FRAMINGHAM, MA – After Nick Moon’s design and integration firm Tone Proper AV installed a Bose Professional ShowMatch P.A. system at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, venue owner McMenamins was delighted with the result. So it was no surprise that the family-owned hospitality group requested a repeat performance at its newest music venue, the Spanish Ballroom at the McMenamins Elks Temple in Tacoma, WA, where Moon and his Tone Proper AV team installed a similar ShowMatch system.
“They’re nearly identical systems,” according to Moon, whose company is based in Gresham, OR. “You could do a show at the Crystal Ballroom, save your front-of-house settings on your thumb drive, go to the Spanish Ballroom and it should be a pretty good translation.”
The former Elks Lodge, which was built in 1915 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had sat abandoned for 20 years before McMenamins, which operates dozens of pubs, restaurants, hotels and music venues throughout the Northwest, reopened the building following a nine-year renovation. In addition to the 750-capacity Spanish Ballroom, the multistory McMenamins Elks Temple also houses a restaurant, multiple bars, a seven-barrel brewery and 45 hotel rooms.
The long lead time gave Moon the opportunity to measure the venue and test various ShowMatch system configurations in the Bose Modeler software. “We were able to dial in the model to keep the sound right where we wanted it,” says Moon. “Like at the Crystal, the pattern of each box is a little bit different in order to shape the pattern to the floor.”
At the Spanish Ballroom, left and right hangs of six DeltaQ ShowMatch array modules each are configured with three 5-degree vertical dispersion boxes at the top with a single 10-degree and two 20-degree boxes at the bottom. To provide consistent and even coverage across the floor of the venue the horizontal dispersion, which is defined by the waveguides in each ShowMatch module, ranges from 70 to 120 degrees from top to bottom in each array.
“From a FOH engineer’s perspective, it’s nice to know that we’re not wasting energy by hitting the walls,” says Moon. “Energy is being used effectively and consistently. When you stand at the back, the front, the sides, it all sounds really good.”
Moon stacked four ShowMatch SMS118 subs on the stage and positioned four more subs below the stage. All eight ShowMatch subs are time aligned and controlled from a single aux send on the FOH mixing console, he says. Two Bose RoomMatch Utility RMU208 speakers provide stage lip fill. The entire Bose speaker system is driven by nine PowerMatch PM8500N amplifiers fitted with AmpLink cards and is optimized using a Dante-enabled ControlSpace engineered sound processor.
“After we applied all the tuning and stuff that we did in the computer, we turned it up, walked around, and it sounded awesome right out of the gate. It did exactly what we predicted it would do and required minimal tuning,” says Moon. “It translates into a great experience for everybody.”
The Spanish Ballroom, which is located on the building’s second floor, is surrounded by hotel rooms on the same level and on adjacent floors, so soundproofing and isolation throughout the venue were critical to avoid disturbing guests. Because there is an HVAC system located beneath the stage, McMenamins music director Jimi Biron brought in River Hawk Construction, the contractor who built the stage at Crystal Ballroom, to isolate the four bunker subs. “They had to take it to a whole new level, not only isolating each speaker, but also isolating the subs from the HVAC system so we didn’t end up with unintentional sound going to all the hotel rooms,” he says.
After ShowMatch proved its worth at the Crystal Ballroom, where the Bose Professional system overcame significant challenges, including a corner stage and a wall of glass, installing a second system at the Spanish Ballroom was an easy call to make. Moon’s service and the support from Bose Professional also factored into the decision. “We’ve enjoyed the relationship and are delighted to use the system,” says Biron.
For more information, visit pro.bose.com.
Photo caption: The Melvins perform at the Spanish Ballroom at the McMenamins Elks Temple in Tacoma, WA, employing at Bose Professional ShowMatch P.A. system.