The Crofoot Ballroom sports a McCauley Sound Monarc line array system with Vortex amplifiers from Camco. Pontiac, MI (October 3, 2007)--Built around 180 years ago, the Crofoot Building has had many lives but developer Blair McGowan, a veteran of Metro Detroit's entertainment scene, sees the location as a live music venue, and has spent $3 million on a massive 18-month refurbishment program to turn that into a reality. Now the venue is open for business, and sports a McCauley Sound Monarc line array system with Vortex amplifiers from Camco.
Long-time sound engineer and system installer Chris Panackia had collaborated with McGowan for 25 years. "McCauley Sound had a really neat package," he said, "but, above all, the company impressed me with its 'Mom 'n' Pop' attitude to my project; they were never too busy, they answered every phone call. I worked closely with Bruce Anderson, who came out to Pontiac for five days and together we read the room right - it was an outstanding partnership."
In the 1,150-capacity venue, squarely shaped with a large balcony, Panackia has installed a McCauley Monarc system, with eight MLA3 cabinets per side. Flown from the 22' ceiling height, the top half of the arrays provide coverage for the balcony area, while the lower cabinets are aimed at the ballroom. A dozen McCauley CSM88 subwoofers are under the stage, isolation-mounted on neoprene rubber to eliminate vibration.
"The Crofoot will accommodate the more discerning and demanding engineers, so we've put in a system that is better than anyone could possibly want - it's everything you need, and then some," said Panackia, who A/B'd the Vortex against a prominent American-made alternative. He found them to be "just tremendous; they seemed to be cleaner, with more punch and more clarity, and held the power supply a lot better. The amp room at the Crofoot will stop engineers in their tracks just from looking at it; they're in awe! Touring engineers recognise the racks immediately."
Panackia acknowledges that the system represents "a lot of PA for a room that size, but we've done that more for coverage than anything else. Wherever you are in the room, you hear the same thing. This monstrous and beautiful PA and the Vortex amps go together so well. Typically we will run at 110dB, although our system trials were done quite comfortably at 120dB and then it went off the meter!"
Completing the system, the Crofoot is equipped with two 48-channel Yamaha M7CL digital consoles for front-of-house and monitor control, with a full complement of Klark-Teknik gates, compressors and EQ, plus TC Electronics M1 and D2 units. On stage is a full McCauley monitoring system, comprising 10 SM72-2 wedges, with two SA155-2 drum boxes, and a pair of ID4.212-64s as sidefills. All processing is done with McCauley proprietary devices.
Complementing the high-tech PA system are many of the original features of a 19th century city building, as Blair McGowan describes: "Fortunately, we found a lot to work with. Old masonry arches. Brick. Old timbers. High ceilings. A floor plan that just laid itself out for us. We have attempted to re-use the old materials, but we have added new features like waterless toilets, a white roof that will reflect the heat of the sun, truck loads of insulation, and efficient air conditioning. Working with the buildings which our ancestors left us is very gratifying. We know that the public will love what we have uncovered and restored. It's a very comfortable, pleasant and even exciting space."
Ashly Audio (Camco's US distributor)