Pittsburgh, PA (September 19, 2006)–The Carnegie Museum of Art offers a wide variety of art from around the world and across the ages, and since first impressions matter, it also sports an impressive grand foyer, complete with marble pillars and floors, plus an ornate metal balcony and a parabolic ceiling. As might be expected, sound reinforcement in the foyer isn’t easy; just ask Albany, NY-based IPLogic, Inc., which was brought in to take a look around.
The Carnegie Museum of Art’s Grand Foyer–DAS Factor 9T loudspeakers are mounted at balcony level on both sides of the roomAccording to Peter Grosskopf, sales support engineer for IPLogic, “We were confronted with a 5.6 second delay time, compounded by an antiquated sound system utilizing a single feed with wide dispersion speakers firing at 360 degrees into the foyer. From one step to the next, you were either in or out of phase with the audio. Adding to the challenge was the fact that no new holes could be drilled, no wires could be shown, and only existing channel paths could be utilized for the upgraded system.” After considerable research, the decision was made to implement a 70-volt distributed audio system consisting of Factor 5 and Factor 9T surface mount loudspeakers from DAS.
To help stem the lengthy reverb time in the space, the IPLogic design team recommended drapes or limited amounts of carpet be installed. Museum officials declined for aesthetic reasons, as the areas gets booked roughly 300 dates a year largely because of its look. So, early this summer, IPLogic spent a month installing 18 DAS Audio Factor 9T loudspeakers, with nine units on each side of the lower grand foyer at a height of 15 feet and spaced 15 feet apart. Each group of three loudspeakers was configured as an individual zone so that control over the delay, phasing, and EQ could be precisely defined. A full 24 Factor 5 loudspeakers were positioned along the ceiling area and aimed down at the balcony. These are used solely for low level background music.
Power for the system is provided by three Inter-M QD-4690 amplifiers outfitted with QT-4690 70-volt output transformers. A Rane MLM 103 mic/line mixer handles input chores for microphones and a Denon DNT625 combo CD/tape deck, while a Rane RPM 26z programmable multiprocessor and an MRS 4 memory recall switch calls pre-programmed setups for the area. Interfacing directly with the multiprocessor, the MRS 4’s settings are pre-configured to the four primary areas where events occur. Hit the appropriate zone button and the system automatically delays the appropriate speakers so one’s attention is directed to that area of the room.
“We knew at the onset of this project there were problems with the room, and we were perfectly honest about that with the museum’s management,” said Grosskopf. “We made it very clear some sacrifices would be made in the name of aesthetics. There is still a huge delay, but by removing the various phasing and delay issues created by the original system and carefully tuning the new system to the room’s characteristics, we were able to make a dramatic improvement to speech intelligibility. The DAS Audio loudspeakers and the Rane processing do a remarkable job with an extremely challenging environment. Best of, we have another happy client.”