Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona

There are many common challenges to consider when installing a new line array system. But Celebrity Theatre adds an uncommon challenge to the mix: a stage that rotates during performances.

Built in 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona, the historic venue has seen two major trends over its 54 years of operation: continuous innovation and improvement of the theatre itself — both inside and out. And a seemingly unending rotation of legendary artists taking its now-iconic revolving stage, including George Carlin, Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac.

Providing a special experience for its guests has been the theatre’s mission from the beginning. With only 2,650 seats — and none more than 70 feet from the stage — every performance gives the audience a rare opportunity to experience entertainment in a unique and intimate way.

So when it came time for Celebrity Theatre’s latest improvement — a sound system upgrade — they needed to ensure a perfect fit. They needed a sound system that could meet the uncommon acoustic challenges of the space, satisfy the exacting expectations of famous artists (and their sound engineers), and blend seamlessly to help deliver the world-class experience audiences have come to expect at Celebrity Theatre.

Noticing that Bose ShowMatch DeltaQ line array systems had been deployed and proven reliable by various touring music festivals throughout the country, Celebrity Theatre decided to place their trust in a Bose ShowMatch system of their own, which was installed in July 2018.

The system’s inaugural performance happened just days later in early August — when Tony Bennett came to town.

Tom Young, Bennett’s sound engineer for more than 24 years, was impressed: “The system was perfectly designed for that room. I’ve done all the theaters in the round, and sound spill from behind the cabinets was minimal, which is usually problematic. I especially noted when mixing, the response of the system in the low end — when my bass player was using his bow — was impressive and tonally responsive.”

Unlike most venues, which have a flat wall at the rear of the room, Celebrity Theatre has a curved wall encircling its stage. It also has a dome-shaped ceiling. Both of these unique attributes pose unusual challenges for live sound.

As with any other room, delivering consistent SPL from front to back was important, but in this case, control over the coverage pattern was absolutely essential — to avoid the negative consequences of directing sound toward the ceiling dome. Celebrity Theatre chose the ShowMatch system for its DeltaQ capability, which allows directivity, or “Q,” in each array module to be adapted to match the listening area, directing more sound to the audience and less to the walls and floors.

The theatre’s new sound system is comprised of eight ShowMatch main arrays, configured with three boxes for the main arrays and eight three box arrays for the delay ring — for a total of 48 ShowMatch module speakers.

These arrays are buttressed by 24 Bose RoomMatch SMS118 VLF subs in two stacks of three, each in cardioid arrays on all four sides of the stage. Six Bose RoomMatch Utility RMU208 speakers serve the balcony VIP seating area. And the entire system is managed by a ControlSpace ESP1280C series engineered sound processor and powered by 32 Bose PowerMatch 8500N amplifiers. These connect via Bose AmpLink cards, each handling up to eight channels of uncompressed digital audio that’s daisy-chained between all the devices.

Celebrity Theatre’s motto is “A place can have a soul.” And they’re proving it. With more than five decades behind them, and now with upgraded sound at the heart of every performance, they’re poised to deliver exceptional experiences to audiences for years to come.