PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY: The Hun School of Princeton is a private school for students in sixth grade through high school. Located near Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the school serves five-hundred students from over a dozen states and nearly two-dozen countries. A third of the students board there. School assemblies, dramatic and musical performances, and other events take place in the Hun School’s 350-seat proscenium theater, but a low ceiling and overly-diffuse loudspeakers had given the it poor sound reinforcement for many years. Recently, the school hired local A/V design and integration firm Reid Sound, Inc. to identify the weak links in its sound reinforcement chain and to make strategic improvements on a budget. Reid Sound installed Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and a subwoofer. Their combination of high fidelity and excellent pattern control elevated the theater’s sound quality from poor to excellent.
“The theater is used for a variety of events, including musicals, dramas, presentations, dance performances, and more,” said Darren R. Sussman, owner of Reid Sound, Inc. Sussman designed the new system together with Timothy Pearce, Reid Sound’s director of installation services. Sussman continued, “Vocal reinforcement was a major concern, but the system had to deliver excellent music reproduction as well. The space is very wide, but it’s not very deep. Moreover, the ceiling height is only around eighteen feet. Because the loudspeakers would be hanging very near the front of the stage, precise pattern control was critical.”
The previous system consisted of a pair of popular commercial powered loudspeakers mounted to the walls next to the proscenium. Although a number of deficiencies existed within the entire system, the project’s budget only allowed for a partial replacement, and Sussman and Pearce identified the loudspeakers as the most significant weakness. “The old loudspeakers weren’t very directional,” Sussman explained. “They spilled a lot of energy onto the walls and ceiling, which contributed to poor intelligibility, and there were seats that were inadequately covered by direct sound.” In short, the coverage was indistinct and uneven.
The team selected a pair of Danley Sound Labs SH-50 loudspeakers for the center cluster. “The arrayed pair gives excellent 100-degree horizontal coverage to the entire seating area, and the tight 50-degree vertical coverage keeps energy off the ceiling and on the seats,” said Sussman. The center cluster is primarily responsible for vocal reinforcement. They also installed a pair of Danley Sound Labs SH-95s, one on either side of the proscenium, for reproduction of program material or reinforcement of musical instruments. Again, the SH-95s deliver pattern control that excites the listeners, but not the space itself.
Although Reid Sound had done a handful of smaller systems involving Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, this was the company’s first experience with a Danley subwoofer. “Normally, I would have installed a pair of subwoofers, but when I read the Danley TH-118’s specifications, I realized that a pair would be tremendous overkill,” said Sussman. “Those specifications proved to be accurate. A single TH-118 provides an incredible amount of low-frequency extension in the space. It’s not even turned up halfway, and it can shake the room.” In addition to the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers, Sussman and Pearce installed a new Biamp Nexia processor and new QSC CX-Series amplifiers.
“We completed the job in February and we’ve heard nothing but great comments from the school,” said Sussman. “They just completed a production of Hairspray using the new reinforcement system. Spoken word was perfectly intelligible and music was full-frequency and engaging. The new Danley system is a great improvement for the Hun School of Princeton.”
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