Stockton, CA (June 2, 2005)–Stockton’s newly reborn Bob Hope Theatre originally opened in 1930 as the Fox Theatre as the start of a long and storied past. In 2000, a massive $8.5 million renovation was undertaken, including a sound system based around the Milo high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker from Berkeley-based Meyer Sound.
Deck Productions’ Elton Halley designed the system, utilizing the Meyer Sound MAPP Online acoustical prediction system to help him cope with a number of restrictions based on the building’s historical status, as well as the location and weight limitations of the theatre’s rigging points. “I trust my ears,” Halley said, “but I use MAPP to give me a visual representation of what I’m hearing, and it’s never let me down. MAPP gives the designer the ability to have a better understanding of what’s going on. Even people who don’t have an intimate knowledge of acoustics are convinced by seeing a visual display.”
The system Halley came up with comprises left and right arrays, each with five Milo high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers and an underhung Milo 120 high-power expanded coverage curvilinear array loudspeaker for downfill to cover the orchestra area. A pair of 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers are groundstacked on each side of the stage for low-frequency reinforcement.
The depth of the theatre’s balcony has traditionally been both a selling point and a sonic challenge for the room. “The balcony goes on for days,” Halley quipped. “There are more than 800 seats up there, on three levels. It’s a real challenge to obtain consistent coverage.” The area beneath the balcony presented its own issues, both in depth and reflectivity. “The rear wall is curved, and the mix position is all the way at the back of the house at orchestra level, under the balcony,” explained Stephen Jester, the theatre’s technical director.
In Halley’s design, each array utilizes three Milo cabinets, driven as three separate zones, to cover the balcony, while the remaining two Milo cabinets and the Milo 120 on the bottom of the array cover the orchestra level.
The location of the rigging points presented an additional challenge. “They’re placed very far into the house,” Jester explained. “To get the splay we needed, Elton suggested putting three Milos on top, to hit the three sections of the balcony. Then, we dropped the bottom three cabinets to a much higher degree, so we weren’t hitting the rail or any portion of the back wall.”
“I was very familiar with Meyer’s stuff, and at first we were considering the M2D (compact curvilinear array loudspeaker),” recalled Jester. “But I had a chance to see the Rod Stewart tour, and was really impressed with the sound of the Milo. The show was divided into two sets–a rock band for his hits, and a jazz big band for the standards–and I was knocked out by the versatility of the Milo, being able to handle those two extremes so well.”