Installed Audio

Historic Stifel Theatre installs d&b KSL loudspeaker system

Stifel Theatre – a historic, 3,100 seat theatre in the heart of downtown St. Louis, Missouri – has recently made significant improvements to its guest experience by installing a d&b audiotechnik KSL loudspeaker system, as Headliner recently discovered…

Originally opened in 1934, the theatre has played host to a variety of events including opera, Broadway, the symphony, comedy acts and some of the greatest musical performers in history.

KSL, which in this case was installed by Spectrum Sound of Nashville, was introduced as the ‘younger sibling’ to the flagship GSL system. The family shares broadband directivity and extended low frequency response throughout the lineup, as well as technologies like d&b ArrayProcessing – providing an option for sonic consistency, delivering tonal balance and even level distribution over the entire coverage area front to back.

“All venues have their own set of unique challenges when it comes to designing and implementing house PA. Stifel Theatre, while beautiful aesthetically, had some typical acoustical challenges with some significant hard reflections that could be exacerbated by amplified PA,” explains Ken DeBelius, system integration sales manager for Spectrum.

“This was one of the reasons why we chose the d&b audiotechnik KSL-Series for this space; the very controlled polar directivity of KSL minimised the amount of wasted energy that typically excites the room in bad ways with ordinary loudspeaker systems. During the initial deployment of the rig, everyone was instantly amazed at how well it sounded right out of the gate without even doing much system tuning. It simply sounded great from the start.”

DeBelius says that the Stifel Theatre staff were familiar with other d&b systems, mostly V-Series, as they regularly come through the space with various touring productions, making them well-acquainted with the d&b sonic footprint: “They had not actually heard KSL but based on Spectrum’s recommendation, they went with this premium solution that will serve their needs for decades.”

“Our number one priority as a company is to provide the best experience possible for both performers and guests who visit our theatre,” adds Adrian Silverstein, assistant general manager of Stifel Theatre. “Spectrum, along with Tim Kostal, the head of our audio department, understood those needs and through both of their expertise, made it easy to invest in a state-of-the-art d&b PA that addresses our need to adapt to the varied productions we host. Spectrum’s willingness to provide their touring amp rack during a chip shortage due to supply issues is just an example of how they will go above and beyond for their clients.”

The staff at Stifel Theatre expressed the desire to have an auxiliary center full-range cluster that could be used both with the main Left/Right KSL arrays, or alone for simpler talking heads shows.

“For this, we elected to use the d&b A-Series Augmented Array product,” says DeBelius. “These are suspended directly below the center-flown subwoofer array using a custom designed/fabricated adapter from the d&b custom shop. Despite their small footprint, they keep up with the main KSL arrays remarkably well.”

d&b’s A-Series is designed to combine the ease of point source clusters with the level and frequency distribution of line arrays, delivering d&b sonic quality in an augmented format. It can be deployed vertically or horizontally, and its coverage is adjustable to meet its requirements.

d&b ArrayProcessing was also implemented in this project, and DeBelius reveals that he rarely installs any d&b systems without ArrayProcessing:

“The benefits in smoothing the tonal response across the seating planes are totally worth the extra amplifier channels needed,” he says. “It also greatly assisted providing good coverage into the balcony without excessive level loss, right up to the very top of the high balcony seating without having to resort to separate upper balcony delay fills.”

The full KSL configuration consists of eight KSL8, 16 KSL12, four KSL-SUBs (center, flown SUB array), four SL-GSUBs (portable floor SUBs for the deck), 18 40D amplifiers, two D80 amplifiers, eight 44S loudspeakers for front fills, three DS10 Dante network bridges, four Yi7P point source loudspeakers for under balcony delay fills, one AL60 and three AL90 A-Series loudspeakers, and two M6 wedge monitors.

Image Credit: Spectrum Sound and Scott Rovak for Stifel Theatre