Carnegie Museum of Art

At the entrance to the multilevel facility is the impressive grand foyer


One of the crown jewels of greater Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Art offers a distinguished collection of contemporary works. Measuring 150 x 60 x 55 (length, width, height), the foyer features marble pillars and floors, plus an ornate metal balcony and a parabolic ceiling-creating a stunning entrance. These materials create an equally stunning challenge for anyone tasked with upgrading the area's sound reinforcement system-as was the case for Albany, NY-based IPLogic, Inc.

The quest for improved sound began during a speech given by Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. A client of IPLogic who is also a museum benefactor was attending the event and, discouraged by what he described as "some of the most garbled, unintelligible sound" he had encountered, decided there must be a solution.

According to Peter Grosskopf, Sales Support Engineer for IPLogic, "We were confronted with a 5.6 second delay time, compounded by an antiquated sound system utilizing a single feed with wide dispersion speakers firing at 360 degrees into the foyer." Adding to the challenge was the fact that no new holes could be drilled, no wires could be shown, and only existing channel paths could be utilized for the upgraded system. After considerable research, the decision was made to implement a 70-volt distributed audio system consisting of Factor 5 and Factor 9T surface mount loudspeakers.

The IPLogic team installed eighteen DAS Audio Factor 9T loudspeakers, with nine units on each side of the lower grand foyer at a height of 15 feet and spaced 15 feet apart. Each group of three loudspeakers was configured as an individual zone so that control over the delay, phasing, and EQ could be precisely defined. Twenty-four Factor 5 loudspeakers were positioned along the ceiling area and aimed down at the balcony.

After several months of operation, the new sound reinforcement system is gaining rave reviews from all who use it. "We knew at the onset of this project there were problems with the room, and we were perfectly honest about that with the museum's management. We made it very clear some sacrifices would be made in the name of aesthetics. By removing the various phasing and delay issues created by the original system and carefully tuning the new system, we were able to make a dramatic improvement to speech intelligibility. The DAS Audio loudspeakers do a remarkable job with an extremely challenging environment. Best of, we have another happy client."

Text by Roger Maycok

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