This is a continuing series of detailed articles about Tectonic Plate installations. Each article is generally structured as Problem : Solution.
Tectonic products are specified into some very interesting and difficult spaces. We hope you will find these articles informative and perhaps a challenge to how you might solve for a difficult space. Stay tuned for more...
What challenges and problems were you trying to solve?
Originally, we were brought in to address setting up the church to do video streaming. As we delved deeper into addressing the many needs and wants, it became obvious that the front end of the audio system had to be upgraded to accomplish all the things they wished to do. Since more than 50% of the system was being replaced. and workflows changed, addressing the sound reinforcement became an obvious issue. The church, being all concrete and gothic, has a very significant reverberation time. It is a great space for the wonderful pipe organ and choirs, but not great for the spoken word.
What was the existing speaker system?
The original system had Control speakers, two per column down the sanctuary; 16 in total driven off one amp. There were lots of parishioner complaints about not being able to hear; especially from those who were hard of hearing or used hearing aids. There was very little feedback margin and lots of dead zones around the sanctuary.
How was Tectonic selected as the speaker of choice?
The philosophy I had was; if we were going to make changes in the speaker system, they had to be spectacular or it wasn’t worth doing. To that end we began researching solutions and Tectonic caught our eye. We contacted Larry Garcia at LVX Marketing and he offered to come to San Diego and do a demo. With two PL-11’s on stands setup on the chancel, the sound was indeed impressive; no dead zones and the intelligibility was amazing in that space. Church staff who happened by were also impressed.
What led you to the design solution you arrived at?
There were a couple of things the church wanted aside from improvements in intelligibly. One was that they didn’t want to see speakers, as they could with the Control speakers hanging everywhere, and they wanted them to be inconspicuous. The other requirement was that the color needed to match the concrete color of the walls. The color match was easy once chosen from a palate of powder coat colors provided by Tectonic. Matching them into the architecture was a bit more demanding, but we found we could mount them over the cornus of the columns with custom made brackets and they pretty much blended right in. Since we were unsure if just two PL-11s would do the job, we opted to add a second set on the 3rd set of columns down the sanctuary; time delayed to match the front pair.
Were there any issues with the installation and aiming of the speakers?
We were at first a bit concerned, as the speakers are quite high and the front pair are aimed deep, so we were unsure about coverage right up front. When we first brought up the system, we just weren’t getting what we got during the demo and felt the sweet spot was about 10’ above the floor. At that point, we thought we needed to angle the panels down further and have new brackets made, To consult on this we asked to have Tectonic back to recheck the crossover settings and eq. In that process we discovered the phase of the speaker line to one of the PL11s was flipped. Fixing that completely resolved our issues. We got the sound we were looking for and didn’t need to repoint the panels.
Would you recommend Tectonic speakers in the future?
Yes, we do promote them as our top-line solution. We are spec’ing them into another church right now.
What kinds of jobs do you think they would be appropriate for?
I think they are well suited to places where there is little that can be done to fix the inherent acoustical issues with the space; specifically, revelation time and intelligence issues. In this case the church was adamant that the acoustics not be changed.
Very Wide Seating Pattern
Over 150 Microphones
Custom Fabricated DML Frames
Main Enclosures Flanking Video Displays
Supplemental PL-11 Side-fills
Custom DML Rear Speakers
The Challenge -
The South Carolina House of Representatives consists of 124 part-time citizen legislators elected every two years to represent the state’s 124 separate single-member districts. Operating from the House of Representatives Chamber, officials recently oversaw a massive restructuring of the Chamber’s AV facilities, which in addition to legislative sessions, is also used occasionally for a wide range of special events.
Augmenting an impressive assortment of video display and projection capabilities, the space is now home to a sophisticated audio system that incorporates Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) technology from Tectonic Audio Labs, over 150 microphones and a redundant networked QSC Q-SYS system for control of the various audio assets — all of which is ultimately under Crestron automation control.
Custom DML Solution -
Two main customized loudspeaker arrays attached to the custom Daktronics LED voting displays (“scoreboards”) on each side wall adjacent to the rostrum were designed by Deliberative Designs and Steve Carter at Columbia, SC’s Custom Welding and Fabrication. Custom engineered Tectonic Audio Labs DML loudspeaker panels are affixed to the far left and right sides of the scoreboards. There are three DML panels on each frame, and two Stage Accompany compact ribbon drivers (provided by Tectonic). These loudspeaker systems reside in custom cantilevered arrays. The design facilitates the safe placement of the arrays above people’s heads and enables the display door frames to be opened to access all of the electronics behind the displays.
These display / loudspeaker arrays were designed with extensive vibration control to prevent visual distortion artifacts from showing on the LED displays due to speaker vibration. Custom isolating neoprene rubber stand-offs were designed for the weight of the speaker components in the shear direction, and were combined with special 3M vibration isolation adhesive neoprene rubber tape and foam isolation blocks. Both the front and rear of these arrays are open acoustically to work properly with the Tectonic DML panels, which are dipole devices.
Unique Performance -
Tectonic speakers were selected for their unique form factor and audio performance. The Tectonic flat panel DML design differs substantially from conventional loudspeakers that use uniform pistonic motion to create sound. The primary goal with a conventional loudspeaker design is to ensure the diaphragm does not have any anomalies — i.e., that it does not “break up” in its passband. Breakup, however, is inevitable, so the secondary goal is to move the frequency of this breakup as high as possible so that when it does occur, the crossover filter has significantly reduced its level.
By contrast, distributed mode loudspeaker (DML) technology is designed to break up and not just move as a uniform piston. This break up — i.e., modal behavior, is intentional and engineered to produce a diffuse sound source that correlates at the human ear. Conventional drivers are either point-source or a line-source with fixed size radiators and, as such, exhibit a narrowing pattern at higher frequencies and have strong—both destructive and constructive— interactions with room boundaries. DMLs, however, are a diffuse sound source and produce 165 degrees horizontal and vertical coverage at all frequencies within a range of approximately 90 Hz – 7k Hz. They are highly resistant to disruptive room interactions, especially within the human vocal range. Hence, they are highly intelligible, even in less than optimal acoustic spaces.
When queried about his reason for selecting the Tectonic Audio Labs DML loudspeakers, Schwartz offered the following, “When using dynamic mics, we are able to achieve considerably higher gain before feedback with the DML panels as opposed to conventional loudspeaker designs. This, combined with the advanced DSP techniques we utilized, meant we could implement a far louder, far clearer, and far more intelligible system by using the Tectonic DMLs.”
Filling Out the Room -
“In addition to the main arrays,” Schwartz added, “there are two front member fill speakers, attached to the opposite side of the IRC/ Daktronics display frames, that extend up to the wall end at the window alcove. Each of these incorporates a single Amina DML panel and a Stage Accompany compact ribbon driver on a truncated Tectonic waveguide cut to size. There are four standard custom-finished Tectonic PL- 11 loudspeakers mounted in the window alcoves under the balcony on the side walls that serve as member side fills. These are positioned on custom pan/tilt mountings just below the balcony railing. All speakers are bi-amplified, and are driven by 18 individual QSC power amps located throughout the facility, including CX1100 two-channel, CX168 eight-channel, and CX254 four-channel models.”
On the rear wall at either side of the main entry doors, Schwartz and his team deployed custom rear wall arrays—each consisting of a Tectonic DML panel and a Stage Accompany compact ribbon driver and Stage Accompany waveguide. These are mounted on a custom fabricated pan/tilt aiming device located behind a custom polished brass screen. They are mounted in an alcove with two Sony 4K Laser projectors, which provide the image for the front drop down screens.
Low frequency support is via four QSC KW181 single-18 subwoofers — two per side — and custom finished to match the window alcove paint color. These are mounted in the window alcoves at the balcony level, directly above the main left and right arrays mounted on the LED display frames. A pair of custom- finished Meyer Sound MSL-4 powered High-Q loudspeakers also reside in window alcoves at the balcony level for Gallery sound reinforcement.
Completing the loudspeaker assortment, there are two custom mahogany coaxial wedge loudspeakers (custom manufactured by Deliberative Designs) at the rostrum. These are used for spot monitoring by the Clerk of The House.
• Very Wide, Even Coverage
• No Mixing 'Sweet Spot'
• Driver-by-driver DSP Control
• Highly Accurate Soundstage and Stereo Imaging
• Extremely Low Distortion
How do DML’s perform in a post-production studio environment? I have wanted to answer this question for quite some time.
- Bill Demkov
"An open-minded client with a time sensitive project presented an excellent opportunity to put my DML theories to the test in a studio setting. My goals for this session were to edit, mix and master a solo cello recording in two days' time. Given our time constraints I found it best to set up shop in my home studio.
I installed the Tectonic Audio Labs PL-11 live demo system in my living room a few days before the session to ensure optimal performance. Using the ESRA Systune software in conjunction with the Ashley Pema 8250 DSP Protea™ software I was able achieve system optimization very quickly.
The Tectonic Audio Labs PL-11 / Ashly system provided a unique advantage regarding control room calibration by offering full DSP control over each driver. In comparison, using a typical pair of studio monitors is often limited to a few pre-set choices for overall driver tuning and room correction.
In my mind, I would classify PL-11s more as “musical devices” rather than “speakers”. With that said, the Tectonic system yielded a lifelike representation of acoustic instruments undoubtedly due to the resonant nature of the panels. As a result, my mix balance and direct to reverberant ratios were far easier to achieve. Within moments of beginning our session my client Malina commented excitedly “This actually sounds like my instrument!”
The wide coverage and off-axis stereo perception completely change the game regarding the proverbial ‘sweet spot’. The Tectonic Audio Labs’ unique mode of propagation significantly increases productive real estate at mix position. The ability to share this acoustic space with the artist is truly revolutionary
I no longer feel the need to reach for headphones to double check crossfades and pan assignments. Using traditional studio monitors I found myself regularly referencing headphones to verify my panning choices. In fact, the few times I needed headphones during this session was whenever my one year old Black Lab “Fender” decided to cause a ruckus."
• Highly Reverberant Space
• Incomplete Coverage
• Very Poor Intelligibility
• Feedback Control Issues
• Out of Date Speakers
• On-site Demo for Proof of Performance
• Full Coverage with Six S
peakers – Replacing 14
• Reverberance and Echo Reduced by 90% with No Room Treatment
• Color-Matched Low-visibility Installation
• Feedback Issues Managed Without Room EQ
The Challenge -
Eastern Washington University’s University Recreation Center (URC) hockey arena offers some considerable acoustic challenges. For starters, there’s the ice itself. Surrounding that are 12’ foot plexi-glass shields. Add to that parallel glass galleries up and behind the stands. Top this all off with a hanger-style roof to complete the list of sound issues: poor intelligibility, echo & slap-backs and feedback problems.
Design / Install firm SaviTechs Enterprises assess the situation and found what would be expected. ”Nothing sounded good with the old system.”, says Michaela Hornsby, General Manager. “The current system was clusters of trap boxes progressively added to the bleachers and spotted and aimed as time went on, but coverage to all seating and standing room areas – over 1,000 people in all – was never achieved. Furthermore, there was no direct coverage for the ice itself; necessary for events and public skating.”
The Tectonic Demonstration Proof of Concept -
After a thorough review, SaviTechs mounted a demo system for proof of concept. “We brought in a pair of lifts and raised a two-by two set of PL-12s.”, explains Hornsby. “By placing the lifts in the players’ box areas, we were able to get them very nearly to their final location.” This panel placement not only succeeded in covering the main arena, but was a better fit to the budget. “We were planning for more speakers, but the PL-12s covered so well that we were able to proceed with adding just a couple of PL-11s for fills.”
Design and Implementation -
Fourteen trapezoidal enclosures were removed, along with 12 amplifiers. The main PL-12 rigs were flown by aircraft cables attached in a dead-hang to Tectonic CBL Center-of-Gravity Heads. With the panels mounted so high, 0⁰ interconnect bars were used between the panels. No curve was necessary. All hardware was painted to match the Tectonic white panels and blend in with surrounding walls and roof.
Two PL-11s were flown over the front rows of seating to overcome the shielding caused by 12-foot tall plexiglass shields. SaviTechs utilized an aim-able mount provided by ATM Flyware™, flown from aircraft cable. An 85-foot delay from the PL-12s was set to sync up the system. A single KV2 dual 15” active sub was placed above the left team box area, near the left PL-12 hang. “The one sub was more than adequate for the space.”, says Hornsby. “That’s how reverberant the arena is.” A Symetrix Radius 12x8 EX processor manages cross-overs, time alignment, limiting and delays for the PL-11 fills. No room EQ is necessary. Two Lab.gruppen 68:4 four-channel amplifiers power the bi-amped PL-12s and a single Lab.gruppen 48:4 four-channel amplifier powers the bi-amped PL-11s.
The Results -
The entire installation took one long day. No additional tuning of the systems was required. “The system fills the space, it’s very intelligible and the echo is maybe 10% of what it was.”, says Hornsby. “With a system this flat and clean, flaws in the signal chain upstream were revealed and actually prompted the replacement of the existing mixing console.”, says Hornsby. “With the previous speaker system no one could hear that things were wrong.” URC management is very pleased with the results and now has a fully-functional arena for hockey, basketball and special events.
• Highly Reverberant Space
• Room Treatment Not Allowed
• Column Speakers Required as Fills
• Microphone Placement In Front of Speakers
• Choir and Instruments at Rear of Sanctuary
• On-site Demo and Evaluation by Church Members
• Color-matched PL-11s
• Custom Beam-mount Brackets
• Even Coverage Throughout Sanctuary
• Reverberance, clarity and Feedback Issues Managed
St. Jude Thaddeus is a continually growing parish in Beaumont, TX that needs to meet ongoing worships and technological needs. A recent architectural renovation to increase the sanctuary size and seating capacity was combined with a sound system upgrade to improve coverage, intelligibility and parishioner engagement. Tectonic PL-11s were selected for their ability to manage a very reverberant space, provide wide and even coverage, reduce feedback and meet aesthetic requirements.
The Challenge -
"The sanctuary is a large space with brick walls, a polished stone floor and a 35’ high curved wooden ceiling, so it is very reverberant”, explains Chase Daigle of MSC Systems, Beaumont, TX. “Room treatment solutions were not an option, so we knew from experience that Tectonic Resonant Mode speakers could meet these requirements and manage the space.”
Adding to the challenge, all microphones are in front of the desired speaker location and the choir, piano, organ and musicians are located in the rear of the church, so sufficient gain before feedback would be difficult.
The Tectonic Demonstration Proof of Concept –
After talking with other churches that had selected Tectonic panel solutions for their sanctuaries, St. Jude invited MSC to demonstrate the Tectonic system on-site.
MSC Systems brought in their two PL-11 and subs demo system for the church to evaluate. Eighty parishioners attended the demo to assist in evaluating coverage, intelligibility and an A/B comparison with the existing system; four mid/high boxes and a sub, plus two line-array columns to cover the rear of the sanctuary. The results were 100% positive. A subsequent demonstration from another manufacturer could not produce similar results.
The Design and Implementation –
“The solution we arrived at was to mount a pair of two-panel PL-11 hangs from the first beam, placing them widely to accommodate a mosaic to be installed in the future,” explains Daigle. “We used a pair of custom brackets fitted to the beam to provide attachment points for the panels. For aesthetic reasons, we utilized Tectonic’s center-of-gravity heads vs. pull-back cabling. To these heads we mounted a pair of custom powder-coat colored panels with Tectonic connector bars and quick-pins.” A pair of Danley TH112 subs mounted to the third beam were added to provide low-frequency extension.
A Smaart™ system was used to verify uniform coverage throughout the sanctuary and set time and phase alignment for all speaker components.
The Results –
The final results solve the list of shortcomings of previous systems. Reverberation has been managed without any acoustic treatment, coverage is even from front to back and side to side with no hot or dead spots. Feedback issues have been significantly reduced. “The slap-back is gone,” says Father Tom Phelan. “Hearing impaired parishioners are no longer complaining of missing words. Music and choirs sound more present and engaging, and parishioners are singing. It’s a more inclusive experience.”
• Highly Reverberant Space
• Very Long Decay Time & 'Room Flutter'
• Intelligibility Issues
• Poor Coverage from Existing System
• Possible Need for Room Treatment
• Replace Existing 12” x 2-way System
• Color-matched powder coat finish
• Swing-arm VESA Mounting
• Third PL-11 Flown Center to Center Sound Image
• No Room Treatment Required
“We have a lack of intelligibility in our sanctuary”, explains Matt Carter, Youth Director. “We’ve had a lot of complaints regarding spoken word for pretty much anyone talking. We have a very ‘live’ room and we have a problem understanding speech through the echo.”
Possible solutions came down to two alternatives - purchasing a system with better coverage and spending perhaps an equal amount of money on acoustic treatment, or installing a Tectonic system that did not require any additional acoustic treatment. St. Paul chose the latter.
St. Paul engaged the services of MSC Systems of Beaumont, TX to find a solution. “Architecturally it is a very nice room. Acoustically it is a very challenging room”, says Chase Daigle, Systems Designer. “There was a 12” 2-way point-source system in place, with soffit-mounted subs. It didn’t cover the room very well and it acoustically excited the space. The room had excessive flutter and decay. Overall intelligibility, especially for voice, was pretty poor. One of the congregation’s main complaints was they had to really concentrate and focus to even understand speech.”
After a preliminary site assessment, MSC recommended a Tectonic Resonant Mode Loudspeaker systems as a viable solution. Tectonic provided a simple on-site demonstration of the benefits of a non-point-source speaker solution in a reverberant space.
“When we turned on the Tectonic PL-11 system, we were very surprised at the lack of echo”, continues Carter. “It sounded really good, the clarity was there and we had no room decay. When pastor stopped speaking, the sound stopped. Like it was supposed to.”
“St. Paul had already auditioned a couple of other systems and the quality had increased from their old system, but they still had intelligibility issues that would need to be addressed with acoustic treatments”, says Daigle. “When we set up the Tectonic system, we had two PL-11s left and right on VESA floor stands. The church staff and audio committee chair walked the room listening to program music and were very pleased with the coverage and quality of sound. We then had pastor talk through the system using his existing headset microphone while the rest of the staff walked around and listened. That was the part of the demo where the PL-11s far surpassed anything that they had listened to before. The whole demo took less than 15 minutes.”
From this presentation, MSC determined that two PL-11s would cover the sanctuary, but with the speakers so far left and right of the center, there was a sound imaging issue. If pastor stood in the center of the platform, he could be heard clearly, but was perceived as being left and right of his physical location. To solve this issue, MSC added a third PL-11 flown high in the center of the sanctuary. After the system was calibrated and aligned properly, the sound image was brought back to the center of the space.
The two side PL-11’s were mounted with Chief™ swing-arm VESA mounts. The center PL-11 was flown using the rigging tubes and eye bolts provided by Tectonic Audio. The PL-11s were aimed, tuned, and aligned using SysTune™ and Smaart™.
“Aesthetically, the goal was to have the PL-11s blend into the sanctuary as much as possible,” says Daigle. “To accomplish this, we took advantage of the powder coat color options from Tectonic to specify the left and right PL-11s in a custom Designer Beige. The flown center PL-11 was standard black and blended with the dark wood behind it.”
The entire church staff was very pleased with the aesthetics and quality and clarity of the audio. They have since received many comments from congregation members about the improved audio intelligibility. One of the biggest surprises was comments from church members with hearing impairment that the clarity they were able to perceive with hearing aids was significantly improved, even at louder volumes.
Daigle concludes, “After installing the PL-11s in this acoustically challenging room and achieving the results we did, it would be hard not to choose Tectonic again. I do not believe we could have gotten the same results from another manufacture or loudspeaker technology without installing a lot of acoustic treatment.”
• Highly reflective space
• Four story window facade and polished floor
• Flexibility from morning coffee to evening cocktails to nighttime DJs and live music
• High-concept branding of the look and feel of the 'W' Hotel chain
• Supplement the existing ceiling speaker system for live sound
• Eliminate the need to set up temporary and insufficient 'speakers-on-sticks' for DJ nights
• Overcoming space acoustics to allow for live music
• Improving patron listening / conversing experience
• Improved ability to sell to patrons
• Architecturally respectful
The 'W' Hotel brand and visitor experience is inspired by the creative worlds of music, film, fashion, art, design and beyond. A key element of every 'W' Hotel design is the "Living Room"; a requisite element for ‘W’ properties worldwide that serves as meeting space, food & drink service area, event space and nightly entertainment venue.
Toronto interior design company Burdifilek created an urban oasis within 'W' Atlanta Downtown Hotel. Designers Diego Burdi and Paul Filek reinterpreted the Living Room as a verdant sanctuary that mimics the lushness of Georgia, while maintaining the brand’s celebrated cosmopolitan edge.
The final design presented acoustic challenges. Three-story glass windows and polished marble floor made for a highly reverberant space that could not permanently accommodate more than low-volume ceiling speakers. For over seven years, this situation combined with existing speaker technologies, made many of the needs of the Living Room difficult to resolve.
With the recommendation of Tectonic representatives EDA Pro AV and audio/visual provider Atlanta Sound Works, Tectonic was able to provide a real-time demonstration of a proposed solution for this space. Tectonic rolled-in 25' lifts to place a pair of PL-12 flat panel Resonant Mode Loudspeakers into very nearly their final locations.
“Unlike traditional speaker systems that produce pistonic and highly correlated audio energy that reacts with boundaries to produce slap-back echoes, feedback, and a general lack of intelligibility, Tectonic Resonant Mode Loudspeakers propagate audio as a diffuse and non-correlated audio source that does not interact significantly with boundary surfaces; even glass walls and polished floors”, explains Scott Garside of Tectonic. “With the unique audio characteristics of Tectonic panels, we were able to solve for this challenging acoustic space.”
The demonstration was accomplished in a couple of hours and did not require any modification to the space or a significant disruption of daily business. Results were presented in real-time audio vs. predictive modeling reports, so stake holders were able to make an immediate evaluation of the system's performance.
In addition to audio requirements, aesthetics was a major concern in selecting a speaker system. “I was tasked with finding a new speaker system”, explains hotel brand manager Pablo Andres-Lopez. “The solution had to fit the design of the Living Room. We really didn’t want to put in typical big old lumpy speakers. We needed something sleek that would blend in with the design of the space. The Tectonic speakers were a perfect fit. They look beautiful; like they have been designed for this space.”
Atlanta Sound Works engineered an elegant mounting system that utilized the Tectonic PL panel's VESA compatible capabilities. Custom-fabricated ceiling mounts were fitted with standard VESA brackets to attach to the Tectonic PL-12s. Adjustment points were provided by this design to allow for aiming of the panels. Speaker cables were routed internally through the mounts to provide a clean look to the final installation.
“For the first time, we are able to offer live music in this space”, says Lopez. “The Living Room is not only an amenity for our hotel guests, but an upscale destination for discriminating locals in the downtown area. We can now program our entertainment between DJs and live music, and accommodate up to 150 people on a big night without the need to provide, set-up and remove additional speaker systems.”
“The speakers sound outstanding”, adds bar manager Pete Carver. “We have used them for DJs and live music. The sound doesn’t drown out conversations and interactions with patrons.”
”It’s a beautiful, nice, round sound”, concludes Lopez. “It’s very comfortable for guests to just relax and lounge in, and they can converse. We cut down on equipment overhead, labor costs, and gained more space for guests in a comfortable yet high-energy setting. This goes directly to the bottom line. ”
"Tectonic PL 12 panels were the only acceptable loudspeaker technology I could think of that satisfied the majority of design, performance and integration challenges."
"Based on our mounting opportunities, we had roughly 20’ between each panel. Two panels back to back, 10’ off the center line. We called these the East and West panels. The third panel (South) is rigged perpendicular to the other two, and is also about 10’ off the center line of the room. Each panel is about 34’ AFF, and has roughly a 55 degree down tilt.
Given this spacing and aiming, we had significant horizontal overlap between each pair of panels. This overlap produced an audible “thickening” of the sound in the low-mid range frequencies around 200 - 400 Hz. We also had a significant amount of “bottom half” vertical overlap that built up dead center on the floor, right where the Altar table stands. Remember, this is essentially church in the round. Also, for the record, we had no noticeable, mid-high comb filtering issues in the overlap zones.
We tried a polarity flip on the South panel, but that didn’t help enough, so we went back to normal polarity. To satisfactorily resolve both the horizontal overlap thickening issue and the vertical spill summing, we used a few ms of delay on the South panel, and a little parametric EQ to thin out the low-mid region. Further, each mic input had a HPF and multi-band parametric EQ available.
After careful tuning of the system frequency response, we rang out the first few feedback frequencies on each mic channel, then did a final sound check on all open mics, to optimize for each individual user. The same process was used on the hanging area mics that were in the choir area, which is located in direct coverage of the East panel.
Ultimately, it took a combination of factors: low room interaction of the DML; careful tuning of the panels’ frequency response; careful adjustment of the multiple open mics; and the use of a good gain sharing auto-mixer in the DSP. Without all these element working well, this project would not have been nearly as successful as it turned out."
Michael Fay concludes, "Tectonic PL 12 panels were the only acceptable loudspeaker technology I could think of that satisfied the majority of design, performance and integration challenges."
You can read more about this installation in the April 2015 issue of 'Sound & Communications' magazine.
• Very wide and tall room
• History of poor coverage and intelligibility
• Two 2-way 12" front speakers and mini-monitors to cover the entire chamber, with many dead areas
• Minimal gain before feedback for boom-mounted council member mics
• Feedback issues for attendee wireless mics
• Replace existing speaker systems with a single PL-12 Plate
• Simple VESA mount installation
• Even coverage to all seats in the council chamber
• Sufficient gain before feedback to allow for maximum boom and wireless microphone performance.
• Architecturally respectful
Jaymarc AV of Seattle was tasked with solving coverage, intelligibility, microphone performance and gain before feedback issues that have plagued the Seattle City Council Chamber. This architecturally stunning space was acoustically sound, but the existing speaker solution of a pair of 12" 2-way flown speakers and several rear-fill monitors was not sufficient to cover this large space and presented significant audio management issues.
Council members had to lean in to speak to mounted boom mics in order to be heard from their seats and a large meeting table. Hand-held mics were deployed to both council members and visitors in order to be heard. Gain before feedback was a constant issue for sound system operators and many seats were not covered.
The installation of a single Tectonic PL-12 Plate™ solved for all of these issues. Mounting was simple and easy, as all Tectonic Plates are VESA mount compatible. One Plate, placed high up in the chamber and aimed at the back row of public seats was all that was required.
The 160° horizontal and vertical dispersion of Tectonic’s DML’s and our wide dispersion large-format ribbon transducer provide full-frequency coverage to all seats throughout the chamber.
Thanks to the Tectonic Plate’s extreme resistance to feedback, considerable gain before feedback allows for system sensitivity such that council members can now sit back in their chairs, speak normally, and allow boom mics to pick up everything said.
Wireless mics passed around to attendees who usually don’t know how to use a mic can now be boosted without undue concern for feedback.
Seattle City Council’s IT Manager, Ian Smith says, “Prior to the upgrade, our traditional speaker system didn’t properly project the voices of Council members in their meeting room. After installation of the new audio equipment, we’ve noted a remarkable improvement in the quality of sound, which meets the unique acoustics of the space.”
Read more on ProSoundWeb
|St. Louise surveyed parishioners over the course of a weekend and many services from traditional to contemporary. Each respondent answered a series of questions about their listening experience and indicated where they were sitting.|
Definitive Audio of Seattle/Tacoma was engaged to solve perennial problems of coverage and intelligibility for St. Louise Parish, Bellevue, WA. In addition to solutions for existing problems, simple and reliable system operation was a mandate. Tectonic Audio Labs was selected to provide loudspeakers.
“St. Louise provides a ministry that is active and diverse”, explains Jonathan Taasan, parish administrator. “We need a sound system that can be respectful of traditional expectations and then seamlessly scale up to meet the needs of our growing contemporary worship services.”
The solution selected by Definitive Audio and St. Louise was a pair of Tectonic Plates per side flown over the chancel. “With this relatively simple installation, we solved for all issues”, says Dennis Schlossberg of Definitive Audio.
“The existing loudspeaker solution was based on three 2-way 15? trapezoidal boxes in a center cluster”, explains Schlossberg. “In order to fully cover this large and wide space, three separate systems were actually employed; the main center cluster and two independent fill systems mounted on pillars throughout the sanctuary; and there were still dead areas.”
“Tectonic won the bid by virtue of the fact that their speakers do not require a specifically engineered solution” Schlossberg continues. “Tectonic was able to raise a demo system on portable lifts that simulated 90% of the performance of a finished installation, and was able to prove the system’s performance over a four day period and some 10 services. No other manufacturer was able to do this.”
• Mandate to not interfere with architectural features with ‘room treatment’
• History of poor intelligibility, coverage and a high-fidelity experience for every seat.
• Flexibility for spoken word to all-up blues-rock performances
• Desire to attract national acts with a superior venue and sound system
• Replaced existing trapezoidal point source system with a 3 x 3 Tectonic Plate system
• Absolutely even stereo coverage for all seats on the floor and balcony
• Feedback issues managed
• No additional room treatment required
• Architecturally respectful
Tectonic Audio Labs was selected to provide installed Front of House loudspeakers for the historic Empress Theater in Vallejo, CA. The Empress has recently completed a renovation of this beautiful 1911beaux arts venue.
A critical mandate from restoration advisors was that any new sound system must not be visually intrusive or require any architecturally disruptive room treatments. Tectonic Plates fit the bill.
“It’s thrilling to see that the Tectonic Plates are actually here,” says Don Bassey, Empress Theatre
General Manager. “We’ve been talking about this for a year now. For a theater, it’s amazing what they can do.”
Bassey has been in the speaker business for 15 years. “These aren’t the first speakers I’ve ever heard, so my initial response was ‘Wow!’ It’s a phenomenal experience to stand here and feel the difference. Musicians hearing the new system are freaked out. They can’t believe it.”
“The system spreads sound up to a six octave range evenly throughout the theater”, Bassey continues.”With this state-of-the-art technology, sound no longer bounces around the room as with traditional sound systems. The system delivers audio of equal quality from all speakers to all points of the room.”
“The new sound is very different from before”, adds Empress board member Susan MacDonald. “Each instrument is heard but still comes out as a distinctly beautiful sound. I could hear the brushes on the drums. It was amazing! We had four horns on Friday night and each instrument was separate but part of the whole sound.”
“The sound is the same no matter where you are in the theatre because the speakers deliver sound in a different way”, continues MacDonald. “Feedback is eliminated, so no more ear splitting screeching or squealing mics.”
“It’s a revelation”, says house sound engineer Gustav Hobel. “In my 25 years in live sound, there’s really been no change in speaker development. Speakers got bigger, then smaller. They became better, then worse. Shows got bigger and speakers got bigger. But they all worked from the same concept.”
“The Tectonic speakers, however, change everything”, says Hobel. “This is a paradigm shift. Consistency is the major change. You can move around to anywhere and hear the same thing. The Empress Theatre’s former conventional speakers used a “cone” system which sent the highest quality audio to the sides and into the walkways leading to the front lobby. Now the sound is dispersed evenly throughout the theater. “
Tectonic Audio Labs will be using the Empress as a demo showcase for Northern California. “It will give the Empress some great exposure”, MacDonald says. “There is no other place in the Bay Area where these speakers can be heard. We are excited to be a part of this revolution in sound. I think it will be a big attraction to musicians and patrons alike.”
“It’s so great knowing you’re walking into a venue and you know it’s going to be killer sound”, adds Bassey. “Word will get around about the great vibes coming from the Empress.”