PepsiCo Theatre refreshes with L-Acoustics

In its first major renovation since 1987, the PepsiCo Theatre at Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY), now has a precision L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo loudspeaker system integrated by Southington, Connecticut-based integrator North American Theatrix.

Designed by set designer Ming Cho Lee, the mid-sized PepsiCo Theatre has a large stage allowing for exceptional adaptability. It also makes an ideal venue for film screenings, with comfortable seating, a rear screen projection bay, and fully digital projection capabilities. A $730,000 grant from locally-based beverage giant PepsiCo in 2016, combined with additional donations, allowed for the complete renovation of the theatre – from the seats and the carpeting to the sound, projection, and lighting systems to critical backstage infrastructure.

The new PA setup for the Performing Arts Centre of Purchase College’s second largest venue features three matching arrays of four L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo enclosures – two ARCS Focus over two ARCS Wide – flown in an LCR configuration through cut-outs in the theatre’s acoustical cloud and powered by a total of three LA4X amplified controllers housed in an LA-RAK in the third-floor catwalk.

In addition, four SB28 subs are hung in pairs on either side of the 55-foot-wide proscenium and driven by a single LA12X, while eight compact 5XT coaxial speakers powered by a fourth LA4X are used to address the rear of the 713-seat space’s under-balcony areas.

“The combination of the acoustical cloud and side platforms made finding a suitable system fairly challenging; we could not make too much of a visual impact, or have the system shadowed by the side platforms,” describes Purchase College’s production technology manager Justin Herminghouse, who spearheaded the new system’s design.

“Many of the variable curvature systems that we looked at were just going to be too long and we could not find a point source that would give us the even coverage that was one of our prime requirements. The ARCS WiFo system was able to ideally combine even coverage with an unobtrusive presence.”

The addition of the L-Acoustics system was integral to the entire renovation in another surprising way: the four SB28 subwoofers in the system are also integrated into a new QSC cinema system, through the Q-SYS network now part of the building’s systems, adding thunderous low end to enhance films and videos.


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