Lovett School, Atlanta

New audio system delivers intelligible audio. 2/16/2010 10:20 AM Eastern

Lovett School, Atlanta

Feb 16, 2010 3:20 PM

New audio system delivers intelligible audio.

Atlanta’s Newcomb & Boyd chose Danley SH-50 and SH-95 loudspeakers, backed by a single Danley TH 50 subwoofer, to handle the acoustically challenging multipurpose room at Lovett Middle School.

Established in 1926 in midtown Atlanta by forward-thinking educator Eva Edwards Lovett, the Lovett School continues a tradition of excellence with more than 99 percent of its students going on to attend four-year colleges. The private school has roughly 1,400 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at any one time. A recent 75th anniversary campaign raised more $55 million in funds to expand facilities, most notably for the addition of a new middle school. The centerpiece of the middle school project is a 500-seat multipurpose room, serving as an assembly space for the entire middle school body and as an indoor recreation facility. The new multipurpose room needed an audio system that would deliver crisp, intelligible audio for both music and spoken word in an acoustical environment more like a gym than a theater.

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Lovett hired local engineering powerhouse Newcomb & Boyd to design an audiovisual system that would integrate nicely into the flexible space. Josef H. Henschen, Lovett alumnus and audiovisual engineer in the special technologies group at Newcomb & Boyd, led the effort. “The multipurpose room is a pretty decent compromise between a gym and a performance space,” Henschen says. “But still, we were presented with an acoustical challenge. It has a hardwood floor. One sidewall is plain concrete block. Another is ceramic brick. The third is treated with acoustical block, while the fourth is mostly obscured by retractable bleachers. The ceiling is covered with perforated paneling. Even with the treatment, the space still sounds much more like a gym than it does a theater.”

The heart and soul of the new system are the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers that bring so much clarity to the gym-like acoustics—acoustics that are normally considered something of a lost cause for decent sound reinforcement. Two flown Danley SH-50s provide the bulk of the main coverage. A pair of Danley SH-95s hang below the SH-50s for front-fill and down-fill. A single Danley TH 50 subwoofer resides directly behind the cluster with its grille facing downward to provide a deep low-end atypical of such systems.

Feeding the Danleys are 10 wired mic inputs and two wireless mics, all of which are mixed and processed by a pair of ClearOne Converge SR 1212 automated digital mixers before being sent to a modest bank of Crown CTS amplifiers. The video side of the system includes three laptop inputs, a multimedia lectern with a document camera, and a Blu-ray player to accommodate all of the scenarios that the school anticipated. A Digital Projection 10,000 lumens projector hits a 240in. screen for prerecorded material.

“I had read a lot about Danley’s history in the trade magazines and knew they had a reputation for designing uniquely functional loudspeakers,” Henschen says. “In addition to the desire to support a local Georgia business, I was curious to hear these Danley boxes in action for myself! So we went with the Danleys.” It turned out to be a fortuitous decision because Danley’s patented Synergy Horn technology results in particularly well-defined beam widths—just the sort of thing necessary to keep energy on the good students of Lovett and off of the overly reflective walls.

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