RCF at the Peoria Civic Center

April 9, 2015

You’ve heard the old adage “Will it play in Peoria.” It certainly will, thanks to the recent rehabilitation of the Peoria Civic Center Theater. Earlier this year, Peoria-based Advanced Audio & Light (www.advaudio.com) specified, designed and installed an upgraded audio system for the Civic Center Theater in Peoria, Illinois. The 2,244 seat Civic Center Theater is a major Midwest stopover point for concerts, Broadway shows, orchestra concerts and other events.

The Center also houses Carver Arena, the home for Bradley University basketball and the Peoria Rivermen hockey and plays host to concerts featuring the likes of Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert and others; as well as a 108,000-square foot exhibit hall.

The primary goal of the audio system design by Advanced Audio & Light was to bring the Civic Center Theater up to contemporary standards for the variety of events held there. However, they took that one step further by not only accomplishing that task, but providing a system that could be multi-functional for the entire facility. This provided both the solution to their audio needs, and added an increased revenue profit center to their bottom line.

The design by Advanced Audio & Light entailed the performing arts center, 16 of the skyboxes, trimming each balcony and under balcony and covering all the dressing rooms and lobby areas.

news_rcf_peoria_civic_center_3_650The RCF portion of the system design is comprised of 16 TTL55-A three-way active line array boxes in left and right hangs of eight boxes each coupled with six TTL36-AS dual 18” active subs, three per side in cardioid configuration. A total of 16 C3108 passive 8” two-cabinets are used, each individually covering each of the skyboxes. Six C3108 120×60 cabinets cover the under balcony. Two P5228 passive dual 8” two-way cabinets cover the upper balcony. Three TT52-A active 5” two-way cabinets are used for lip fill.

For monitors, eight TT25-SMA active 12” two-way stage monitors, three TT45-SMA active dual 12” two-way stage monitors, and an additional SUB8004-AS 18” active subwoofer (for the drummer).

Why did they choose RCF? “Competitively when you look at all the systems out there, RCF is right in the ballpark with everybody else.” In the selection process, Keeling notes, “this was a year-long process. And with the budgeting restraints that we had, you can’t get any better than this. That was our whole mindset in going into the decision to use RCF, and we did a lot of research into this,” pointing to the fact they are active cabinets (reducing amp rack costs), renowned transducer manufacturer (name well known in touring circles), and performance vs. cost ratio.

“We can easily do 115 dB at the back wall,” notes Keeling. “So the system can do metal, and it’s been received very well by the orchestral types.”

As the facility is used for all different types of performances and events, the system needed to be designed to accommodate those.

news_rcf_peoria_civic_center_2_650As the room handles everything from concerts to touring Broadway productions, the need for different system configurations is essential. A key design of this system is the “profit center” for the venue – with the cost savings already being seen in just the first few months of operation. Previously, they would often have to sub-rent systems, especially for concerts. Now, they can bundle the “house” system into the rental cost of the facility, or present it as part of a package to reduce costs for the incoming event.

“Part of the design of the system took into account event production costs and provide a potential revenue stream to the venue,” cites Keeling. “It is a great selling point, and they have noticed a huge uptick in outside promoters who want to use the venue. The convention center is playing landlord and they can be very competitive when vying for events. ‘We’re turnkey,’ they tout. You can walk in the room and we can do a show without bringing outside guys in to drive up show costs. He goes on to note that the venue has re-couped over $150,000 in rentals in the first eight months of operation.

The system was also designed with “portability” in mind. As the performing arts center is part of the complex that also includes the arena, the system is set up with individual motors and the center cluster is set up with its own specific Polar Focus system. “Which means if we have a huge off-Broadway event and we need all the center points clean for site lines, we can easily remove it.” And the efficiency of the design – “It used to take eight guys a day call…now it takes one guy with motor control as it mounts with one cable hook-up and all points are fixed.”

At the same time, the two TTL55-A arrays can be motored down quickly, and with the accessorized carting RCF has designed, can be easily moved into the arena when a major concert act comes to town.

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