Worcester, Mass | November, 2014 - Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute was one of the first engineering and technology universities in the United States. Today, the private research university ranks with schools like Princeton, Stanford and MIT as one of the nation's most prestigious schools.
The university's Alden Hall regularly hosts a wide range of performances and programs, from lectures to concerts and theatrical productions. As Richard O'Connell of Boston-based AV Design Build explains, the 10,000 square foot multi-purpose venue employs different seating arrangements, depending on the event. "It's a rectangular room with a stage in front and balcony in the rear. For concerts and theatrical events, seats are set up facing the stage. For lectures and smaller presentations, seats are set up facing the long wall stage right, and they set up a podium."
The hall's growing popularity and increasingly busy schedule had made the limitations of its aging sound system abundantly clear. To cope with intelligibility and coverage issues, university officials frequently brought in portable systems to supplement or replace the main system. Even with the portable systems in place, coverage was still poor, particularly in the balcony.
With this in mind, AV Design Build recommended an innovative solution based on dual independent Renkus-Heinz ICONYX systems to provide optimal coverage and intelligibility, regardless of the scheduled event. A pair of ICONYX IC32 digitally steerable line arrays is installed left and right of the stage for larger events, seamlessly covering the floor and balcony areas. "With the IC32s, we were able to create a beam and point it right at the balcony, without hitting the back wall," O'Connell observes. "We used seven beams on the IC32s, and that was all that was needed to address the room's intelligibility and coverage issues."
For the hall's lecture and spoken word programs, a pair of ICONYX IC8-R-II columns are mounted on the wall stage right, to each side of the podium. "The IC8s are perfect for lectures and presentations," says O'Connell. "They provided the intelligibility and coverage we needed for a smaller, more intimate setting."
University officials are pleased with the versatility of the dual systems. "The ICONYX systems allowed us to address the university's multiple uses for the hall," O'Connell concludes. "The music faculty is particularly happy because they often present concerts with stringed instruments, from small large ensembles. Now you can hear the instruments clearly, from every seat in the house."