Hollywood Palladium Upgrades Its Audio System With HARMAN JBL VERTEC® Line Arrays
Running V5 DSP Presets

NORTHRIDGE, California – The Hollywood Palladium is one of the country’s most famous theaters. Located in the heart of Sunset Boulevard, the 4,000-capacity Art Deco landmark has hosted top artists since the 1940s and has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. Recently, Flag Systems of Santa Ana, California upgraded the sound system at the storied venue with HARMAN JBL VERTEC VT4888 line array loudspeakers, loaded with the new VERTEC V5 DSP presets.

“The Hollywood Palladium already had a good sound system installed as part of its 2007 renovation, but because of the unusual layout of the room, the owners still weren’t 100 percent satisfied,” said Eric Williams of Santa Ana, California-based sound contractor Flag Systems.

The existing audio system included four hangs of six VT4889 fullsize line array elements each, two at each side of the stage and augmented by 16 JBL VT4880A fullsize arrayable subwoofers. Twelve Crown MA-5000i and six MA- 12000i amplifiers power the VT4889’s, with loudspeaker management handled by dbx DriveRack 4800 processors.

“The room is rectangular with the stage at the front and has a semicircular balcony going around both sides of the venue. Due to suspension point constraints, the main LR arrays are quite far apart, which creates a ‘V’-shaped gap in the middle of the room that previously-installed distributed front fills couldn’t adequately reach,” Williams noted. “The owners also wanted to make sure that the sound did not get too loud at the bar areas, which limited the speakers’ placement options at the time of the original install. We went in and got everything sounding as good as possible but still couldn’t get rid of that sonic hole in the middle.”

To solve this, Flag Systems elected to fly an additional center cluster of five JBL VT4888 midsize line array elements to fill the sonic gap. The VT4888 cluster covers about 40 degrees into the point of the ‘V’ where the main clusters were not hitting, while the VT4888’s smaller size also enabled Flag Systems to avoid placing them in the way of any sightlines. The VT4888 cluster is driven by eight Crown IT 12000HD amps, which are also used for the subwoofers.

Highlighting the upgrade at the Hollywood Palladium is the use of JBL’s new VERTEC V5 preset DSP tunings. The V5 DSP presets leverage the OMNIDRIVEHD™ linear phase FIR processing capability found in Crown I-Tech HD Series power amplifiers and JBL DrivePack® DPDA input modules. The V5 DSP presets offer significant improvements in horizontal coverage thanks to the use of higher order, asymmetric filters, and improved sound quality via phase linearization.

“We were amazed at the level of performance we achieved from the added center cluster and the overall improvement in the sound in the complete system,” Williams said. “In particular, the amount of comb filtering and subsequent frequency response irregularities we were getting from the previous left/right setup was dramatically reduced.”

“Keep in mind that this is a room that was originally designed for acts like Lawrence Welk and now we’re pumping 120dB into it, which means that in addition to needing precise control of your sound, the gear has to be reliable and handle that kind of volume,” Williams said. “With HARMAN’s HiQnet System Architect™, everything is not only set up optimally but also tightly monitored and controlled. In sound check and show mode, you know instantly when something happens in the system and can make changes immediately. Everything just works together. In fact, the only time I go into the amp room is just to turn the amps on and off.”

“Since the upgrade, people have been telling us that we have one of the better-sounding VERTEC rigs around,” Williams concluded.

For more information on Flag Systems, please call (714) 547-9041.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.