L-Acoustics overhaul for IWU’s Phillipe Performing Arts Centre

SineWave Audio has installed an L-Acoustics Kara(i) and Kiva loudspeaker system in the Phillipe Auditorium – a 1,150-seat proscenium theatre and the centrepiece of Indiana Wesleyan University’s Phillipe Performing Arts Centre (PPAC).

With such a broad range of events held within the visually striking venue, Indiana-based SineWave Audio designed a hybrid system comprising left and right stereo arrays of 11 L-Acoustics Kara(i) enclosures flown below two SB18 subs, extending the range of the subs for music and playback, with a centre array of 15 compact Kiva enclosures primarily used for speech reinforcement. Three more Kiva are positioned on the stage lip for front fill, and four auxiliary-fed SB28 subs are available to maximise low-end impact when concerts are held in the room.

Furthermore, six coaxial 12XT plus two self-powered 112P enclosures serve as stage monitors, and all loudspeakers (sans the 112P) are powered and processed by a combination of seven LA8 and two LA4X amplified controllers. The entire system was supplied by Mid-America Sound.

First dedicated in 1996, the $9 million PPAC is home to IWU’s music and theatre departments and serves as the cultural centre of the University, hosting concerts, recitals, theatre, lectures, youth conferences and more. Although the facility boasts one of Indiana’s most prestigious architectural design awards, it was widely felt that Phillippe Auditorium’s original sound system—designed as a distributed speech reinforcement system—lacked the SPL, stereo capabilities and fidelity necessary for modern touring productions.

“L-Acoustics’ Soundvision software enabled us to very accurately model the ideal number of Kara(i) and Kiva necessary to perfectly cover all of the seating areas, yet keep that energy away from reflective surfaces like the face of the balcony,” noted SineWave Audio president and founder Micah Dean.

“The rig has such warmth and clarity, which makes this intimate space feel even more intimate. Standing at front-of-house, which is the farthest listening position in the room, we can now hear the subtlest details—even at whisper low levels—that we never heard reproduced in the room before,” added IWU technical coordinator of sound, lighting and media Phil Huber.

“On the other end of the spectrum, when we drive the system hard, it can get really loud, but that volume never feels ‘in your face’ in an unpleasant way. Even at high SPLs, the sound is so wonderfully natural and transparent. We no longer have to worry or make excuses for how things sound—the system does all the work, allowing us to focus on the music.”