Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural history has enhanced its 700-seat James Simpson Theatre with L-Acoustics ARCS WIFO and XT Series surround sound systems.
The 100-year-old theatre is popular among US Fortune 500 companies and other organisations as a prime venue for corporate events. Management wanted to improve the amenities of the space to offer wide variety of potential uses – from shareholder meetings and product launches to concerts and immersive 3D experiences. A new audio solution was the obvious choice after the venue installed a new 3D/HD digital cinema projector from Illinois-based cinema specialist D3D.
For audio design and installation support, AV firm Frost Chicago turned to Milwaukee-based Clearwing Productions, which specified a system built around L-Acoustics’ ARCS WIFO and XT Series product ranges.
According to Clearwing Systems project manager Megan Henninger, three pairs of ARCS WIDE loudspeaker enclosures were installed at the front of the room for LCR audio reinforcement: two cabinets horizontally flown above both the far left and right sides of the stage with a third pair positioned behind the newly-installed retractable, perforated screen. Four tiny 5XT coaxial systems spread out and hidden behind a dark grille on the face of the stage provide supplementary front-fill coverage to the first several rows of seating while two SB18i subs centrally stacked upstage deliver the low end.
For surround, the theater now benefits from a total of ten coaxial 8XTi enclosures all standard-finished in white to blend in their environment. Eight of these are ceiling-mounted between the columns on either side of the room, while two more are positioned at the back of the space for rear left and right channel audio. The entire system is driven by a total of six LA4 amplified controllers.
“Preserving architectural integrity was one of the biggest concerns on this project,” commented Henninger. “With the historic Field Museum being nearly a century old, most of the surfaces in the Simpson Theater are plaster, but the client didn’t want to disturb the look of the room by altering structures or adding acoustical treatment.