In late 1933, more than 2,000 attended the Suffolk Theater’s grand opening, with the local media declaring it “The Radio City Music Hall of Long Island.” Located in Riverhead, NY, the last remaining movie house built by architect R. Thomas Short (and the last remaining large art deco theater on Long Island), the Suffolk Theater entertained generations of moviegoers until closing its doors in 1987.
The building sat empty until 2005, when Dianne and Bob Castaldi purchased it with a vision of creating a modern performing arts center. Recently re-opened after a lengthy renovation project, the venue retains much of its interior décor in serving as a multipurpose performance venue with flexible seating, digital projection, and a sound reinforcement system headed Renkus-Heinz PNX and TRX Series loudspeakers.
The theater’s original raked seating was removed and replaced with a multi-tiered design that allows for varied configurations of tables and chairs, accommodating everything from concerts and performances to dinner theater or movie screenings. The venue’s audio, video, and lighting systems were designed with that versatility in mind, explains systems designer Stuart J. Allyn of Irvington, NY-based A.D.R. Studios.
“The goal was to provide smooth, even coverage throughout the entire audience area, with proper time domains that would have the sound emanating from the stage, regardless of the seating configuration,” Allyn states.
He chose a pair of PNX121 two-way 12-inch loudspeakers for the main system, with two CFX218 subwoofers for low frequency reinforcement. Ten TRX62 boxes comprise the secondary surround system, as well as providing coverage to the upper and under balcony areas. The boxes were custom painted to blend seamlessly with the venue’s walls. The system was installed by Young Equipment Sales of Hauppauge, under the supervision of Charles Stursberg, director of Audiovisual Theatrical Lighting and Theatrical Rigging Sales.
Allyn points to pattern control as a major factor in selecting Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers. “The TRX62 is my favorite over- and under-balcony system,” he says. “Their dispersion is exceptionally wide, particularly for a box with such a small footprint. The documentation on their coverage patterns is exceptionally true and reliable. Their trapezoidal arrays really do array beautifully.
“Renkus-Heinz voices their boxes with a real belief in the human voice,” he continues. “When I hear vocals coming out of these boxes, they sound like they should even before I touch an EQ. That’s very important to me. Intelligibility, warmth, depth, character—that’s what the human voice is all about, and it translates to the instruments in the orchestra. If you get human voices to just sound right, you have done your work. And the Renkus-Heinz boxes do that beautifully.”