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CASE STUDY: College of the Holy Cross, Worcester

When designing a sound system for the multipurpose ballroom of the Henry M. Hogan Campus Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, the scope of uses was as big a consideration as the challenging layout.

“The ballroom serves a variety of functions, hosting conferences, dinners, lectures, meetings, and dances,” says Holy Cross A-V Services Director Jesse Anderson. “We even have a tremendous disco ball in the ceiling.

“Architecturally, it’s a tough space because it has a hardwood floor and one wall has enormous floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Anderson. “The room is not huge but speech intelligibility was a major issue. We also wanted something that could reinforce music for events that are not specifically concerts.”

Visibility—or rather, invisibility—was another major consideration. “Renkus- Heinz was able to give us the exact color we needed so that the Iconyx loudspeakers disappear into the background of the ballroom,” Anderson says. “They are heard but not seen. That was a key deciding factor for us.”

Initially, Anderson’s team installed a pair of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC8-R-IIs in the ballroom. The smallest of the Iconyx line, the IC8-R-II features eight four-inch coaxial transducers, each with three high-frequency tweeters. However, as much as they liked the IC8-R-II, the Holy Cross team decided to upgrade to a beefier model. “In the process of redoing the room, we decided we wanted more SPL for fuller coverage,” explains Anderson. “We reviewed a number of loudspeaker options and chose Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC16-R-IIs.”

The IC16-R-II features 16 of the same coaxial transducers found in the IC8-R-II. Its frequency response is the same as the smaller model but it delivers up to 99 dB SPL, with better overall coverage. “In addition to the increased power and coverage, the IC16-R-IIs gave us improved low-frequency control for music,” Anderson adds.

Anderson notes that typically, the stage is the focus of the ballroom unless the room is completely unfocused, as with a trade show or a dinner event. Therefore, he says, “the speakers are located to either side of the stage proscenium and are used directionally from there. We also have adjoining spaces with their own sound systems.”

To provide user-friendly, hands-off operation, all mics and other audio inputs go through a Biamp Tesira-series DSP, where they are auto-mixed.

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