Top Tennessee school upgrades audio

White Station High School has a long-standing policy of striving for excellence, and a long reputation as one of the best high schools in Tennessee. The student body of 2,300 Spartans produces championships across the board, including numerous city and state titles in basketball and football. Several students who participate in band, orchestra, symphony and choir hold All-West and All-State chair positions. The school's team of competitive academians regularly wins the Knowledge Bowl, an academic competition, and the Mock Trial has won the Tennessee State Championship in 2009 and 2010.

In addition to the myriad of music, athetic and academic programs, White Station has an extensive theater program that puts on several major performances each school year. With so many school-sponsored activities and performances, it goes without saying that the high school's auditorium is continually in use. So much so, in fact, that school administrators opted to upgrade the hall's audio system to better reflect the level of excellence for which the school is known.

"Our design goals for the system were excellent speech intelligibility, consistent sound coverage and wide dynamic range," observes Dave Woolworth of Oxford, MS-based Oxford Acoustics. Woolworth, the consultant behind the new system, adds that the room's low ceiling and parallel walls made it an excellent candidate for the Iconyx IC Live digitally Steerable Array from Renkus-Heinz. "The system had to be versatile enough to handle anything from a single voice at a podium to a full drama production or symphony performance. And of course, it had to be aesthetically pleasing."

As systems integrator Dennis Banks of Memphis-based Audio Communications points out, "the IC Live system is able to focus the energy so well in the vertical plane that we can cover a very wide area and yet have very even near-to-far coverage. The result is that every seat in the house can hear each array equally."

White Station's new system consists of two IC Live Dual Fixed Install Version systems and a pair of IC Live subwoofers flown overhead in the auditorium's center. The main speakers are mounted on the inside edge of the proscenium, completely removing them from any walkway, and are backed by heavy drapes. The system processing is handled by Biamp Nexia with both automatic mixing and manual mixing modes. The microphones are Audix including an MG18 at the podium.

Woolworth concludes, "I am quite pleased with how the IC Live system fits into the room both aesthetically and acoustically, and ACCI and Griffith Sales were very helpful in realizing the project."