‘The most rider-friendly box out there’: Franklin Music Hall opts for L-Acoustics K2

Philadelphia music venue Franklin Music Hall has installed a new L-Acoustics K2 system, with New York indie icons LCD Soundsystem giving it its inaugural airing.

The 2,500-capacity venue first opened in 1995 as Electric Factory before being acquired by AEG in 2018 when it took on its current moniker, with AEG’s regional partner The Bowery Presents producing shows there by artists like Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Greta Van Fleet, MGMT, and Matt and Kim.

The new L-Acoustics installation builds on The Bowery Presents’ many projects with L-Acoustics systems at its other venues, including NYC’s Brooklyn Steel, Terminal 5, and Webster Hall, as well as Boston’s new Roadrunner, which is also now home to a K2 rig.

For much of its time as Electric Factory, the venue housed L-Acoustics’ V-DOSC touring- systems. Now, with the installation of its new K2 arrays, it has become one of the longest-running L-Acoustics sites in North America.

“The V-DOSC system had been in here since 2004, and in its time, it was the absolute benchmark for sound,” said Franklin Music Hall production manager Jerry Market, whose tenure at the venue extends back to its Electric Factory era. “Bauder Audio has been our partner for years, so we had them come in and install the new K2 rig for us.”

Bauder used many of the same acoustical designs used for the V-DOSC system, which addressed such factors as the original large windows that shook and rattled when the low end was turned up. The low end there now comes from 10 ground-based KS28 subs, which provide low-frequency punch for a main array system made up of 16 K2 loudspeakers, flown eight per side.

The K2 configuration also addresses some of Franklin Music Hall’s unique aspects, such as the multiple delay-fill speakers used to bring sound to the interior’s nooks and crannies. These include four Kara II used as front-fills, mounted directly atop the downstage edge of the subwoofers using custom supports that also keep them from taking up room on the stage.

There are also nine A15i, featuring both Focus and Wide versions, for fill coverage above and below the balcony and to cover the seating side of stage left. All of this is powered by a combination of 11 LA12X and three LA4X amplified controllers, with delay timings managed through an L-Acoustics P1 processor located at FOH and running the entire system on a Milan-AVB network.

Onstage are 14 coaxial X15 HiQ wedges for monitors, with additional A15 Focus speakers as side-fill stage monitors positioned over five KS21 subs, all powered by an LA12X. FOH and monitor consoles are both DiGiCo desks: an SD10 with a 32-bit SD-Rack and a Quantum225, respectively. Other system elements in the renovation of the venue’s audio include Motion Labs distros, Shure and Sennheiser mics, Shure Axient wireless, K&M stands, Racpco Horizon mic cables, an Entertainment Manufacturing analog split, and Whirlwind W1 and W2 subsnakes.

“We’ve also added new acoustical curtains to further minimize reflections off the walls,” said Market. “But the real star of the sound is K2. It sounds great and it’s keeping Franklin Music Hall the premiere club venue in Philadelphia, just like L-Acoustics has been for decades.”

“K2 was the natural option to replace V-DOSC for a venue that hosts a lot of rock, rap, and DJ performances,” explained Bauder Audio production manager Brian Naab. “It’s got plenty of power and is the most rider-friendly box out there. Plus, it’s compact enough for a venue like this,” he added referring to the room’s acoustical intricacies, which the main K2 can primarily address, due to their adjustable L-Fins, with the 90-degree asymmetric model used on the K2 enclosures nearest the side wall to keep the energy away from its reflective surface.

“A combination of the L-Fins and the acoustical treatments keeps the sound squarely on the audience,” said Naab. “It’s a great rock sound system for a great rock room and nicely carries on the club’s legacy for providing the very best sound.”