Academy of Music Theatre

Designed and Installed by Jason Raboin

The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts has a long and storied history as the nation’s first municipally owned theater. Opened in 1891, the Academy quickly became a favorite stop on tours of leading troupes and big-name performers, ranging from Mae West to Harry Houdini. With the advent of film in the 1930s, the Academy screened silent films, soon followed by talkies, in addition to hosting live entertainment.

The Academy has evolved over time to support a wide variety of programming, including rock concerts, theatrical productions, films, literary arts, dance, and youth programs. As the Academy evolved, the need for an updated sound system to support their diverse programming became increasingly apparent.


  • The speakers needed to provide consistent coverage throughout the entire theater without interfering with sightlines to the stage opening or distracting from the architectural beauty of the 125-year old opera house
  • Limited rigging options within this historic performing arts center demanded compact, lightweight loudspeakers as part of a visually unobtrusive sound system


The system Raboin designed centered around four Fulcrum Acoustic CX1595 15 inch Coaxial Loudspeakers powered by Ashly nXp amplifiers. The CX1595 speakers provide the requisite output capability and optimal 90° x 45° dispersion pattern, while their lightweight, compact, visually unobtrusive design ensures minimal effect on sight lines and the Academy’s aesthetics. Two compact, portable Fulcrum Acoustic TS215 Dual 15 inch Direct-Radiating Subwoofers provide concert-level low frequency for the historic theater while also minimizing visual intrusion.

As a touring sound engineer for artists including Joan Baez, Modest Mouse and Lake Street Dive, Raboin has worked on a variety of audio systems in the field. Raboin claims, “I have not heard anything that sounds better than Fulcrum Acoustic speakers. When you combine their fidelity with their lightweight and compact size, they really were the only choice for this installation. It was hard to believe that such a compact system would be able to cover the venue at the desired SPL, but the system exceeded our expectations
and the theater’s design goals.

Pull-quote graphic showing the Fulcrum Acoustic logo and quotation symbol

When you combine their fidelity with their lightweight and compact size, they really were the only choice for this installation.

Project Details

LocationNorthampton, Massachusetts
MarketPerforming Arts
Type800-seat municipally owned music theater
Fulcrum Products(4) CX15 – Compact 15” Coaxial Loudspeaker
(2) FA12 12″ Coaxial Loudspeaker
(2) TS215 Dual 15″ Direct-Radiating Subwoofer
Supporting ProductsAshly NXP Series Multi-Mode Power Amplifiers
Yamaha QL1 Mixing Console

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