PayPal’s New York City office has undergone a number of recent modifications including the creation of a new auditorium, dubbed "Central Park," which features dual video monitors and a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC Live Gen5 digitally steerable line arrays.
"PayPal took out a section of flooring between the first and second floor and made kind of an all-hands meeting space," explained Mark Voutas of Conference Technologies, which designed and installed the AV system. "It's an open space; you walk right in off the main floor. The space is set up like an auditorium or movie theatre, with tiered seating, and seats about 100 people. You also can sit or stand up along the top rail and look down at the presentation. We installed a pair of NEC video monitors to make a sort of mini videowall, and the main sound system is a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RN digitally steered arrays, with one speaker inset on the outer side of each monitor."
The space is most often used for videoconferencing, as well as for teleconferencing and presentations, so the main sound system primarily reinforces spoken word. For example, CEO Dan Schulman can address the entire team from PayPal's San Jose headquarters. "When they don't have meetings going on in there, they have a dedicated PC and a cable box that can play on the system, as well as a little bit of low background audio," said Voutas.
In choosing a loudspeaker system, the Conference Technologies team considered the many reflective surfaces, including the wooden seating structure and surrounding glass along the second-floor railing. Some steel beams were removed to create the space but a large, weight-bearing column unavoidably remains in a central spot. Although the staff's cubicles are not close to "Central Park," most of the second floor holds conference rooms and small meeting rooms, so the team had to account for that as well.
"One of the most important reasons for choosing Renkus-Heinz IC Live was to be able to steer the sound to the proper areas and not have it bouncing all over the place, including the second-floor conference rooms," noted Voutas. "The goal was to focus the speakers so they fill the seating area and keep the sound confined to the seating area."
Voutas continued: "One challenge was getting video monitors that were the right size to fit the design, and could be placed at the right height. Having done that, the ICL-F-RNs were a good choice because they are compact and slender, and that, along with their steerable beams, let us place them adjacent to the monitors while directing the sound where we wanted it."
The second-floor areas just outside of and surrounding the auditorium are served by three audio zones equipped with pendant speakers. "The pendant speakers help infill a bit of audio, and the staff can turn them off independently," stated Voutas. "So if they're just doing a small meeting and want to have cable TV on in the auditorium, they can just use the Renkus-Heinz system, and the upper speakers won't disrupt people working on the second floor. They also can play some light music up there if they have an event going on and don't want to have everything blasting through the front arrays." Crestron wall panels provide basic system control.