Loyola High School's Theatre Space Upgrades to New Sound System

Hannon Theatre Company (HTC) at Loyola High School, the oldest secondary school in Southern California, has long been recognized for the quality of its student-led theatrical productions. This past season, the downtown L.A. school added an L-ACOUSTICS KIVA system to its technical production facilities.

Designed and installed by Electrosonic of Burbank, the new system features a single central mono array of six ultra-compact KIVA line source enclosures flanked on either side by a KILO low-frequency extension cabinet. Down below, two SB18i subwoofers further augment the bass reinforcement, while a single LA8 amplified controller drives the entire system.

"When the school approached me and asked how they could improve the sound, the L-ACOUSTICS KIVA system immediately came to my mind," says Electrosonic's Bryan Hinckley. "The venue was originally built in the 1920s as a wooden basketball gym with a steel vaulted ceiling and then converted into a performance arts space 30 years ago, so its acoustics are less than ideal. But I knew that KIVA would be an effective solution for focusing energy on the audience and avoiding the ceiling and back wall, which had previously been problematic."

Electrosonic installed and commissioned the system just a week prior to the school's fall 2011 drama production of Thorton Wilder's classic, The Matchmaker, which received considerable praise from audiences on its improved sound quality. But it was HTC's spring 2012 musical adaptation of The Drowsy Chaperone in early May that best showed off the capabilities of the new rig.

"Our spring musical sounded amazing!" said HTC Technical Director Eric Hermanson, who has worked with the troupe for the past dozen seasons. "The feedback line in this room has always been impossible to manage, especially when trying to get actors' voices over an electronically-amplified 10-piece orchestra. But this year it was no problem. I could literally walk actors right out to the front row and have them be perfectly intelligible over the orchestra with no feedback. It was such a great feeling."

Hermanson attributes KIVA's scalability as another important element in the school's purchase decision.

"Seeing that the Eugenie B. Hannon Theatre is over 90 years old and was never truly created as a proper theatre space, Loyola High School is already in the design phase for a new dedicated facility," he notes. "With that in mind, we knew that whatever we put into our current venue would eventually need to both move into our next space and grow as well. So although we're running a mono system in our present 300-seat room, we'll be able to take these modular enclosures and easily expand them into a larger stereo or LCR system for the new venue."