The system design came at the direction of Norwalk, Connecticut-based JaffeHolden's David W. Robb, who heads up the company's Audio and Video Systems Group. Dave LaDue took the hands-on role with the sound design as well as supervising system installation by Valley Communications Systems of Chicopee, Massachusetts.
The 100-plus-year-old venue, renovated and restored to its original grandeur following decades of use as a retail establishment, offers 810 seats on three seating levels, none of them more than 60 feet or so from the stage proscenium. The theatre hosts touring companies offering mostly plays and music, as well as movies and lectures, and they're all served by a well-executed sound system design featuring premium components such as the Spectra-T48P that anchors the mix position at the rear of the Colonial Theatre.
The JaffeHolden team was already familiar with APB DynaSonics Spectra Series consoles, invited to provide the company with invaluable input during the crucial product definition and design stages. Further, Robb and his group were very involved in the development and tuning of the Spectra EQ, and it was their suggestion to give the HF and LF bell an asymmetric shape.
"The experience of the console design team combined with significant industry research among audio professionals has resulted in Spectra Series definitively fulfilling a market need for a high-quality VCA-based console at a very reasonable price point," states LaDue. "Obviously, we like the EQ section and configuration, but there are many other noteworthy aspects of this console design such as extremely logical insert point location, location of the low-pass filter within the signal chain, and so on."
According to LaDue, the APB-DynaSonics approach hits just the right mark in terms of balancing all critical facets of consoles, including feature set, sound quality, layout and cost. "Spectra includes a lot of features of 'higher end' consoles along with plenty of flexibility, but without a lot of the often unnecessary bells and whistles that can push cost out of sight," he notes. "The result is an intuitive tool for mixing that provides plenty of flexibility to meet the needs of numerous applications, and this all translates into being a great deal for clients."
Contributing to the sonic quality of Spectra Series consoles are a low phase-shift circuit design, Jensen transformers, THAT Corporation VCAs and Burr-Brown microphone preamplifiers, which LaDue singles out for particular praise. "Mic preamps are a key to every console. If they don't sound right, inevitably the overall results are going to be disappointing," LaDue says. "The Spectra preamps deliver what you would expect in a true professional-level console - a very clean and transparent signature."
In fact, the successful collaboration with APB-DynaSonics in providing input on the console design combined with a highly satisfactory final product has led JaffeHolden to specify Spectra Series consoles for the many of their sound system design projects. "We were in search of a console of this caliber, defined by overall quality and a great feature set at a price point that is advantageous to the budgets of our clients," concludes LaDue. "APB did a lot of research to get this product just right, and it shows."