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Former movie palace undergoes Alcons Audio install

Publicly-funded project completes series of technical upgrades to theatre located on the Missouri River in St Joseph.

On the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, the Missouri Theater retains all of its visual grandeur, so it was important that a recent audio upgrade didn’t detract from the aesthetics. Thanks to some public-spirited citizens, the 1,200-seat former movie palace has recently been upgraded with an Alcons Audio LR7 pro-ribbon system.

Although owned and operated by the city authorities, it was a group of public-spirited citizens who raised the money for the project. Together with its longest-serving sound engineer, Erich Uhlhorn – who did his first show there 46 years ago – they approached audio consultant David T Walters of Diversified Design.

“This was the last stage of a long-running series of technical upgrades. My approach was that it’s ‘my’ house and I wanted to make it sound right,” said Uhlhorn. “I had introduced David to Alcons systems at InfoComm, several years previously. When he saw the theatre, he knew it was perfect for the Alcons LR7 pro-ribbon solution. It would deliver great audio quality, but not impact on sightlines or the architecture.”

Walters added: “I spoke with the client about other systems, but I knew only Alcons would meet the aesthetics, budget and audio needs. We demoed the system and everyone was sold on it straight away.”

The system comprises 12 LR7/90 micro line array modules per side, with a centre cluster of three RR12 point-source array modules and a pair of BF181i mkII compact subwoofers. Six SR9 ultra-compact monitors are used for fills, with the whole system powered and controlled by three Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

The system was installed by the Electronic Contracting Company, which is based in five locations in the Midwest and has a large portfolio of public building installations. “It was the first time I have used the RR12s and, to me, they sound every bit as good as the LR7s,” said Walters.

“The coverage is extremely even, which is a benefit of the asymmetrical horns – we hung them straight and the coverage was perfect. The frequency response of the whole system is really good, and I was very impressed with the power of the subs, they really deliver.”

Phillip Peglow from sound design and consulting firm Broken Chord commissioned the system which, thanks to its inherent quality, it was not a difficult process.

“Commissioning it was really simple. You don’t have to work hard to make Alcons systems sound good, which is something I really like,” said Uhlhorn. “We’ve had a lot of comments about how much better the sound is. The staff love it, the patrons love it – everybody notices that something good has happened.”