The Brooklyn Historical Society is dedicated to illuminating how the past has affected the present and how it will contribute to the course New Yorkers will chart in the future.
To that end, it is part library, part museum, and part venue for lectures, meetings, and other events. Designed by architect George B. Post and completed in 1881, the Brooklyn Historical Society’s four-story building is in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is an example of living history in its own right.
The society renovated the building a decade ago, and it continues to make improvements to ensure and enlarge its mission. Recently, it expanded the building’s event space to two hundred seats and overhauled its A/V system and that of an adjoining classroom and gallery space.
A pair of eight-channel Ashly ne8250 amplifiers forms the electrified heart of the new system and – by dint of power, fidelity, and reliability – prepare the Brooklyn Historical Society for a bright future at the center of the borough’s cultural scene.
“The Brooklyn Historical Society wanted a high-performing A/V system with a lot of flexibility and simple, foolproof operation,” said Peter Starr, owner and chief designer at the Starr Entertainment Group, the firm contracted to design and install the new system. “That’s the trend these days. Not only will the society use the space for its own artists, lecturers, and musicians, but it plans to rent the space for any conceivable event type. It’s therefore competing with hotels and other venues with event spaces.”
To succeed, the Brooklyn Historical Society must present its event space as a jack-of-all-trades – and a master at each.
“Because the building itself is so historic and architecturally stunning, we had to be very careful in our design so as not to damage or spoil the gorgeous columns, wood, and soffits,” said Starr. “That constrained us to placing the loudspeakers twenty-two feet in the air.
“Nevertheless, the society wanted the ability to provide small concert-volume sound reinforcement when needed. Their list of request was extensive, and we had to be ready for everything from a simple background music system for a gallery opening to a full-on rock show.
“In previous installations, the Ashly ne8250 amplifier has proven itself to be tremendously reliable and powerful. At 250Watts per channel, they have a lot of ‘oomph’ and stand up to scrutiny in demanding listening situations.”
The Starr Entertainment Group worked very closely with architect Thomas Ryan of Christoff:Finio Architecture and the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Associate Director, Janice Monger.
Inputs to the system include a Blu-Ray player, a DVD player, iPod docks, and XM Satellite Radio together with a bevy of sound reinforcement and wireless microphones. A sixteen-channel Soundcraft FX16 mixer on a rolling rack helps with live music events and the performing arts.
A Peavey Media Matrix NION N3 system handles all of the processing and routing. At the heart of the video system is a Crestron Digital Media DM-MD8x8 video matrix processor, two video projectors, and various flat screens. Crestron DM input panels provide auto switching between HDMI and VGA/PC.
Video signal transport is accomplished digitally via CAT6 cable. A Listen Technologies assisted listening system exceeds ADA requirements. The stage floor monitor system featuring four JBL wedge floor monitors, dbx EQs and a QSC RMX2400 amplifier provides crisp, clear sound to stage performers.
A second roll around rack with automated and manual mixers, and other facilities for tabletop conference style usage, allows setup of conference and lecture mics anywhere. The two eight-channel Ashly ne8250 amplifiers power fourteen JBL AC 1895 two-way loudspeakers and a pair of EAW UB82s. Four QSC RMX 2400 amplifiers power the four EAW SB180 subwoofers.