Hollywood Bowl Enhances Its L-Acoustics System with New Amplified Controllers
Set against the striking backdrop of the Hollywood Hills with its iconic Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Bowl is the summer home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has been L.A.'s signature live-music venue for nearly a century.
The Bowl has also been the winner of 13 consecutive Pollstar Awards for "Outstanding Outdoor Venue" since 2004, which was coincidentally the same year that L-Acoustics was selected by the LA Phil to help maintain the highest level of audio excellence at the venue, first with V-DOSC, then with the 2013 installation of the only K1 system currently installed in a North American venue.
Just prior to the 2017 season, the Hollywood Bowl once again furthered its pursuit of sonic excellence with the acquisition of 18 AVB-ready L-Acoustics LA12X and 10 LA4X amplified controllers, all sold and installed by Rat Sound. With this addition of 28 new LA Series amplified controllers, the Hollywood Bowl has completely refreshed and updated its power infrastructure, further maximizing the performance of its K1/Kara system, and repurposed some of its LA8 amplifiers to power fill and surround speakers on the same network.
The new amplified controllers are equipped with L-Acoustics' LA Network Manager software, an advanced network engine that allows capabilities such as automatic discovery of connected units, multiple-group assignation capability, and comprehensive real-time monitoring with event logging. Through the LA Network Manager software, the Hollywood Bowl's audio team can now monitor the performance of each and every speaker in the system.
"We can see the status of every driver in the system, such as checking each one's impedance, which is a huge enhancement of our ability to keep the system operating at its full potential," explains Fred Vogler, principal sound designer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, who works closely with colleagues Michael Sheppard, head of audio for the Hollywood Bowl, and Jeff Wallace, the venue's and orchestra's associate director of production.
Thanks to load checking, the system's functionally can be verified automatically, every day, in just a few minutes. "This is a big deal for us to be able to check the system after each performance, giving us peace of mind and ensuring that the system will continue to operate without failures," Vogler notes.
"But what the new amplified controllers also do is bring a new level of authority to the sound of the system. There has been a noticeable improvement in resolution and fidelity to the system since we installed them before our current season began this past May. The sound, which was always great through the K1 system, is now spectacular."
Vogler lauds the precision and consistency of the coverage that the L-Acoustics system offers the legendary open-air venue. "I love that we were able to make it even better and more efficient with the new amplifiers," he says.
In addition to the new LA Series amplified controllers, the Bowl added a number of X Series coaxial enclosures, including four X12 and ten X8 for the stage paired with two SB15m subs, all powered by four more newly acquired LA4X. Two additional self-powered 108P conductor monitors were also purchased, as well as eight X12 systems used as surrounds out in the house.
The X Series monitors are versatile performers, used for communications between front of house and the stage, as well as for more routine applications, such as monitoring for guest vocalists/soloists performing with the LA Phil.
"They give the conductor a more intimate way to communicate with the ensemble musicians on stage during rehearsals, which gives us overall higher performance and better tone on stage," Vogler says. "We're always looking for ways to make the house and its sound better, and L-Acoustics gives us the tools to do that."