Alcons Upgrades Missouri Theater

One of the most architecturally striking buildings in the city of St Joseph, the Missouri Theater is the centre of a thriving arts scene. Thanks to some public-spirited citizens, the 1200-seat former movie palace has recently been upgraded with an Alcons Audio LR7 pro-ribbon system.

St Joseph’s position on the Missouri River means it was a historically important location for trade and it remains popular, being within easy reach of over 17 metropolitan areas. One of the key features of the 1927-built Missouri Theater is its Hollywood-Oriental style. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, it retains all of its visual grandeur, so it was important that a recent audio upgrade didn’t detract from the aesthetics.

Although owned and operated by the city authorities, it was a group of public-spirited citizens who raised the money for the audio upgrade. Together with its longest-serving sound engineer, Erich Uhlhorn – who did his first show there 46 years ago – they approached audio consultant David T Walters of Diversified Design.

“This was the last stage of a long-running series of technical upgrades. My approach was that it’s ‘my’ house and I wanted to make it sound right,” said Erich. “When he saw the theatre, he knew it was perfect for the Alcons LR7 pro-ribbon solution. It would deliver great audio quality, but not impact on sightlines or the architecture.”

As it happens David is a long-term fan of ribbon drivers so, when he did a site visit, his choice was the Alcons LR7, because it is so unobtrusive.

“I spoke with the client about other systems, but I knew only Alcons would meet the aesthetics, budget and audio needs. We demoed the system and everyone was sold on it straight away,” he said.

The system comprises 12 LR7/90 micro line array modules per side, with a center cluster of three RR12 point-source array modules and a pair of BF181i mkII compact subwoofers. Six SR9 ultra-compact monitors are used for fills, with the whole system powered and controlled by three Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

The system was installed by the Electronic Contracting Company, which is based in five locations in the Midwest and has a large portfolio of public building installations. “It was the first time I have used the RR12s and, to me, they sound every bit as good as the LR7s,” added David.

“The coverage is extremely even, which is a benefit of the asymmetrical horns – we hung them straight and the coverage was perfect. “The frequency response of the whole system is really good, and I was very impressed with the power of the subs, they really deliver.”

Phillip Peglow from sound design and consulting firm Broken Chord commissioned the system which, thanks to its inherent quality, it was not a difficult process.

“You don’t have to work hard to make Alcons systems sound good, which is something I really like,” Erich praised. “We’ve had a lot of comments about how much better the sound is. The staff love it, the patrons love it – everybody notices that something good has happened.”