Presentation Concepts Corporation (PCC), a leading technology integrator specializing in audiovisual, performance audio, and commercial sound systems based in Syracuse, NY, PCC operates as a full-service design/build firm providing fully integrated solutions. Recently, the company tackled the installation of a Yamaha Active Field Control (AFC) system in the new 809-seat multi-purpose auditorium at Baldwinsville (NY) High School. AVL Designs acted as consultant for the project.
Yamaha AFC is an acoustic enhancement system that is used to improve or enhance the architectural acoustic characteristics of a room and optimize reverberation while preserving the room's natural acoustic 'signature'.
"Baldwinsville High School prides itself on its music and arts departments, and since the existing auditorium had not been updated for many years, they wanted a new system that would be state-of-the-art and last for many years to come," states Doug Kellar, Vice President of Engineering & Systems Operations at PCC. "The existing sound system was just a shell of the outdated system that had failed many years prior. The school had set up a supplemental portable system that was insufficient to adequately support the overall space. The new performance audio sound system consists of an entire upgrade."
Kellar said the biggest challenge PCC faced with the installation was coordinating with all of the other trade companies working in the space and keeping pace with the aggressive project timeline. "The Yamaha AFC was specifically engineered and custom tailored for the Baldwinsville auditorium and their specific, pre-determined speaker locations," says Kellar. "This particular AFC system has numerous ceiling speakers suspended over the audience seating area. During the installation process, we needed to get in after the floor was complete but before the seating was installed. We needed to time it so the speakers would not be subjected to unnecessary construction dust, debris, or abuse during the on-going construction process. Our window for installation was always tight and a moving target so we had to ensure that the proper mounting structure for the speaker system was in place. This required skill by our project management team and excellent communication and coordination with other contractors working on the project."
Kellar said that the physical footprint of the auditorium was restricted for many reasons. "The school district was forced to stay within the confines of the space. The challenge was not to be stuck with acoustics that the pre-determined environment provided. The variable acoustics provided by the Yamaha AFC system allows the room to grow and adjust down acoustically as needed. This is a great option when you cannot physically alter the room's size during the design phase of a project." The new auditorium is used for a variety of events, half of which being concerts for the music department with the balance used for events such as instructional classes, creative arts, poetry classes, and club meetings.
"Brown Sound, who PCC acquired at the beginning of 2017, had installed AFC with AVL," adds Kellar. "Their personnel moved over with the acquisition and worked on the Baldwinsville project. Although we have performed other auditorium performance sound systems, this is the first Yamaha AFC variable acoustic system we've installed. The Yamaha AFC system greatly enhances the audience experience in the auditorium, and it has worked out very well for our customer; they are very pleased. The new system provides an acoustic shell for performers and musicians onstage." The school has an on-staff auditorium events manager utilizing multiple high schools students that are part of the stage crew to run the AFC and AV system. "
"The audio/visual components of our new auditorium are outstanding," states Emily Martens, auditorium coordinator for the Baldwinsville Central School District. "The flexibility within the systems' easily allow for a wide variety of events to be hosted in the new space, from a simple presentation to a layered and complex musical. And, with our Yamaha AFC system, there is not a bad seat in the house. Even in our stadium seating, you can hear every instrument on stage with such precision and clarity; it's truly remarkable. The room is now a lively, modern, and up-to-date space with all of the bells and whistles to make any event something special."
Based on the size of the new auditorium and the type of performances held, the Baldwinsville H.S. Yamaha AFC3 system consists of 16 Yamaha IF 2205 stage speakers, 34 Yamaha VXS8 audience speakers, 6 Yamaha IS1112 sub woofers, 4 Audio- Technica ES945W room mics, and 8 Audix SCX1-C stage mics. The entire audio and video system is controlled by multiple Crestron Touch Panels. Controls include 3 projectors and screens, 8 TV's, and various multimedia devices.