Goss Opera House Chooses RCF Audio to Complete Landmark Renovation

Edison, New Jersey — The Goss Opera House is one of three early 19th century opera houses located in Watertown, South Dakota. Built in 1889 by druggist Charles Goss, it replaced the original frame building destroyed by fire the year before. With its over 100-year history the location has had its share of companies and businesses occupy the building: including Watertown Land & Load Co, Egge Electric, the Style Shop store and boutique, and Murphy Finance. The Goss also has a resident ghost named Maud Alexander, a local waitress who during the great depression died tragically from 3rd degree burns while renting a room there.

With tremendous support from the community, local landmarks society Friends of the Goss raised nearly $5 million as part of the campaign allowing all renovations to be completed. Local patrons and town residents envisioned the venue as the perfect backdrop to host live entertainment, theater productions, and musical acts that would appeal to all ages. In July 2020, the lights of the Goss shined bright as music returned to the stage. A grand re-opening was held on September 25, 2020 and the Goss Opera House once again became the region’s community treasure.

The Goss has a 500-seat capacity (seated, standing room, and balcony) with 12 total box seats that include a private hospitality suite. The venue also features a restaurant and bar called Mavericks Steak & Cocktails on the first floor, while the opera hall events operate on the second and third levels.

“When it came time to choose an audio system, we had Jeff Engen from Audio Connections to consult a few options with us,” said Chris Paulson, Entertainment Director at The Goss Opera House. “Jeff brought in an RCF HDL line array system alongside a comparable JBL system, which we benchmarked side by side. It didn’t take long to hear RCF had a much cleaner sound,” said Paulson. “There was more clarity on the mids and high-end as compared to the JBL system---we were quickly impressed.”

“We have received great feedback from regional, as well as touring, sound engineers on the quality of the RCF system, as it complements the natural acoustics of a room. Having been built in 1889, the HDL system works well in unison with the room. While more expensive, we have been very happy with our choice,” concluded Paulson.

The RCF HDL line array system features twelve HDL 30-A (2x6) paired with 2 dual 18 RCF SUB 9006-AS subwoofers underneath the stage. Three HDL 6-A were used as front fills and two more C 3108-126 are positioned as side fills below the balcony. The system is run with a Midas M32 console and a combination of Sennheiser, Shure and Audix microphones and Radial DIs. Additional sound treatments were designed and installed, as well as system tuning.

Jeff Engen from Audio Connections, specializing in live sound for performance venues, found the Goss to be a challenging space, one in which the HDL system met all expectations. “We knew immediately some of the challenges the space presented. The space itself has great natural acoustics for orchestras and opera, but for live music and playback, under the original tin roof, we knew we needed a good quality line array system to focus sound where we needed it to be,” explained Engen. “We knew that the Goss was planning on bringing more than plays and operas, and that they needed a system that was going to handle all of it. The HDL system rocks.”

Since the venue’s re-opening, the Goss Opera House has been able to attract regional, national, and international talent to the stage. Some highlights include booking Killer Queen (international touring Queen tribute band), alt-rockers Soul Asylum, as well as The Silhouettes from America’s Got Talent. Other recent notable events included a Ukrainian benefit with international composer Calvin Jones and Menopause The Musical (longest running musical in Las Vegas history) in 2021. The Goss also hosted HBO to film an episode for their documentary series “We’re Here”. Other acts we’ve had include Smile Empty Soul, Tantric, Blacktop Mojo and The Lonely Ones.

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