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Arizona’s Historic Orpheum Theater Welcomes Patrons Back with an Upgraded EAW Speaker System

FLAGSTAFF, AZ, SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 – When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept across the nation last year, Flagstaff’s Orpheum Theater had no choice but to close its doors to the public. For Audio Production Manager Scotty J., this meant not being able to showcase the venue’s brand-new, state-of-the-art KF810P PA system from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW).  

While the Orpheum was closed, the theater still produced some virtual events including about 25 webcasts during 2020 from its indoor stage with the new EAW system. The venue also created an outdoor space in the parking lot, which was first used for a 2-day Halloween/Grateful Dead event last October.

Today, with some restrictions easing, Scotty J. is thrilled to show off the new PA system as the Orpheum re-opens. Scotty J. chose the KF810P Line Array and SB818P Single 18-inch flyable subwoofers from EAW with the help of Sound Image, a full-service audio, video, theatrical lighting, control system, acoustic design and integration firm.

“Since we are a multipurpose music venue, we really needed a versatile PA that could handle all different genres of music that encompass various different decibel levels,” says Scotty. “Ben Davis from Sound Image was instrumental in helping us find the best system for our venue. We heard the EAW rig in a few different environments and it always sounded amazing. The acts/engineers that come through the venue know EAW, which added to my confidence in the brand.”

The new EAW PA system consists of 12 KF810P line arrays with six boxes on the left and right respectively, 12 SB818P Single 18-inch flyable subwoofers and four RSX129 2-way self-powered loudspeakers for front fills. When spec’ing the system, Davis wanted to make sure the PA could generate enough SPL from the mains and didn’t want to rely too heavily on the subs. In addition, the venue is a long rectangular space with a balcony on one end, so making sure the balcony was covered was another important factor.

“We are very excited to finally showcase our new EAW system as we start to host in-person events again,” adds Scotty. “We know we will really dazzle our audiences with the amazing sound quality and coverage of our new EAW system.”

While the Orpheum’s original 18-year-old PA system’s coverage was no longer adequate for the room’s design, it wasn’t ready to be silenced forever. As a result, the Orpheum donated the system, which will be traveling to Africa where it will be used on a tour of the continent, beginning its journey in Cameroon with the band Kemit.

Originally built in 1914 and then later rebuilt in 1917 following a major snowstorm, the Orpheum Theater is located in the center of downtown Flagstaff. It is  listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as one of the West’s most significant theater structures. The classic 650-seat space with additional standing room up to 1,000 people, hosts major bands, plays, classical concerts, film screenings, community events and occasionally TV shows.

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