Worth the Wait: LA’s Regent Theater Is Reborn With HARMAN Professional Audio System
February 03, 2015
LOS ANGELES, California — All things come to those who wait, as Mitchell Frank can attest. Owner of the newly revived Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles, it took Frank almost 10 years of dreaming about it, acquiring a long-term lease for it in February 2012, then waiting through 19 months of construction before the Regent finally reopened last November as a premier venue in LA’s reemerging downtown music scene. Originally built in the 1920s, the 1,100-capacity venue has been renovated with an eclectic combination of preserved historic architectural details and up to the minute furnishings and amenities – including a HARMAN Professional audio system based around JBL VTX Series line arrays and Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers.
Frank took an unusually hands-on approach in the sound system upgrade – in fact, the system install was done in-house, without the services of an outside contractor. Frank relied on the help of JBL’s Paul Bauman, but already had a clear vision of what he wanted for the Regent, having worked for many years as, among other things, a concert and event producer and currently owner of Spaceland Productions. “I’ve always been a fan of the VERTEC® line arrays. When I first learned about the top of the line JBL VTX Series I knew we wanted to be first in line to have the rig installed here.”
The Regent Theater’s VTX complement includes six V20 line array elements and four STX 828S dual-18-inch subwoofers on each side of the stage, augmented by four JBL AC26 2-way compact speakers for front fill, two PRX735 3-way full-range speakers used as side fills and an even dozen VRX915M 2-way 15-inch stage monitors. Six Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers power the main left/right line arrays, three Crown I-Tech 12000HD amps drive the subwoofers and four I-Tech 4x3500HD amps handle the stage monitors.
The Regent has a main floor that slopes to the stage and a newly built second-floor mezzanine level and Frank finds the VTX arrays deliver wide, even, controlled coverage to both levels. “The VTX line arrays are relatively compact, but really powerful and clean and it’s amazing how much space they can cover, and do it so well. We did not have to install separate speakers for the mezzanine.” Frank notes the Regent hosts an eclectic variety of music and the speakers, subs and amps can go from pounding yet completely undistorted deep bass on the venue’s dance music nights a to delicate, nuanced and sonically layered ‘high-fidelity’ presentation for acoustic-based acts.
The Crown amplifiers also helped to simplify the system design. “The I-Tech 4x3500HD is incredible. The amplifier’s built-in processing and ability to be matched to the VTX arrays and the stage monitors saved us space because the loudspeaker management technology is all in the amps. We didn’t have to add outboard hardware for this functionality and JBL HiQnet Performance ManagerTM software provides a great control and monitoring interface.”
Frank is doing some final fine-tuning of the venue with acoustic treatment. “We’re dampening up the room just a bit and just kind of tightening it up, but it’s been pretty much ready to go. We’ve had 10 shows already and everything sounds great.”
Paul Bauman noted, “The advantages of the HARMAN JBL VTX and I-Tech HD system really shine in applications like the Regent Theater. Until the advent of these products it would have been impossible to implement a sound system in this kind of venue that was this streamlined in configuration, yet could be so precisely fine tuned. The performance of the VTX/I-Tech HD system has immediately taken the Regent to being one of the premier music venues in LA.”
“The combination of VTX and I-Tech HD is like a one-two sonic punch,” Frank added. “It’s so clear, and each frequency range is nicely slotted and defined. With this JBL and Crown system, I finally feel like I’m in the 21st Century!”