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Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Museum of Jewish Heritage, Safra Hall: New Sound System Supports Performances and Presentations

The Museum of Jewish Heritage (www.mjhnyc.org) in Battery Park is New York’s primary institution of public education about modern Jewish history and the Holocaust. By weaving together personal experiences and world events, the Museum tells the story of 20th century Jewish life from the perspective of those who lived it. A living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, the Museum honors those who died by celebrating their lives and legacy.

The Museum’s Robert M. Morgenthau Wing, located on the waterfront of NY Harbor in Battery Park City, offers views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The first new construction project to begin in Lower Manhattan after the September 11, 2001, the Morgenthau Wing was completed in September 2003. Spaces include a 5,000 square-foot event space, an outdoor terrace with adjacent indoor space, classrooms with multi-media facilities, and the 375-seat Edmond J. Safra Hall.

The work of acoustic designer, Peter George, Safra Hall is the Museum‘s premier performance space for public programs including films, concerts, lectures, dramatic productions, and panel discussions. Though careful thought went into the architectural and acoustic design of the hall, less attention was given to the needs for amplified performances and presentations. A ceiling-mounted loudspeaker system carried the burden of speech reinforcement for lecture/presentations.

“For any public program that required much more than sound for one speaker,” says the Museum‘s Technical Manager, Matt Szwed, “the Museum had to rent a sound system.” In addition to its own events, the Museum books the hall to corporate clients such as Forbes, IBM, Time-Warner, and for use by the Tribeca Film Festival. And for most of those events, obstruction of sightlines (especially for film) was an issue when a rental system was brought in.

Sightline obstruction–as well as aesthetic considerations–were not a problem when the Museum rented the NEXO GEO S array. By early 2005, the Museum was renting a NEXO rig from Viper Studios (www.viperstudio.com), and in the summer of that year, demo‘d a system for a month.

The Museum realized their need for a permanent solution that would match the hall‘s sound technology to the level of its acoustics and aesthetics. Over one month in late Summer 2006, Viper Studios‘ Charles Moses and systems tech Art Williams, along with Szwed, installed a main house system consisting of two clusters of four GEO S 805′s, one GEO S 830, and one NEXO CD12 Subwoofer per side. The installation also included a stage monitoring system of four NEXO PS8‘s and PS10‘s; two PS8′s have dual functions as either front fills or additional monitors.

“The idea was to have a permanent system that was elegant and discrete in design and appearance,” says Szwed, “that would offer the best in sound quality and eliminate any sightline issues.” Moses and Viper‘s acoustical engineer, Burton Ishmael, EASE-modeled the hall and found that, “NEXO GEO S was the correct speaker solution to compliment that room,” says Moses. Using NEXO GEOSoft2 software confirmed their Ease findings.

The stage is approximately four feet above seating level, and the ceiling approximately 20 feet above the stage. “Before our acoustical analysis,” says Moses, “we knew that the arrays, five cabinets per side, needed to be as tight to the ceiling as possible to reduce any sightline issues and, more than that, making them virtually unnoticeable. The system produces even SPLs from the front row seats to the rear of the house. The podium microphones are in close proximity to the house right stack without headroom gain being sacrificed. Also, the GEO S are extremely quiet onstage making it the perfect sound solution for such an intimate performance space. The PS10 and PS8 stage monitors are extremely low profile, clean and natural sounding. Performing artists are fascinated by the sound quality they experience onstage.”

The NEXO arrays are supported by two NX242TD GEO S Processors, and the monitors by two NEXO PS10TD and PS8TD Processors. Two Camco 3Q 4-channel amplifiers and two Camco Vortex 6.0 amplifiers drive the systems. Viper also installed a custom Whirlwind 32×8 Stage Box with Monitor and FOH Tails, and a complete Sennheiser wireless mic system.

On Sunday, April 15th, the Museum will host the Annual Gathering of Remembrance, New York City‘s oldest and largest commemoration to honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The keynote speaker is Henry Kissinger. The event will take place in front of the museum, under a temporary structure. Viper Studios will supply NEXO Geo S and PS systems for the occasion.

For more information about NEXO; write Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc., 6600 Orangethorpe Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail infostation@yamaha.com; or visit www.yamahaca.com.

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About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. offers a complete line of integrated professional audio products for the commercial recording, production, broadcast, live sound, and sound reinforcement markets. The company has a dedicated dealer network, intensive field training, and 24-7 tech support in the U.S. and Canada.

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