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Electrosonic Upgrades Systems At Independence Seaport Museum’s Concert Hall To Serve Deaf

SeaportElectrosonic Systems Inc. (Electrosonic) has performed a system upgrade to the Concert Hall at Independence Seaport Museum at Penn‘s Landing, Philadelphia, to transform the theater into a technologically-advanced space for the deaf and hearing-challenged communities in the city and beyond.

Electrosonic was charged with providing a multi-use entertainment system that was simple for the staff to operate. The Independence Seaport Museum, located on Philadelphia‘s waterfront, uses the Concert Hall for many different types of functions: high school band rehearsals, ballet performances and Congressional hearings among them. The Museum wanted to expand its capabilities to include corporate meetings, movie presentations and a Theater for the Deaf that could provide captions for both filmed and live presentations, the latter with a transcriber providing real-time captioning.

“The Seaport Museum‘s 530-seat Concert Hall is a perfect venue for the deaf or hearing-challenged communities,” notes Kevin J. McNamara, vice president of development and marketing. “There are very few meeting facilities, performance venues or theaters that can serve these communities like we can. We can not only turn on captioning for films but also for meetings and conferences. The screen can come down and what the person on the ‘smart‘ podium says is transcribed and comes up behind the speaker in the theater. It sounds simple, but there are not many places where this can happen.”

To that end Electrosonic equipped the Concert Hall with the newest audio-visual equipment, including a retractable screen, digital projector, four speakers and a ‘smart‘ podium. Also available are the latest in hearing- assistance technology, including real-time captioning-compatible presentation capabilities, closed captioning-enabled projection equipment, and an infrared assisted-listening system with modern headsets. Electrosonic has devised custom programming for the venue to allow staff to shift from one type of presentation to the other with a simple push of a button.

Sources feeding the projector include a Pioneer DVD-V5000 professional DVD player with Link Electronics caption decoding which can be turned on and off from the control system plus a PC feed from the stage and ESI custom input panel on the equipment rack. The system also includes an input connection in the projection booth for the real-time captioning system provided by another vendor.

An Extron MGP462 multiple window video and graphic processor allows two separate images to be displayed on the projection screen; it also supports real-time captioning. The projection system is based around a Sanyo XF-60A 6500-lumen XGA LCD projector with Sanyo LNS-T02 2.0-2.6 zoom lens., it displays on a Dalite 13.5×18-foot professional Electrol motorized screen on the stage.

The sound reinforcement system features a Peavey Digitool MC 8×8 audio mixer/processor and QSC MD-FP152 full-range loudspeakers located each side of the stage which allow for fine tuning of the audio coverage to maximize audience sound quality. Dual Bag End high-power 18-inch subwoofers are also included for additional thump factor, greatly enhancing the hearing-challenged visitor experience with a physical interaction with the sound. Listen Technology‘s LS-82-SIR IR-based assisted-listening system is also included with 32 stethoscope headsets for visitor use.

A Crestron MC2E system controller with TPS-2000L 5-inch color touch panel in the equipment rack provides a graphical user interface for easy operation.

The ‘smart‘ podium is a Sound Craft Presenter 36-inch multimedia podium, outfitted with a keyboard drawer and gooseneck light.

“Electrosonic was on budget, on time, very professional and easy to work with,” reports McNamara. “We don‘t have a lot of experience in project management, and Electrosonic was very patient with us.”

The Independence Seaport Museum, which opened in 1960 as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, is working with Creative Access, other members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and the Arts & Business Council‘s Business Volunteers for the Arts to develop business and marketing plans to promote the Concert Hall‘s unique new features.

Electrosonic has a 40-year history of providing advanced media solutions for applications in Public Spaces and Work Environments at hundreds of sites worldwide.

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