TSI Global recently upgraded Brauer Hall, a handsome and elegant 800-seat auditorium at the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS), with a Martin Audio O-Line system.
Asked about the project, Paul Murdick, General Manager, TSI Global Companies LLC, explains: “The school came to us because they wanted a more multifaceted sound system for background music and pep rallies instead of voice only.
“We recommended and designed a Martin Audio solution with O-Line based on the system’s compact size and unobtrusive aesthetic appearance that blends seamlessly with the hall’s modern, curvilinear architecture while delivering the coverage that was required.
“The client thought they would need under balcony fills,” Paul continues, but once we mapped it out, they were pleased to find out the additional expense of dedicated speakers wouldn’t be required–which added real value to the system. Now they’re getting excellent coverage in the main seating, balconies and under balconies and are very pleased.”
Describing the acoustic challenges implicit in Brauer Hall, TSI Global Audio System Designer Lee Buckalew adds, “The auditorium is all hard surfaces and the room’s shape is essentially oval or parabolic with curved front and back walls. We know that O-Line would provide consistent balcony and under balcony coverage along with a level of coherence in the reflected sounds that we would inevitably have to deal with in such a live space.
“The under balcony section floor to ceiling measures only around 8 ft. tall at the beginning, while the balcony wraps around the back side of the room facing the stage. Also, the front rows are located roughly within six feet of the speakers, which makes it even more challenging.”
To overcome these issues, TSI set up 16 O-Line enclosures at each side of the stage. They also installed Martin Audio PSX powered subs in niches alongside the acoustic reflector at the proscenium wall.
“The previous system was powered and housed in those niches,” Lee points out, “so we had existing line level wire and power circuits available. That eliminated the need to install new speaker cable back to an amplifier room, which would have required a lot more expense and labor. In addition to bass reinforcement, the PSX has a second channel of amplification to power the O-Line arrays. It also provides full compatibility for VU-NET software and access to a full range of DSP functions as well.
“From a coverage standpoint, the issues had been overall level balance throughout the room and intelligibility in what is an acoustically ‘live’ room. Given that we couldn’t do acoustic treatment to the space, we wanted to provide even coverage so that reflections were also phase and frequency coherent, and O-Line was a good choice for that in a very compact enclosure.”
Commenting on the client’s reaction to the upgrade, Lee sums up, “O-Line is a night and day difference from what they had before in terms of the coverage and audio quality. Tom Wyman, Director of Technology, and other MICDS staff are just ecstatic. Before, teachers who would come into the back of the hall couldn’t understand what was being said on stage. All of that has changed completely with Martin Audio O-Line. The system represents a truly phenomenal change.”
Photo credit: Catina Bryant