Concert and drama audiences will very soon thrill to the clear sound traveling through the 10 speakers of the new 6,000 watt sound system in the Payson High School auditorium.
"The auditorium is the only venue in town, so as we grow and get more sophisticated shows in here (the old sound system) is inadequate for the artist's requirements," said Marilyn Wolfe, Tonto Community Concert Association president.
"Our board recognized the need and has been talking about a new sound system for quite some time," Wolfe said.
The new sound system benefits the whole Rim Country community -- school assemblies, dramatic plays and musicals, town forums, Choral Society concerts and TCCA concerts.
"It has been a blessing to have Mike's personal equipment to supplement what the auditorium didn't have," Wolfe said.
After talking to Mike Buskirk about what was needed, the TCCA board approved and paid for $6,505 of the new sound equipment.
John and Sue Wilson donated $500.
Six large bi-amp speakers will be the most visible components of the system that includes:
- A 32-channel mix console that adds treble, midrange and bass and will allow sound technicians to add sound effects like echo or delay
- Three amplifiers
"Last time we ran that much power (6,000 amps) in here we used my own stuff, about six years ago, and we did thunder and lightning and there was dust coming out of the ceiling tiles," Buskirk said.
That doesn't necessarily mean every time the equipment is used, the program will be that loud, but it will be like Disneyland or Imax if sound that big is wanted, according to Buskirk.
The main system is four times the size of the old one and it can grow.
"We are hoping that Payson Choral Society will fund for some extra microphones and we are still looking for some individuals who would like to fund some microphones and additional components," Buskirk said.
Microphones range from $100 to $350.
Extra speakers for actor dressing rooms, and speakers and LCD monitors for the auditorium lobby can also be added in the future.
"If we are running wire for sound to the lobby we might as well run it for sound and do it like the real theaters do," Buskirk said.
Those speakers cost about $75.
Donations are tax-deductible and can be made out to TCCA.
"Please designate that it is for the school sound system," Wolfe said.
"We labored long with a sound system that was never built for use with performing arts," said retired PHS drama teacher John Siler.
The original public address type sound system was installed in 1988 when the auditorium was built.
It is maybe 1,200 watts when it is working properly, said Tom Walling, who is most often the technical director for productions in the auditorium.
"I look forward to having enough monitors and having enough amps to run the microphones for shows," Walling said.
There will now be four monitors (tiny speakers that sit on the stage and face the performers) that allow the actors to hear the music or themselves speak while the audience hears what they are supposed to hear.
"With the equipment Mike is installing, the audience will be able to hear," Siler said with a big grin.
TCCA's significant contribution to the sound system does not mean that there will be one less concert next season.
They are in the process of choosing next season's artists which may include ‘Revolution' a Beatles tribute group.
As of now TCCA has sold out of season tickets for the 2006-2007 concert series.