Recovery Unplugged

by R. Maxwell
in Installations
Despite the venue’s size, the stage is large and wide.
Despite the venue’s size, the stage is large and wide.

Austin Performance Space Uses Music Therapy for Detox

The Recovery Unplugged Treatment Center uses the power of music to help its patients heal from drug and alcohol addiction. Offering medically supervised detox, residential inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and sober living, Recovery Unplugged offers a music-based treatment approach that provides patients with access to a well-rounded recovery experience.

The facility recently upgraded its performing arts space to facilitate better overall sound quality, which in turn motivates patients to make that extra effort to do well and improve their situation. After careful consideration, the treatment center elected to install StudioLive, AIR, and ULT series loudspeakers from the PreSonus Commercial Audio Division.

Director of operations Jeremy Boyer

Jeremy Boyer, director of operations at Recovery Unplugged, coordinated with Sean Robertson, an account manager for Guitar Center Professional, to select and ultimately install the treatment center’s new sound reinforcement system. Boyer oversees the Austin, TX area of the Recovery Unplugged facilities — ensuring that clinical, medical, and operations staff are supported and performing adequately.

“All of us at Recovery Unplugged are committed to providing the highest level of care to individuals struggling with substance abuse problems who are aiming to transform their lives,” he says. “Music assumes a vital role in the recovery process and this upgraded performing arts space will go a long way to further our programs.”

The treatment center’s performing arts space is known as Recovery Unplugged Encore because this is where staffers conduct their after-care program that clients attend once they are discharged from residential treatment. “The space is roughly 42.5 feet from front to back, although the back is open to a hall that runs left to right and feeds into the rest of the facility,” says Robertson. “Most of the room is about 29 feet wide, though it begins tapering inward toward the front of the stage. The side walls are 13 feet high and the ceiling gently vaults upward symmetrically by about 10 feet to the middle. The stage faces into the length of the room, which accommodates 100-150 people.

“For acoustical treatment,” Robertson adds, “we used 10 Auralex four-by-four-foot, two-inch-thick Pro Panels on the walls as a starting point. Once our client has had a chance to hear the room in action once it’s been fully furnished, there may be need for diffusion or further absorption, but this was a good starting point.”

“We are looking to do a lot with this space,” Boyer says. “First off, this building operates as an intensive outpatient building where clients go for clinical programming. We plan on having sober Jams and open mic sessions, as well as clinical groups where staff, clients, and others may perform. I’m looking forward to using this space to conduct sober community events such as small concerts, live music yoga classes, sober dance/EDM parties, as well as hosting presenters teaching mindfulness, meditation, and other topics that are relevant or supportive of recovery.”

‡‡         The Speaker Setup

The setup of the sound system is quite comprehensive. Two PreSonus StudioLive 315AI 3-way point source loudspeakers are deployed on the front left and right edges of the stage area. These loudspeakers incorporate a 15-inch low-frequency driver and an 8-inch coaxial transducer for mid- and high-frequency reproduction.

Each loudspeaker is powered by 2,000-watt RMS of tri-amplified, Class-D power. Low frequency support is provided by two StudioLive 18sAI sub bass enclosures that are recessed into the steps leading to the stage on the left and right sides. Each subwoofer incorporates an 18-inch ferrite transducer with a 4-inch voice coil, 32-bit floating point DSP with alignment delay, and 1,000 watts of Class-D amplification.

Used together, the PreSonus StudioLive 315AI and 18sAI subwoofer make a formidable sound system setup. The 315AI is time- and phase-aligned to form a true 4-way system when paired with the StudioLive 18sAI subwoofer. Further, it’s fully controllable with PreSonus’ SL Room Control software for iPad, Mac and Windows.

Rounding out the loudspeaker setup are two PreSonus AIR10 2-way active loudspeakers for front fill and four PreSonus ULT10 loudspeakers for stage monitors. The AIR10 loudspeakers each incorporate a 1-inch, HF compression driver mated with a 10-inch woofer using a 2-inch voice coil. Each loudspeaker is driven by a 1,200-watt (peak) power amp. The AIR10s can be set on the subs, stairs, or stage front—wherever they are required for a particular event. Each ULT10 stage monitor employs a 10-inch custom woofer with a 2.5-inch voice coil, mated with a 1.75-inch compression driver. Amplification for the ULT10 stage monitors is handled by a 1,300-watt, Class-D power amp. These, too, can be freely moved about as required.

Robertson credits the PreSonus StudioLive 315AI for providing “an incredible amount of detail and sounds more ‘Hi-Fi’ than conventional PA loudspeakers.” Knowing the stage would often be used by motivational speakers, he felt this characteristic made them a good match for this project, he adds. “I went into this looking for a loudspeaker that would provide clarity to the critical band; and I find 3-way designs usually accomplish this more easily than 2-way systems. I also feel it’s important to note that the SL Room Control app provides access to any loudspeaker on the network. It is very capable and handles all the parameters necessary to fine-tune the system. Between the DSP capabilities of these loudspeakers and that of the mixing console, we had everything necessary.”

‡‡         Console and Mics

Situated at the rear left side of the room is the Allen & Heath Qu-32 38-In/28-out digital console. Featuring multitrack recording direct to USB, automatic mic mixing, mic presets, plus an ever-growing ecosystem of apps, accessories and remote I/O control, this desk is more than capable of handling a wide range of applications — making it well-suited to the variety of functions that take place at Recovery Unplugged Encore.

The assortment of microphones selected for Recovery Unplugged Encore are equally notable. These include Sennheiser e935 and e835 dynamic cardioid microphones for vocal use. Shure SM57, Sennheiser e609, and Audio-Technica ATM 230 microphones were selected for instrument miking. And for drums, an Audix DPQUAD 4-piece drum mic package is available.

‡‡         The Verdict So Far

The new sound reinforcement setup at the Recovery Unplugged Treatment Center was completed in June 2017. While everyone is still getting acclimated to the new equipment, both Boyer and Robertson are delighted with the system and what it means for the patients at the facility.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our new setup,” says Boyer. “Sean has done an amazing job making equipment recommendations for us. His choice to go with PreSonus made me very confident heading into the project, as I have used numerous products from the company and have always had a great experience. Thus far, we’ve been giving a ‘sneak peek’ to employees and friends in the industry. The reaction is always one of excitement about the clarity and range of the system at high volume.”

Robertson echoes Boyer’s enthusiasm. “This was a fun project to work on with Recovery Unplugged,” he says. “It offered interesting challenges we don’t normally face in commercial A/V. I enjoy that, as it provides space for creativity from my team and I to arrive at the best possible solution. I also enjoy projects in which I have the privilege of working closely with the client. Jeremy has been responsive, receptive, and a genuine pleasure to work with. There’s a lot of gratification that comes from partnering with a company that’s hugely impacting people’s lives for the better and I’ve been blessed to be part of this.”

For more information on Recovery Unplugged Texas, go to