RCF HDL breathes new life into Garfield Picture Theatre

Fringing Melbourne’s outer South-East, Garfield Picture Theatre is a venue exuding character and country charm. Enduring as a fixture of Garfield for just shy of a century, the theatre is well known for a variety of local live productions and events. Completing a recent PA upgrade with the help of Melbourne-based AV equipment supplier JD’s Sound & Lighting, Garfield Picture Theatre now sports a versatile new line array system from Italian loudspeaker Maestros RCF.

Originally built in 1924 to screen films and host dances for the local community, the theatre was not only the first cinema in the region, but also the town’s first source of electricity. After a period of closure and a second life as a trading centre for antique wares, the venue has been lovingly returned to its roots: celebrating music and stage. Acquired by current owners Fred and Susan Perez, Garfield Picture Theatre has been restored to its former glory through a staggering 17-year renovation period. 

After several years of the theatre’s new lease on life, including live music performances, weddings, corporate events and dances, it became evident that the venue required extended PA capabilities. Specialists in professional audio and lighting solutions, JD’s Sound and Lighting were enlisted to design a system capable of supporting the theatre’s full spectrum of audio requirements. Approached by Garfield Picture Theatre’s Audio Engineer, Jesse Kelly, the brief included the need for both gain and clarity, as Jesse explains:

“Our sights were set on improving our Front of House system, which had poor fidelity and really lacked head room. The goal was to fly a compact left and right line array configuration that wouldn't let us down on show nights.” Mike Nikitiuk, JD’s Sales and Project Manager, suggested the HDL 20-A system based on the premium construction and sonic qualities of the HDL Series: “We always want to supply the most beneficial products for our clients. With RCF being Italian-made boxes, the build quality and performance is really there. We knew Garfield Picture Theatre needed high-powered speakers for the space, so the HDL 20-A’s provided a fantastic price-to-performance ratio and an unmatched reliability. It’s a tried-and-true unit, so the choice was easy. When the clients came into the showroom for a listen, they were blown away by the demo speakers and even ended up purchasing a greater quantity than we had anticipated.”

Outfitted with a L+R hang of 3 x HDL 20-A + 1 x HDL18-AS active subwoofer per side, Garfield Picture Theatre’s rig is lightweight and can be easily reconfigured for future expansion, as Jesse notes: “Knowing our venue now has a system that can deliver exceptional audio quality at considerable volume has been a game-changer for us. Our new setup has plenty of head room, meaning we no longer have to compromise between sound quality and volume. Before purchasing the RCF system we tried a few other brands, but they didn't have the clarity or build quality that these units have shown us. The change has been very positive and in the near future we would like to add an extra two HDL20-A boxes, taking the system to four per side plus sub.” 

Co-owner Fred Perez reveals that the elevated fidelity, along with the improvement to workflow for his Audio Engineer, has taken his theatre to new heights: "We looked at a lot of systems. Since purchasing and installing the RCF HDL 20-A’s into my venue, I have seen how much of a difference it has made to our production quality. My audio technician enjoys working with the units and I am very happy with our purchase.”