During nearly 60 years of operation The Troubadour has hosted some of the world's biggest comedy and music artists
USA - Belying its modest exterior, The Troubadour has featured prominently in the entertainment history of Los Angeles almost since the day it was opened in 1957 by the late Doug Weston.

Showing no signs of slowing down after nearly six decades, the legendary venue, which was named by Billboard in 2014 as one of the top five must-play clubs in the country and by Rolling Stone the year prior as the second best rock club in America, has just become even more attractive to touring artists with a major upgrade of its PA system to L-Acoustics components. Rat Sound Systems, Inc. of Camarillo served as the designer, supplier and installer of the venue's new house system.

Dave Rat, president of Rat Sound, and general manager Paul Freudenberg began discussing the upgrade - the first for over two decades at the club - with The Troubadour three years ago. "With the venue's mix position located up in the balcony, the balcony being off centre, and the room being both extremely wide and fairly shallow, this project was an exciting challenge," describes Rat. "We were very happy with what we were able to achieve with asymmetrical hangs of L-Acoustics ARCS II and ARCS Focus enclosures. Additionally, we got to do some fun custom work, including creating cages to protect the subs on custom rolling plates."

According to Freudenberg, "Dave and I examined numerous designs and orientations of different types of loudspeakers, then evaluated the designs using L-Acoustics' Soundvision. We ended up with a solution of six ARCS IIs flown in horizontal mode to cover the main floor and four ARCS Focus cabinets oriented in a vertical configuration, slightly offset to stage left from the positions of the main speakers to accommodate the offset balcony. The ARCS family's directivity fits the low-ceilinged environment very well, and the 30-degree vertical coverage nicely addresses the balcony while also providing front of house with direct sound."

"Now that we're a little more on-axis, you get more sound in your face at front of house, which is nice," comments Oscar J. Narro, who has been with The Troubadour for four years, the last two as production manager. The upgrade has made a noticeable improvement to the quality and coverage in the venue, he says. "All of the guest engineers have been very happy that the sound is so consistent around the room now. But I think the biggest compliment was when our bartenders, people that don't have specially trained ears, noticed the improvement in the sound."

A flown L-Acoustics 115XT HiQ coaxial speaker provides centre-fill, while a 12XTi coaxial covers a small balcony section at stage left. Four SB28 dual-18-inch subwoofers groundstacked two per side down below deliver low-end reinforcement.

"It's all L-Acoustics-powered," says Freudenberg. "There are two LA8 and two LA4X processing amplifiers, and they're operating LA Network Manager as a control software/dashboard when they're mixing a show."

During nearly 60 years of operation The Troubadour has hosted some of the world's biggest comedy and music artists, from Lenny Bruce and the Smothers Brothers to Steve Martin and Richard Pryor, and from Bob Dylan and The Byrds to Miles Davis and Radiohead.

(Jim Evans)

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