The historic Baldwin Auditorium on the campus of Duke University in Durham, N.C. has recently reopened following a complete interior renovation. To satisfy the varied demands of the 685-seat hall, the university has installed a self-powered Meyer Sound MINA™ line array loudspeaker system. The hall’s acoustics and reinforcement system were both designed by Norwalk, Conn.-based consulting firm Jaffe Holden.
“We’d designed the physical acoustics to be quite live, so we needed line arrays to focus sound on the audience and not excite the architecture,” explains Ben Bausher, senior consultant at Jaffe Holden. “We also wanted a minimal profile for aesthetic reasons. Finally, a self-powered solution was mandatory, as there was simply no place to put amp racks, much less a cooled equipment room. MINA was a perfect fit on all counts.”
The system comprises main left and right arrays of 10 MINA loudspeakers each, supplemented by 10 UP-4XP 48 V loudspeakers for front fill, two MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers for side-balcony coverage, and two UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers for over-balcony coverage. Four 500-HP subwoofers are recessed under the stage for vibration isolation, and a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with both a Galileo 616 and a Galileo 616 AES processor provides system drive and optimization. The system was installed by Greensboro, N.C.-based Audio & Light.
“The system coverage is exceptionally uniform,” says Richard Kless, assistant manager of theatre operations for Duke University. “What we had before was really a glorified rehearsal space, and now it’s a splendid-sounding and aesthetically gorgeous concert hall. It was an amazing transformation.”
Brian Cox, vice president of sales at Audio & Light’s installation division, adds: “As self-powered technology eliminates the need for an amplifier room, the MINA system was more cost-effective as well.”
The new system works jointly with the room’s optimized acoustics to provide impeccable sound for classical, jazz, world music, and more. These concerts are presented by the school’s own music department and Duke Performances, which sponsors touring professional artists.
The Baldwin Auditorium renovation project was designed and supervised by New York-based Pfeiffer Partners Architects in consultation with Ray Walker, Duke campus architect. Principal acousticians for Jaffe Holden were Mark Holden and Matthew Nichols.