Acentech’s Studio A, a specialized acoustics, audiovisual systems design, and vibration consulting group for the performing arts based in Cambridge, Mass., recently announced that it has completed audiovisual system design work for the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. The Straz Center is one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States and the only one with an on-site and accredited performing arts conservatory.
With five individual multi-purpose theaters in a facility sprawling over nine acres of land in downtown Tampa, the Straz Center provides an unprecedented experience to its patrons and students alike. When three of its most popular performance halls needed sound system upgrades, the Straz Center looked directly to Acentech’s Studio A to design new audiovisual configurations. Studio A worked closely with key decision makers at the Straz Center to design upgrades to the sound, video, and production intercom systems for three different venues: the 2,610-seat Morsani Hall, the 1,042-seat Ferguson Hall, and the 250-seat Jaeb Theater.
Studio A’s systems consultants designed a complete digital “snake” network to increase flexibility throughout the entire facility. This was a significant upgrade to the existing analog infrastructure located throughout the venue. Moving to digital allows the venue the flexibility to locate unlimited audio connections virtually anywhere they need them. A digital wired and wireless intercom system was designed to improve reliability and flexibility for touring road shows as well as in-house productions. A new monitor mixing rig complete with mixing console, wireless microphones, and audio wedges and side-fill speakers were also specified by Studio A. By selecting matching mixing consoles and monitor rigs for each theater, the Straz Center always has backup equipment on hand to move between venues.
“A systems venue update of this scale requires clear communication and coordination between the client and the design team, and Studio A’s project leadership was pivotal in helping us design these state-of-the-art sound systems,” said Lorrin Shepard, Chief Operating Officer at the Straz Center. “The sound quality of our venues is of paramount importance, and we are proud of the immersive, well-tuned sound our patrons will experience when attending performances at the Straz Center — no matter how big or small the production.”
As part of its scope of work, Studio A coordinated and evaluated loudspeaker demonstrations by multiple loudspeaker manufacturers to allow stakeholders to see and hear potential loudspeaker solutions in the halls. Based upon these demos and analysis, a single manufacturer was chosen to provide the sound systems for the three venues being upgraded. Martin Audio was the selected loudspeaker manufacturer. Studio A also provided design documents and specifications to allow AV systems contractors to bid equally on the project, and subsequently provided commissioning services to verify the accuracy of their installation. The new systems were commissioned in September 2016.