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PA thoughts for theatre


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Hi All

I realise this is a very broad question, and everyone will have wildly differing opinions. Also I don’t have / can’t offer up specific venue data as its a new venue and this is early discussions. 


Medium sized theatre space 800 to 1000 capacity. Stalls, a few boxes and a circle. 
Standard end on proscenium affair.

PA to be used for rock and roll touring shows, musicals, Panto, spoken word.

Banded about a few options by different people. 

A d&b system has been discussed. Point source, mainly V series with other E5 and such like for fills. 

Also a similar designed system from EM acoustic has been proposed.

I’ve not come across much EM stuff before and only heard d&b line array of various systems before.

I’d imagine d&b is more likely to be used without question by touring companies purely on the name. Not sure if with an EM people would choose not to use, etc.

Just thought I’d see if people on here had options if they’ve heard or compared EM.


D&B is pushing the budget a little, and may mean we have to sacrifice some monitors / maybe less subs for the money, and add at a later date / hire in sometimes for a little more punch.

System would be designed and installed by good companies and modelled properly for the room / incorporated into the build at planning stage.

Thoughts from people would be interesting to hear. I’m aware it’s a bit vague, so apologise for that.


Thanks in advance.


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d&b is rider friendly. EM acoustics make good boxes that are comparable to d&b in quality (I'd personally put d&b above, but they're certainly in the same league as them). We've got Bugsy in at the moment, which is on EM Acoustics new R10 boxes (with R8s for stage foldback). It sounds great, very similar to our d&b rig.

For your size venue you might find d&b Y series is more than enough, it depends how rock and roll your rock and roll touring bands are. For most seated audience 'revue' type shows a good Y series system would be fine, for standing audience touring bands you probably want V. We have 4 Y series boxes a side (2 Y7, 2 Y10, plus 2 subs a side) and can achieve a clean volume far in excess of anything I'd want to mix to in our 860 seat space - though I wouldn't say no to a pair of B22s...

If you're doing standing in the stalls for rock and roll another approach might to add an additional ground stack for those gigs, giving extra bass and the extra volume in that area.

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Theatre Royal Wakefield has an EM rig that I mixed on a month or so back. Very enjoyable affair. Couldn't fall out with it at all. 

There are other names out there that are worth listening too though. KV2 and RCF would be my first suggestions. My own rig is RCF TT and it gets plenty of compliments. Equally KV2 get an awful lot of theatre work on the quiet. They'd gladly come and demo some kit I'm sure. Their listening room at Plasa is well worth a visit if you're going.

A sales rep recently told me that they were currently cheaper on l'acoustics than they were D&B, so they may well be worth checking out too. I'd always assumed they'd be out of my budget so it was a nice surprise. 

I don't think you'd be disappointed with any of the brand's named above, assuming they're specified and set up well. Going with a supplier who represents multiple brands and has expertise to come and look at your venue and make recommendations would be my main suggestion. I can personally vouch for SSE Audio Group as being very good at this, but there are if course lots of others. 

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A couple of other possibilities would be:

- Martin Audio CDD

- Nexo P+

As others have pointed out what you can hire locally if you need to add additional boxes for specific events may influence the decision of brand.

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