Michigan's Berman Center Gets the Renkus-Heinz Treatment

Photo By: Acoustics By Design

West Bloomfield, MI | November, 2012 - The Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield is known for its lush, rolling hills, palatial homes, and sense of community. And the Jewish Community Center is a local nexus, a sprawling campus offering athletic facilities, continuing education, a range of community outreach programs. The JCC is also home to the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, a newly-built 600-seat theater hosting a steady calendar of music, dance, performance, film festivals, and special events.

The theater is designed for flexibility, with movable walls that close to form two adjacent ballrooms, or open to create a single large theater, with pull-out seating that expands the main room's 300 seats to 600. "It's very much a multi-use facility," explains Advanced Lighting and Sound's Bob Sullivan, the contractors on the project. "The system had to be adaptable to several different room configurations, and sound good across a wide range of program material."

"It's a rather wide room, and that was a concern from an audio perspective,"" says Tim Hamilton of Grand Rapids, MI-based Acoustics By Design, the consultants behind the audio and video design. "But the client specified that the speakers have low visual impact. So the challenge was to provide adequate coverage using a minimal number of speakers. In addition, the speakers at the rear of the hall had to function as separate audio systems when the space was configured as two multipurpose rooms, or as delay speakers for the main system when it was configured as one large room - two very different scenarios."

Photo By: Acoustics By Design

The main sound system is comprised of left and right arrays of two Renkus-Heinz ST4R three-way tri-amped loudspeakers. CFX212M two-way systems at the rear of the hall act as delays or provide separate coverage, depending on the configuration. Crown amplification powers the CFX units. A Yamaha M7CL 48-channel console handles FOH duties, with DSP handled by a Yamaha DME 24N processor. Several more CFX212M boxes provide monitoring on stage.

Hamilton says the venue's relatively low ceiling added another challenge. "It was a bit tricky configuring the arrays to deliver a true stereo image from where we had to position them, but the ST4's coverage and pattern control made it easier to accomplish."

"Commissioning the system was a breeze," adds Sullivan. "When you're setting it up, you can pay attention to the room, not the presets. They've simplified the whole process - it's all in the box."

Photo By: Acoustics By Design

A 28-foot Da-Lite screen provides video, using a Sanyo PLX70 projector. A matrix of four Sanyo 400-series flat panel displays is used for digital signage, and as a single display for overflow.

Hamilton reports the feedback from the client has been overwhelmingly positive. "When they first saw the size of the system, there was some concern over whether it would be loud enough, and whether it would cover the whole room. Once we turned it on, it was clear that it was more than enough, and everyone was quite pleased."

"The speakers sound great in the room," says Sullivan. "Coverage is smooth and consistent across the entire area. It's a very well thought out solution."