In a city with no shortage of museums (New York City), the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is truly one of a kind. Founded in 1982 as a final home for the historic aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the museum’s treasures now include the world’s fastest commercial jetliner, the British Airways Concorde; the first space shuttle, Enterprise; and the USS Growler, the only American diesel-powered strategic missile submarine open to the public.
More than a million visitors every year tour the museum, which is also home to 27 other authentically restored military aircraft and an 18,000-square-foot education center, all overlooking the famed Manhattan waterfront.
Needless to say each of these grand machines on display has a rich story to tell. But the logistics of telling those stories within the museum’s daunting acoustics is no easy feat—especially in the Space Shuttle Pavilion. Fortunately, Leo Garrison of Washingtonville, NY-based Metro Sound Pros, designed a system around Renkus-Heinz CFX81 two-way loudspeakers to tame the acoustics.
“The Space Shuttle Pavilion is a large steel facility, which can be acoustically challenging,” says Garrison. “They’ve got fabric covering the inside walls, which helps a little bit with reflections, but it’s still a very large and reverberant space.”
The Pavilion’s interior, measuring approximately 100 feet by 70 feet, is covered by ten CFX81 two-way eight-inch loudspeakers, with five speakers hung, facing each other, on each of the long walls.
“We flew them upside down and about 12 feet up,” says Garrison. “We divided the space into essentially five zones, each with left and right speakers. When they have a live event, that enables them to shut off any zone where a microphone will be positioned.”
A pair of Biamp MCA 8150 amplifiers power the system, bridged to provide approximately 300 Watts per pair. A Symetrix Jupiter provides signal delays and processing.
“We set up different pre-sets for spoken word presentations and other program material,” says Garrison.
“The CFX81s were really the ideal solution for their needs and for their budget,” Garrison concludes. “The pattern control is excellent, and because the coverage they deliver is so wide – 150 degrees by 60 degrees – we were able to cover an exceptionally large area with very few of them.”