Fans of stand-up comedy are assured of a fun time at Laugh Boston, a 300-seat, state-of-the-art comedy theater located in the Westin Waterfront Hotel, across from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Featuring a weekly show called Boston Accents, as well as national acts, the venue also features a full bar and light fare. Patrons hear every joke clearly throughout the room, thanks to a new sound system featuring a Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX and Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers.
“Laugh Boston not only offers comedy but also accommodates DJs and other multipurpose events,” offers Parsons Audio Managing Vice President Roger Talkov, whose team designed and installed the sound system. “So they needed to be able to reinforce music as well as speech. They don’t need subwoofers for the comedians but they need them for DJs and bands, so we had to be able to reconfigure the sound of the room depending on what they’re doing. The room is very wide, 180° from center stage, with some large structural columns that we had to account for.”
Parsons Audio provided sound for the entire facility, including ceiling speakers in the green room, the bar, and the lounge. The club’s Symetrix Radius 12X8 EX DSP unit is equipped with an extra output card so it can handle the whole system. “Zone control and speaker processing were crucial considerations, and the Radius was the right choice for that,” notes Talkov. The Radius 12X8 EX installed at Laugh Boston is controlled with Symetrix’ ARC-WEB, which enables sophisticated control with smartphones, tablets, and computer browsers. “It creates a sort of intranet for control,” Talkov explains.
Another reason Parsons Audio prefers Symetrix DSPs is Symetrix’ Composer DSP programming software for Windows. With Composer, integrators can program a complete end-to-end DSP signal path using just one application. All classes of audio processing modules for signal shaping are provided.”The control options in Composer make it super appealing for us,” Talkov enthuses. “Composer makes the job much easier, even including modules for the filters in Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers. I love the loudspeaker-management modules in Composer; they give you everything you need to EQ and tune the system to the room, and you can quickly program even a complex system. It’s easy-to-use, super-powerful processing. Symetrix did a terrific job with Composer.”
The club’s old column-type speaker system had been mounted almost behind the stage and created power and feedback issues. “They wanted to replace it with a fully professional PA,” Talkov recalls. “Fulcrum Acoustic and Symetrix are go-to products for us because we do a lot of high-end sound installations, and they deliver great quality, with accurate, transparent sound.” All speakers in the show room are driven by Powersoft M50Q power amps, another Parsons Audio favorite.
For the front mains in the show room, the Parsons Audio team flew a Left-Center-Right point-source system over the front of the stage, providing high-quality sound without the issues the club had experienced with their old system. “The center speaker is a Fulcrum Acoustic DX1226, which is a dual-12-inch, coaxial loudspeaker with a 120° x 60° dispersion pattern,” explains Talkov. “That covers the center section of the room. The left and right speakers are Fulcrum Acoustic GX1265s. They have a very narrow pattern, 60° x 45°, so they were good choices to cover the wide left and right, filling in where the support columns obstructed the center speaker, while keeping sound off the walls.” The systems integrator also installed acoustic treatment panels, which helped reduce reflections back to the stage.
The big columns created some shadowing in the extreme rear of the room, as well, so a pair of delayed Fulcrum Acoustic RX599 loudspeakers were mounted along the sides to cover the back row of tables. The RX599 is a 5.25-inch coaxial speaker with a 90°x90° pattern, and two of them provided all the coverage needed.
For sub-lows, Talkov’s team chose the Fulcrum Acoustic TS215ac self-powered, dual 15-inch, direct-radiating subwoofer. “The TS215ac is portable, which made it a great choice for Laugh Boston,” notes Talkov. “They wheel the subwoofer out for DJs and bands and put it away for stand-up acts, which don’t need it.”
Completing the loudspeaker complement are Fulcrum FX896 8-inch coaxial stage monitors. “The FX896 is an excellent choice for a comedy club that has relatively light stage-monitoring needs,” Talkov observes. “They were perfect for Laugh Boston.”
And that’s no joke.