After 50 years in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool, PBS affiliate WCNY had outgrown their space. So in 2013, the station bought and reclaimed a few old buildings in Syracuse’s Near Westside industrial district and created a new Broadcast and Education Center. The state-of-the-art facility houses two large television studios, two radio stations, and ten audio and video production suites. It’s also home to Centralcast LLC. The first collaboration of its kind within PBS, Centralcast is a command center serving content to more than 25 percent of PBS viewership in the US via stations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Utah, North Carolina, Indiana, Washington, and Hawaii.
As part of the Broadcast and Education Center project, WCNY removed one section of a building, creating a semi-public courtyard area where movies and programs being broadcast from the facility are shown. As a major PBS affiliate, it was imperative that the outdoor space be equipped with a first-rate sound system. The station hired DCI Sound of Marcellus, New York, to design and install the system, and after demoing a variety of loudspeakers, WCNY chose Renkus-Heinz CFX 151-WR loudspeakers.
“This was a 5.1 surround project with all Renkus-Heinz CFX151-WRs,” recalls DCI Sound owner David May. “The customer preferred the CFX151-WRs hands down.”
A gorgeous video wall, 30 feet wide by 17 or 18 feet high, is the focal point for the space. Above it, May installed three CFX151-WRs, the weather-resistant version of the compact, point-source loudspeaker. On each side, he installed a pair of CFX81-WRs to handle the surrounds. A Renkus-Heinz CFX18-WR subwoofer sits at the front right corner to handle sub-lows. “While the system primarily is addressed through a Denon decoder, we provided six additional inputs so that the station can bypass the decoder and patch already-decoded material directly into the main DSP and 5.1 system,” adds May.
At the rear of the courtyard is an all-glass wall, behind which is a cafeteria. A pair of CFX81s is mounted inside, so if there’s an event in the courtyard area, the stereo audio can be played in the cafeteria as well. “In effect, it becomes an indoor-outdoor space,” May explains.
The CFX151 is a powerful loudspeaker that handles up to 700 watts of program power and features a 15-inch heavy-duty woofer and 2-inch titanium high-frequency driver. In addition to delivering extremely clear audio, it employs Renkus-Heinz’ exclusive 90° x 40° Complex Conic Horn technology, which provides constant beam width and directivity. As a result of the loudspeaker’s precise coverage pattern, shows can be plenty loud without a lot of sound spreading out into the neighborhood.
That’s especially important because it’s always show time at WCNY, regardless of seasons and weather. “As harsh as the winter can be in Syracuse, people still go outside and do things,” observes May. “Those weather-resistant Renkus-Heinz speakers perform 24/7, throughout the year, but they handle the rain, snow, and cold with no problem and always sound terrific.”