subs are laid out in an approximately 22-foot grid pattern around the room,” says Rutherford, “so we can couple nicely to the floor and achieve great dispersion to the entire audience. Every seat in the club is +/- 2dB.”
Brian Shields, general manager of the Improv has been delighted with the result. “I have been in comedy clubs throughout the country, and the sound delivered by the Rutherford system and the Bag End subwoofers is the best I have heard!”