The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) is one of nine colleges of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Over 18,000 undergraduate students from around the world, including more than 1,200 who are hard of hearing, come to the RIT campus every year.
The Panara Theatre is a state-of-the-art performing arts space used by students at NTID as part of the school’s arts program. Recently, Applied Audio & Theatre Supply of Rochester upgraded the sound system, installing a GEO S12 line array.
The 466-seat, proscenium-style theatre, used for all aspects of the school’s performing arts programs, music performances and events, has upgraded its sound system to feature a GEO S12 line array with Yamaha QL5 digital control.
The NEXO line array configuration uses 4x GEO S1210/1230 L/R arrays, 4x PS10-UR2 speakers used for front fills, 2x LS18 subs center hung, driven by NXAMP4x4 and NXAMP4x1.
“The school already owned subs with significant horsepower to accommodate the needs of the students,” states Louis Calarese, President of Applied Audio & Theatre Supply. “Our goal was to provide very even coverage from front to back in a venue where the seating is heavily raked and the front row is only inches away from the lip of the thrust.”
Calarese said the system needed to have an extraordinary amount of pattern control to allow for the desired extended bass response for the hard-of-hearing community yet keep a very even coverage throughout the raked seating of the venue. “During dance productions and other types of performances and events, the hard-of-hearing performers and patrons need to feel the vibration of program material, while maintaining the overall quality of sound reinforcement for the hearing patrons.
“Because of the unusual and challenging rake of the seating, the NEXO system presented the most even coverage of all manufacturers we proposed,” notes Calarese. Front fills and placement of the arrays also presented a challenge due to the proximity to the first row of seats, proportion of the proscenium to the front wall, and location of the box seating. “We were able to achieve our +/- 1.5dB goal with the assistance of NEXO applications’ support and the use of the NS-1 modeling software. The ability of all products to be shipped in a timely fashion was also a big plus in our recommendation.”
Calarese added that the school wanted to upgrade to a digital console and that the Yamaha QL5 price point was quite attractive. “Preset recall, powerful on-board processing, and most importantly, the ability to drop the console in where the analog desk was without the need for any changes to cabling, were quite instrumental in the decision.”
The Panara Theatre is used for NTID productions and a wide variety of events to support RIT activities that can be interpreted for hard-of-hearing patrons, based on the program. The space can also be rented out to the community. There is an on-staff audio engineer, but oftentimes, student volunteers run the system.
“It may seem strange to focus on quality of sound in a theatre space used often by the hard of hearing,” states Aaron Kelstone, Performing Arts Program Director. “However, with the expansion of technology related to hearing aids and cochlear implants, the importance of sound quality is of high importance to the users of this technology. Also, the hard-of-hearing audience members rely more on the quality of bass levels to provide tactile, sensory feedback in order to equally enjoy the sound elements utilized in the Panara Theatre.”
For more information on Applied Audio & Theatre Supply, visit www.theatresupply.com.