IVINS, UTAH: Like a “miniature Red Rocks” nestled amid the raw scenic splendor of Southwest Utah, Tuacahn Amphitheater is an outdoor venue that hosts off-Broadway theatrical runs, as well as national and regional musical acts. The nearly 2,000-seat venue occupies the end of a red rock box canyon and draws visitors from nearby communities, as well as escapees from Las Vegas. Because the shows at Tuacahn – which have included Tarzan, Grease, Cats, and Annie, among many others – are held to the very highest artistic and technical standards, patrons oblivious to the clean Utah air, starry sky, and majestic scenery might mistake a Tuacahn experience for a show in New York City or London. Recently, Tuacahn rounded out that experience with powerful, authentic, low end delivered by two Danley Sound Labs TH-812 subwoofers.
With its production of Tarzan in 2010, Tuacahn was the first theater company awarded an off-Broadway Disney production. Tarzan was a hit, and Tuacahn followed it up in 2011 with The Little Mermaid. In anticipation of The Little Mermaid, the facility invested heavily in its visual support. Upgrades included new intelligent lighting and a gigantic water-screen projection system. “The visual effects for The Little Mermaid were astounding,” said Jesse Edgel, systems integrator with Poll Sound, the company that designed Tuacahn’s original sound system and assisted with the subwoofer upgrade. For years, however, the otherwise first-rate venue limped along with marginally satisfactory low-end. “Before we upgraded to Danley, we always had to roll in extra subs for concerts,” said Edgel. “It was a total pain.”
In anticipation of 2012 runs of Aladdin and Hairspray and concerts by Three Dog Night, Huey Lewis & The News, Martina McBride, and others, Tuacahn Amphitheater committed to raise its bass response in order to bring it in line with every other aspect of it’s A/V system. Poll Sound arranged a blind shootout at the amphitheater involving the Danley TH-812 and top-of-the-line subwoofers from two other respected manufacturers. The TH-812 employs eight 12-inch drivers using Tom Danley’s patent-pending Tapped Horn technology. The design is highly efficient and even across its frequency band.
Everyone with an interest in the upgrade was present and rated the subs according to a number of criteria (e.g. “how low does it go?” “how musical does it sound?”). “The TH-812 was the overwhelming favorite based on the criteria,” reported Edgel. “At SPLs typical of a theatrical production, the TH-812s have a nice, honest, deep sound. At concert SPLs, they can kick you in the chest!” Tuacahn’s owners were surprised to learn that not only did the Danley TH-812s sound the best, they were also half to a third the cost of the other potential solutions!
“It was a no-brainer,” laughed Edgel. “The Danley was the best sounding box plus it was substantially less expensive.” With the money saved, the facility invested in high-end, reliable power for the new subwoofers. Four FP 10000 Qs, two FP 6000 Qs, and two FP 1400 Qs from Lab.gruppen power the two Danley TH-812s. In order to accommodate the many uses of Tuacahn, Poll Sound installed each sub on its own dolly. The stage managers and sound engineers treat them like set pieces. In addition, Tuacahn ordered the maximum weatherproofing for the TH-812s so that they will endure the meteorological vicissitudes of the high desert.
With the 2012 season underway, several concerts have enjoyed the use of the Danley TH-812s. “The FOH engineers have been thrilled,” said Edgel. “They have all said good things about the low frequency extension. One engineer even eyed the setup suspiciously before the concert and observed that ‘mixed-brand’ systems seldom held together nicely. But when the show was over, he was an unabashed convert. The Danley low-end is undeniable.”
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS
Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.