The Alex and Faye Spanos Theaterone of the many sites that make up the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo, is located on the campus of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), located on California’s beautiful Central Coast. Spanos Theaterbuilt in 1960, is a 498-seat proscenium house that joins the 1,289-seat Harold Miossi Hall, the 400-seat multipurpose pavilion and 180-seat Phillips Hall classroom that was part of the Performing Arts Center campus when it opened in September 1996.

the Spanos Theater is characterized by its single tier of slightly inclined seats and its two aisles, with a line of sight which runs almost parallel to the stage floor, adding a unique sense of connection between the stage and the seat. Like many sites around the world, the Spanos was forced to go dark during the pandemic. However, that downtime was put to good use as San Luis Obispo-based Bill Gaines Audio (BGAs) designed and installed a new speaker system based on L-Acoustics Kiva II for the theater. The infrastructure and cabling for the new system were integrated by Spanos Theater Manager and Technical Director David Bealswho initiated and piloted the University project, with Bobby Generousand Conor Cow.

“It’s been closed for a while now, so it was great to get back there and mix a show on the new system,” said Bill Gaines, President and CEO of BGAs and who also handles front-of-house mixing duties for the more complex room productions. He mixed Spanish guitarist Diego”Twanguero“Garcia on January 29, as well as the recent Hill Benders”QuiGrass” show – some of the first productions in the hall for over a year.

Diego “Twanguero” Garcia performing at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theater on the new L-Acoustics Kiva II system installed by Bill Gaines Audio

The new L-Acoustics system, designed to meet all types of performance Spanos Theater hosts, meets productions with the utmost clarity and performance. The newly installed setup features 16 L-Acoustics Kiva II loudspeakers arranged eight per side in a two-suspension stereo configuration on either side of the proscenium. A center array comprising a pair of A15i Focus loudspeakers sits on a cart and is deployed to provide the center channel for film screenings. The system is supported below by six compact SB15m subwoofersarranged three to the left and three to the right, along with a pair of SB18 submarines stacked on the ground under center stage in the orchestra pit. Additionally, four 5XT two-way passive coaxial speakers are used as front-fills along the edge of the stage. Five networked LA4X amplified controllers drive and process the entire loudspeaker system.

The Performing Arts Center is no stranger to the L-Acoustics brand. Just a few years ago, BGAs provided the resort with a stage monitoring package for Harold Miossi Hall – formerly known as Sidney Harman Hall – consisting of 18 coaxial X12 corners.

The venue’s new L-Acoustics system primarily features eight flying Kiva IIs and three stage-stacked SB15m subs per side, complemented by a pair of SB18 subs hidden below the stage and four 5XT front-fills spread across the ledge from the scene.

For the Spanos loudspeaker installation, Gaines worked closely with L-Acoustics Senior Application Engineer, Install Andrew pitcherusing L-Acoustics Sound Vision software for system design and P1 processor with M1 measurement tools for final system tuning. “The Kiva IIs are the perfect speakers for this room,” he says. “Compact and lightweight, they can be hung as part of the overhead stage grid and easy to disassemble and reposition as needed for different types of shows. They fully cover the seats while keeping energy out of the walls, and you can get great stereo imaging when seated side to side, front to back, and left to right.

the Spanos Theater is a venue of the Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts, and Gaines says the Kiva II is also an excellent sound system for students to learn about theatrical sound, in keeping with the school’s long-standing core philosophy of “Learning in doing”. “They learn from the beginning what a cinema sound system is Assumed what the sound is like and why it is important to design the system so that there is no noise on walls and other hard surfaces, and how the right speakers allow this, ”he explains -he. “It’s another way for L-Acoustics to make a difference.”

For more information about Cal Poly’s Spanos Theater, please visit Find Bill Gaines Audio online at

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