Opened in September 2014, Western Connecticut State University’s (WCSU) new Visual and Performing Arts Center houses a multitude of spaces including a concert hall, studio theatre, recording studio, rehearsal rooms and an art gallery.
“It’s definitely an adventurous architectural space,” notes Ben Bausher, senior consultant at Norwalk, CT-based Jaffe Holden, and designer of the center’s audio and video systems. The project presented a number of challenges, not the least of which was the unconventional architectural design of the venues themselves.
The 350-seat Veronica Hagman Concert Hall is a case in point. It has unconventional architecture with tri-level, in-the-round seating, variable acoustics, and an audio system with Fulcrum Acoustic TQ Series loudspeakers. “It’s a fairly well-behaved space, acoustically speaking,” says Bausher. “But the unique seating pattern called for a considerable number of distributed fill speakers to provide uniform coverage across the entire space.”
Specifically, six Fulcrum CX1565 12-inch coaxial loudspeakers comprise the main arrays, with 10 RX599 compact 5.25-inch cabinets providing front fill. A second fill ring of 14 RX599 boxes and a third fill ring of eight more RX599s completes coverage, with four SUB215 subwoofers stacked onstage in cardioid pattern to reduce low frequency buildup. A DiGiCo SD9 console is provided for front of house mixing.
In addition, the 350-seat MainStage Theatre, a somewhat more conventional proscenium-style venue, is outfitted with left and right arrays, each with two Fulcrum GX1295 and two GX1265 12-inch coaxial systems, along with a center array of two CX1265 cabinets. A pair of SUB215 subs covers low end punch. Front fill and under balcony fill are both handled by RX599 boxes A DiGiCo SD10-24 is supplied for the live mix.
The installation was performed by New Jersey-based Masque Sound. All rooms are connected via MADI over Opticore to the recording studio, which is outfitted with an SSL Duality console. A pair of portable recording racks with remote-control microphone preamps can be positioned in any of the halls or rehearsal rooms as needed, connecting directly with the studio’s Pro Tools system to capture performances in any room in the house.
Bausher points to Fulcrum’s unique coaxial design as a critical factor in the systems’ design. “To achieve the performance of Fulcrum’s 12-inch, two-way cabinets in a non-coaxial design would require a box around 30 inches tall,” he explains. “Plus, it runs on a single amplifier channel and only needs a single processing output. It’s smaller, needs less power and processing, and that ultimately means a lower budget. It was the perfect fit.”