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Spec'ing an Install: Keeping the Mission in Mind, Part 2

Dec 30, 2008 9:44 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

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Part 1

Sweetwater Presentation Theatre

The new headquarters for musical instrument and pro audio retailer Sweetwater in Ft. Wayne, Ind., is an AV playground. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Performance Theatre, where you will find a unique installation of multiple state-of-the-art audio and visual systems. Although the LARES (Lexicon Acoustic Reinforcement and Enhancement System) is the shining acoustical gem in the theatre, the video system is just as savvy.

Acoustical consultant Russ Berger and his architectural team at Russ Berger Design Group designed the technical facilities, including the 250-seat theatre, to meet Sweetwater’s commanding schedule of training, presentations and performances. Reflecting the commitment of CEO and President Chuck Surack to high caliber training, products and services, the 250-seat venue has the quality of a screening theater.

“This room, as a theater, will reproduce video and audio as well as any screening theater you go to in the US,” says Berger. “Its configuration includes a large, flat platform area in the center, at grade, that will allow you to roll a console in and use it as a film-mixing theater. “

The system includes a 48-channel Digidesign Venue Profile mixing console, a Panasonic PT-D10000U projector to illuminate the giant 30 ft. screen that is flanked by two 9ft. secondary screens illuminated by two Panasonic PT-DW5100 projectors, a Vista Systems Spyder video processor, and six Sony HD 3CCD video cameras. These remote tilt, pan and zoom cameras are mounted throughout the technical facilities to capture product presentations or a performance in the adjacent recording studio. Handheld cameras provide mobility for close-up demonstrations.

Each screen can show a different image; for example, it can display the presenter, the engineer, and the musician all simultaneously, allowing Sweetwater employees to get the full benefit of learning from all angles of the business. “You can have simultaneous video of [the performer] up on the screen while they’re performing,” says Steve Barbar, president of LARES Associates. “You can vary from a three-piece rock group and immediately switch and be doing a choral music with 4-second reverb time.” The screen-theater experience is completed with a 7.1 surround sound system made up of JBL VRX line array and subs and Crown power amps.

Berger adds, “I don’t know of any other facility that’s tied together like this, where you can literally have someone on stage, assisted by a presenter, and everyone can hear what’s going on while it’s being recorded in the studio and fed back over the headphones mix to the people in the theater.”

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