Yamaha Goes Back To School

The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) of the Houston Independent School District recently completed the installation of a Yamaha AFC3 (Active Field Control) System for the 400-seat Denny Theater.
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Houston, TX (December 11, 2012)—The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) of the Houston Independent School District recently completed the installation of a Yamaha AFC3 (Active Field Control) System for the 400-seat Denny Theater.

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The system, provided by Sound Productions of Irving, TX and installed by Covenant Communications of Houston, is the first AFC3 installation, using the new AFC-FIR card released at InfoComm 2012, in the world. The HSPVA AFC3 installation includes 20 speakers with four mics all out in the main auditorium.

The project’s architect, Abe Sustatia of Sustatia Architects, contacted Covenant. “We were asked to design and install a new sound system for the Denney Theater and the black box theater,” states Shawn Mullins at Covenant. “While working with both Abe and the school to determine the best route for the sound system, they asked about options to help the acoustic environment in theater. They have multiple choral and musical groups, and since the theater was so acoustically dead, the school had to move musical performances to other venues that became costly and troublesome.”

“This is my fourth year as the Technical Director at HSPVA,” states Marc Duncan. “To say that we have had sound reinforcement issues would be an understatement of exponential proportions. After three years attempting to repair/replace or reinvent our acoustic orchestra shell and its implementation, we thought we had finally found what we believed was the best ‘sound’ we would ever achieve… until now.”

“We designed two systems, the reinforcement system, that is centered around a Yamaha LS9-32 digital console and digital snake and then the enhancement system,” Mullins continues. “We contacted Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems and began the process of getting design assistance. As the project matured, we contacted Jeff Humphries of Sound Productions to make arrangements for the equipment. Sound Productions has been a great partner for us for over the past 12 years. The original design incorporated the previous generation of AFC equipment, so we were really excited when we were informed that we would be getting the new Yamaha AFC3 for this project.”

Active Field Control is a reverberation enhancement system that adjusts the acoustic characteristics of a facility by using loops of microphones and speakers located in the reverberant field of the room to “recycle” the reverberant energy, thus extending the RT time. Yamaha AFC is used to create varying RT settings to suit different performance applications within the same facility. According to Yamaha, the system can be used to add spaciousness to under balcony or stage areas so all audience members and performers can enjoy the same sense of connection to the music and a greater shared experience. AFC systems can also be used to add early reflections or as crowd enhancements systems.

Duncan said the first event held for the Music Department using the new AFC System was a fundraiser where they had a 40-person choir, Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Young Performers Pop Concert, and a full Orchestra, all performing in the same space throughout the night. This event takes place throughout the whole building in all of the school’s performing spaces and averages 2,000 guests a year. “Everyone raved about how great the sound was and how shocked they were that this was the same building they had been coming to for years, but had never heard ‘this’ before. Looking back, I wonder how we ever did the event at all without the Yamaha AFC system.”

Yamaha
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