Issue 26

Meyer Sound PANTHER: The Choctaw Grand Theater

Meyer delivers tour-grade casino experiences for artists and fans.


4 April 2024

The Choctaw Casino & ResortDurant, is located in Oklahoma 80 miles north of Dallas, TX, and is a dazzling entertainment destination. Operated by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the 1,700-room complex features an expansive gaming floor and a broad range of amenities including a spa, pools, six movie theaters, and more than 20 restaurants.

Choctaw’s 3,000-seat Grand Theater, a two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music (ACM) award for Casino of the Year – Theater, is dedicated to bringing fans the best live entertainment experiences in Oklahoma and North Texas. To that end, the venue, a longtime Meyer Sound house, recently upgraded to a state-of-the-art PANTHER large-format linear line array loudspeaker system.

Increasingly, casinos aim to offer both artists and audiences concert experiences rivaling the most sophisticated tour venues. Case in point, Choctaw Casino & Resort and Live Nation recently inked a partnership deal to bring the biggest names in entertainment to the Grand Theater. “We work with some of the biggest names in entertainment and giving them the best sound experience is something they’ve come to expect,” says Frank Deal, assistant casino manager at Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant. “By upgrading to the PANTHER system, our sound system rivals that of larger venues, and with the new system, we can elevate the concert experience even more.”

The Grand Theater housed a Meyer Sound LEO linear line array loudspeaker system for nearly a decade. “It still sounded great; nothing was wrong with it,” Deal explains. “To give our guests and artists the best concert experience in southeast Oklahoma and North Texas and to stay in the forefront of the industry, we knew it was time to update and upgrade.”

To elevate audio capabilities to the current state of the art, the venue again turned to Meyer Sound. “We have a great deal of confidence in Meyer and its products, and the whole design philosophy and production manufacturing philosophy,” says Robin Magruder, co-owner of Dallas-based integrator Crossroads Audio, which specified and installed the system. “And, the fact that Meyer Sound loudspeakers are designed and built here in the U.S. is an advantage to a lot of end users,” adds Crossroads Audio co-owner Ed Spoto, “especially in this market, since a lot of the casinos we work with are Native American.”

At the same time, PANTHER was gaining momentum both in installs and the touring world, giving the team plenty of opportunities to experience the system in the field. “We pretty much had confidence in PANTHER on spec — basically, sight unseen, sound unheard,” says Magruder, who has been a Meyer Sound dealer for more than two decades. But obviously, you need to hear it.”

The Choctaw Grand Theater and the Crossroads Audio teams heard PANTHER in action in iconic venues like San Francisco’s The Fillmore and supporting Metallica on tour. “To me, it sounded natural,” says Deal. “As a music venue, we’re always looking for a more transparent sound than a ‘sound.’ That’s what PANTHER showed us: that bands would sound like they intend their music to sound like.”

The system at the Choctaw Grand comprises ten narrow-coverage and four wide-coverage PANTHER loudspeakers per side and twelve 2100-LFC low-frequency control elements in a central gradient array, supplemented by ten LEOPARD M80 out fills per side and eight LEOPARD front fills as well as two ULTRA-X42 loudspeakers for extra out fills; stage monitors comprise products from the MJF range. The system is managed by Galileo GALAXY 816 and 408 processors.

“We were very pleased with the way that the system sounded right out of the box,” says Spoto, adding that when they aligned the system with Meyer Sound’s product management team, they were able to dial in extremely consistent coverage — within one-and-a-half dB — throughout the entire venue. “I was very pleased that we were able to get all the seats sounding identical; it was a much better end result than we could have ever hoped for on paper.”

“Installing a gradient subwoofer array was a game changer when it came to consistent bass coverage,” adds Deal. “With the new gradient array, the low end is even all the way across the room.”

Magruder adds that the system’s SPL ratings lived up to published specs. “At the client’s request, during listening and testing, they wanted it flat-out. And we were hitting 123 dB. It was pretty extreme, but that was still with significant headroom left, which was very impressive.”

When listening to reference tracks on the system, Deal says he was impressed by PANTHER’s ability to reveal an extraordinary level of detail. “I’ve listened to these tracks all my life. And I actually heard instruments in one song the other day that I had never heard until I heard it through PANTHER. It’s almost magical. I don’t know how they do it.”

The Grand Theater’s PANTHER system is a core asset in Choctaw’s strategy to draw A-list acts with tour-grade entertainment technology and support. The first artists to use the new system include Eric Church, Jake Owen, Dwight Yoakam, and Nickelback.

“Casinos have become a major segment of the tour market,” says Spoto. “They’ve had to go from ‘good enough’ systems to tour grade. And this is a tour-grade system like you would find in any arena in the country.”

Because many tours today don’t carry full-scale loudspeaker systems, casinos that offer rider-friendly technology like PANTHER have a clear advantage. “When we have what they want, it’s cost-effective for the bands to come here, and it’s cost-effective for us to have a band here,” says Deal. “A big plus for having a Meyer Sound system is the people who come in know it’s going to be right.”

Meyer Sound



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