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Modular Renkus-Heinz system ensures clarity at new concert hall

A Renkus-Heinz VARIAi sound system has been chosen for the auditorium of the newly constructed performing arts centre at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, US.

The current 54-acre campus dates back to 1970, but with 2,650 students, the school had outgrown its old auditorium, which also suffered from poor acoustics and poor sightlines.

The auditorium within the centre is part of a major expansion project, which began in July 2013. The 1,325-seat, 35,000ft auditorium includes a proper stage, orchestra pit, and other facilities, including a new Renkus-Heinz VARIAi sound system. “It’s a fine proscenium theatre with two balcony levels, not what we typically see at a high school,” stated Curtis Kasefang of Raleigh, North Carolina, system designer and integrator Theatre Consultants Collaborative (TCC). Acoustical elements include a reverse fan-shaped room that helps envelop the audience in the sound, an orchestra shell, a forestage reflector, sound doors, roof detailing that reduces rain impact noise, and adjustable acoustic curtains.

Working with acoustician David Greenberg of Creative Acoustics (Westport, Connecticut) and project engineer Rich Gold of New Haven-based HB Communications, Kasefang put together a design based on Renkus-Heinz VARIAi loudspeakers. “We chose VARIAi because a primary consideration was a high-quality, tight line array that would keep the sound off the walls and on the audience,” explained Kasefang.

VARIAi cabinets have been designed to fly either as modules in a vertical array or as part of a tight-packed horizontal array. The system designer or sound engineer can build horizontal coverage in 22.5° or even narrower slices, as required, with seamless integration between cabinets for a modular point source solution. With a range of vertical and horizontal dispersion angles and Renkus-Heinz’s Transitional WaveGuides, VARIAi’s configurable enclosures and concealed hardware make it easy to custom design a system.

The biggest challenge turned out to be the relatively low balcony overhang. “Although the balcony is centred in the room, getting line-of-sight from the line arrays to the balcony required pushing the sound down a bit on the sides and in the centre, while still keeping the centre speakers high enough,” noted Kasefang. “So we covered the top balcony with Varia cabinet used as a delayed fill.”

The system also includes a Biamp Tesira SERVER DSP and a Yamaha CL3 mixer. “We tried to give the school the best bang for the buck while still delivering high quality, and we like Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers for that,” said Kasefang.

Picture: David Greenberg, Creative Acoustics

Renkus-Heinz loudspeaker systems