The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom recently got an audio upgrade that included a Meyer Sound Mica line array system.New Hampshire (February 15, 2008)–The historic Hampton Beach Casino and its Casino Ballroom are popular vacation spots in New England. While it’s hosted many big names over the years, the 2,200-seat ballroom needed–and recently received–a major redesign of its audio and lighting systems, including the addition of a new loudspeaker system based on Meyer Sound’s Mica compact curvilinear array loudspeaker.
The main system is comprised of two arrays of eight Mica cabinets each, augmented by a pair of MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers for sidefill. A half-dozen 700-HP subwoofers provide low end. A full 10 MJF-212 stage monitors and a 600-HP compact subwoofer comprise the primary stage monitoring system, with a pair of CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers flown as sidefill monitors. A Galileo loudspeaker management system provides system processing and drive, while the RMS remote monitoring system, installed on a Windows-based computer at the FOH position, provides continual data on the status of each loudspeaker for house audio engineer John Coretto or a guest engineer. Audio industry veteran Bill Blaine and his company, WHB Concert Production, handled the installation.
The Casino Ballroom remains, in many ways, unchanged since opening its doors on the cusp of the Roaring Twenties, when it was regarded as one of the largest and most popular dance halls in the region. The ballroom’s popularity peaked in the mid-1930s, when thousands crowded onto the dance floor to swing to such headliners as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. At the dawn of the rock ‘n’ roll era, The Supremes, the Four Tops, and Peter, Paul and Mary shared the stage with the Beach Boys, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Fifth Dimension. The ballroom’s legacy continued with performances from Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and many more. “I remember seeing Janis Joplin perform here in 1968, and I wanted to work here ever since,” recalls Blaine.
“Like most older buildings, the Casino Ballroom wasn’t really built for amplification,” he continues. “It’s a challenging space, with a slatted ceiling that goes all the way up into a fairly large cavity. It’s built on pilings driven into the sand, and has its own particular responses to bass frequencies. We have done a lot of work in the space over the years, and it has a unique sound.”
The building’s aesthetics played a significant role in the ballroom’s sound system choice. “We’d had some trapezoidal boxes in here for the past 15 years or so, and one of the biggest objections the owners had was their appearance,” says Blaine. “The Mica’s low profile was a definite plus.”