Fixed Installation

The Agora Theatre and Ballroom in Cleveland, OH is an architectural marvel and one of the most revered live entertainment venues in the U.S. Midwest. A year after acquiring the operating rights to the storied space, concert giant AEG Presents unveiled the results of a sweeping $3 million overhaul that, in addition to restorative work on some of its stunning interior architecture, included a brand-new audio system from Adamson Systems Engineering for the 2,100-capacity Agora Theatre.

Designed by Michigan’s Allen Audio Systems and sold and installed by Cleveland’s own Eighth Day Sound Systems, the Agora’s new solution is built around Adamson’s sub-compact S-Series and was one of the first to incorporate the S10n narrow-dispersion array enclosure.

Allen Audio CEO Mark Allen was tasked with designing a state-of-the-art system that could comfortable handle any artist that might perform in the theatre while being sensitive to sightlines and the room’s one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

“For the last few years, Adamson’s flagship E-Series has been getting rave reviews from touring engineers all over the world. One of our engineers, Jake Wargo, had been championing Adamson for some time and connected us with Eighth Day Sound based on that,” shares Allen. “We thought the S-Series would fit the bill perfectly, being a sub-compact box voiced the same as the large-format E-Series. After a visit with [Director of Installations] Tom George at Eighth Day and then a trip to the Adamson factory in Canada for a demo of the new S10n narrow-dispersion cabinet, we knew we had the right system for this venue.”

The system in the Agora Theatre is comprised of main left-right arrays of eight S10n compact two-way, full-range cabinets over two standard S10s per side, supported by left, centre, and right stacks of two E219 subwoofers in front of the stage and four iS7p point-source cabinets for front fills.

On the choice of the S10n specifically, Allen explains that many mid-size array enclosures have too wide a dispersion for historic theatres like the Agora.

Additionally, the previous system suffered from inconsistent coverage and SPL levels, particularly in the rear corners and under-balcony areas. That’s where Adamson’s Blueprint AV 3D predictive simulation software offered a significant benefit. “Using Blueprint, it was easy to work out the number of boxes and their configuration to effectively handle this,” offers Bill Gleespen, Allen Audio’s Chief of Operations, who handled the Blueprint modelling work.

“The system definitely sounds far bigger than it looks,” comments John T. Blasko, Lead Audio Engineer at The Agora. “The pairing of the Adamson line arrays, subs, and fills with Dolby Lake processing definitely helps us overcome some of the challenges of coverage in the older-style theatre. In the 20 years that I have been attending shows at the Cleveland Agora, this is far and away the best the room has sounded.”

That last statement is echoed by Justin Miller, VP of Operations for AEG Presents – Great Lakes. “The Adamson rig has been aces for us,” he enthuses. “We get compliments from tours, patrons, and industry professionals alike, and in my opinion, it’s the best audio rig we could have put into the room. I’m grateful to Mark and Allen Audio for suggesting Adamson, and grateful to Adamson for producing a top-shelf PA system that we’ll be relying on for years to come.”

See the full feature story in the April 2019 edition of Front of House Magazine.

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