Phase 1: Upgrade the Audio System in the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center

The Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center opened in 2008. The sound and lighting equipment was specified during the planning stages in 2004 and that plan was not updated, so the technology actually dates from 2004. Even when it was brand new, this beautiful theater never had a sound system robust enough for a space this size.

STaGe has been working with Mr. Anderson and audio consultants to identify the upgrades that are most needed, and to figure out how we can do the work in discrete phases as funds allow. Our main focus for Phase 1 is on improving sound reinforcement and replacing the wireless microphones.

Improving Sound Reinforcement

Our audiences complain that they can’t hear the actors and the sound quality is poor. There are only three speakers currently installed in the Quincy Jones, in one central cluster above the proscenium, and the sound is not adequately reinforced to maintain even volume throughout the theater. Lack of reinforcement also makes it difficult to minimize distortion and control the levels of voice and instrument, so both the actors and the pit orchestra can be heard clearly.

We have so far gotten one estimate for this work. For $28,000, we can install two additional speakers and sub-woofers in the catwalk to the right and left of the stage, and two speakers along the rear catwalk to function as delay speakers. If we also upgrade the speakers in the center cluster, that would be an additional $7,000.

Replacing the Wireless Microphones

We are no longer licensed to use most of our wireless microphones. The FCC auctioned off the 600 MHz service band in 2017, and T-Mobile bought the license to use it in this area. The bulk of our wireless microphones (22 out of 25) operate in the 600 MHz range.

We have three microphones that are in the 500MHz range, and those will still be legal. However, they are older, less efficient analog technology, and for the number of channels we require, we’ve been advised to move to a digital system.

We have so far gotten one bid for a wireless microphone package that includes: 24 microphones, 24 bodypack transmitters, 6 quad-channel receivers, 2 handheld transmitters and a 5-way antennae splitter for $40,000. We need to do some more research, but we think we can break this purchase down into phases as well, perhaps starting with 8 microphones and 2 receivers, the handheld transmitters (for communication with the booth) and the 5-way antennae splitter, then add more mics/transmitters/receivers when we have more funds.


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