Boston’s 180,000-square foot Emerson Paramount Theatre has
recently been restored to its former glory. The $92 million dollar renovation
project encompassed a live performance theatre, a smaller black-box
theatre, a state-of-the-art film and digital cinema screening room, plus
Working closely with the acoustic consulting firm Auerbach Pollock
Friedlander, Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) sourced and installed
To keep the project on track, BL&S prewired and tested eight racks of equipment at its staging center to ensure they would work properly once delivered on-site. BL&S then worked onsite to support and advise electricians and other trades, ensuring that all equipment was installed to exact standards.
To integrate with the restored vaudeville-era historic design of the main live performance theatre, BL&S installed a main loudspeaker cluster that is retractable when not in use and side column speakers that reside behind acoustically transparent decorative covers. For the black box performance theatre, BL&S installed overhead grid audio equipment and portable speakers, freeing the theatre director to rearrange equipment to adapt to various performance types and seating configurations.
BL&S was also charged with designing the theatre’s screening room. The team sourced and installed specialized dual-mode motion picture film projectors that enable the projectionist to exhibit both archival 35mm and 16mm film. The DCI-compliant digital cinema video projector and alternate content components support a wide array of video formats, including computer sources, Blu-ray, DVD and multiple HD sources. A state-of-the-art cinema surround sound system delivers incredible audio performance for both motion picture film and digital presentations.
BL&S integrated equipment together via multiple touch-screen panels that give the screening room maximum versatility and ease of use. For example, BL&S installed and programmed an interactive control at the podium location so the room can be used as screening room or presentation space. Using an intuitive wireless touch-panel, presenters and other staff can easily control the main system. They can display a PowerPoint presentation or video clip, activate microphones, and adjust the sound volume as needed.
The acoustical consultants and theatre owners have been extremely pleased with the craftsmanship and dedication of the BL&S team.
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre consulting and sound, video, and production communication systems design for the redevelopment of the Paramount Center. The firm designed various systems within the three venues, including sound reinforcement and playback, assistive listening for the hearing impaired, production intercom, production video and projection, and show program monitor/paging/audience recall systems.
“Working within the existing constraints of the building was difficult, and BL&S coordinated with other trades to provide creative solutions that fit within the historical framework of the theatre. The project management that the team provided was excellent, and they handled all the day-to-day on-site issues with complete professionalism.
We also want to express our thanks to BL&S for their installation expertise with the cinema projection systems. They provided another successful job well done and we look forward to working with them again in the near future.”
After 25 years of use, an upgrade to the Tsai Performance Center’s sound system became necessary to accommodate new uses of the space. The original system was installed in the 1990s when the space was used primarily for lectures. As the center expanded into new areas such as concerts and film festivals, they decided to upgrade to a more versatile sound system.
The center brought in Communication Design Associates (CDA), who designed a new sound system and Boston University hired Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) to install and integrate the equipment. BL&S needed to find creative
Moreover, the installation needed to be completed in just three weeks.
BL&S collaborated with Boston University, their structural engineer, and general contractor to determine the required reinforcement needed for rigging the loudspeakers in the right spot, and arranged for a winch to allow the speakers to be moved as needed for servicing. From there, they installed Eastern Acoustic Works Anya adaptive column arrays and a single QX loudspeaker to provide better steering and coverage throughout the space.
Joe Patten from CDA designed a way for the center to upgrade to digital. This new solution brought unprecedented flexibility to the sound system. In addition, all equipment is now connected by a Dante protocol. Dante-enabled equipment can send and receive digital audio signals across standard computer networks with a single Cat 6 cable. With the new equipment in place, there is virtually no place in the center where you can’t get Dante connection — enabling mixing control from the house, control booth, and stage.
The result: The project was completed on time, with impressive results. The center now has a flexible network that makes it easy to access all analog inputs and outputs. The space can be configured for any type of use — from concerts to lectures to film festivals — with the push of a button.
“I can’t say enough about the quality, expertise, and timeliness of the Boston Light & Sound crew,” said Joe Patten, Associate Designer for Communication Design Associates. “The Boston Light & Sound effort was absolutely perfect. They are a really impressive group.”
Quality, expertise, and timeliness
“I can’t say enough about the quality, expertise, and timeliness of the Boston Light & Sound crew. The Boston Light & Sound effort was absolutely perfect. They are a really impressive group.”
Boston College students can look forward to kicking back in the school’s new Cabaret Room, a multi-use student activity space. This flexible space was redesigned to make it easy to enjoy high quality audio and video. Boston Light & Sound (BL&S) was brought in to make this vision a reality.
Ease of use was critical to the project, which required integration of a wide
range of audio and video equipment, including a Crestron DM (digital media) system for video transmission and control system, BSS London digital audio
processor, wired and wireless mics, and an 8,000 lumen high resolution video projector. The BL&S team made it easy for students to plug into the audiovisual system at multiple input panels throughout the room and control the functions via a simplified touch screen control panel. For personal use, students can plug in their PC to one of the flat screen TVs located throughout the room.
Upon completion of the installation it was clear that the students required additional features that were not part of the initial design. Students envisioned being able to plug in their iPods and play prerecorded music, watch big games, and support guest DJs in the Cabaret Room. BL&S came up with a creative solution to add these capabilities in a cost-effective manner. By rerouting wiring and adding TV tuners, they were able to fulfill all the students’ requirements.
As with many college projects, there was a tight time frame to complete work while students were on break. To meet the compressed project schedule, BL&S built and tested all the equipment at their facilities beforehand to minimize time needed on-site. This helped ensure that the project remained on schedule.
The work paid off. Students now have access to live music reinforcement, prerecorded music playback for guest DJ inputs or iPod use, computer presentations, Blu-ray video presentations, TV broadcasts, and gaming on the big screen.
Coordinated seamlessly with GC
“Boston Light & Sound coordinated seamlessly with the general contractor. Their follow up was always timely. We couldn’t have asked for more!”
Parents’ Weekend has become a popular autumn tradition at Boston College for parents to experience campus life and socialize with other families. The Parents’ Mass is a highlight of the weekend. BL&S provides sound equipment and support for the annual Mass, which draws more than 3,500 students, parents, and faculty members. In addition to making the liturgy audible, BL&S was charged with providing full sound for the student choir and band performing inside Conte Forum.
In a venue designed for hockey games, the space is extremely reverberant. To accommodate the forum’s acoustical challenges, BL&S set up a sound system that was positioned appropriately to deliver sound effectively throughout the large arena.
The area outside the library where this Mass is held includes seating and a series of steps on all sides. The odd-shaped space is made almost entirely of concrete, making sound particularly reverberant. To alleviate this problem, BL&S provided a distributed sound system, including line arrays, as the main reinforcement and delay speakers mounted on stands to accommodate the large audience.
The BL&S team’s innovative approach provided clear sound in each challenging environment.
The Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College is a historic
landmark in the heart of Boston’s theatre district. Built as an opera house
in 1903, this intimate venue serves student, community, and professional
Seeking a sound system that could grow with their needs, the theatre
of the stage to fill in the first few rows below the coverage pattern of the main cluster. This provides even sound coverage throughout the theatre.
BL&S sound engineers tuned the theatre sound system, eliminating feedback and equalizing the sound inputs for the room’s unique characteristics. The team established multiple input and preset capabilities, enabling the theatre to easily integrate temporary road equipment. The system includes permanent wiring flexible enough to accommodate events ranging from a few microphones to productions using up to 24 mic lines.
In 2003, the theatre trustees set out to restore the Majestic to its original splendor in celebration of its 100th anniversary. They hired acoustical consulting firm Auerbach Pollock Friedlander to design a complete sound amplification and playback system that would direct sound to the newly reopened second balcony, fill in under-balcony sound, and enhance the production intercom and paging systems.
BL&S sound engineers worked alongside Auerbach, installing upper balcony and lip speakers as well as a mixing console that tied in to the existing cluster and fill speakers. They also enhanced the intercom system with new house control and followspot positions and added stage audio monitoring for the new dressing rooms, offices, and public spaces. Theatergoers now enjoy a richer sound experience throughout the entire venue.
In December 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation honored Emerson College for its restoration of the landmark theatre. The theatre’s architectural importance earned it a place in both the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historic Places.
Our partner in making Emerson’s facilities world-class
“Boston Light & Sound has professionally recommended, provided, installed, and maintained the audio and projection equipment in our five theatres and screening room, meeting the demands of public presentation required by ArtsEmerson, and providing Emerson students working laboratories in which to hone their art.
BL&S goes the extra mile: measuring acoustic requirements while planning, and then, carefully tuning and troubleshooting these systems during installation to insure top performance. For the magnificently restored Cutler-Majestic, the reinvented Paramount Theatre, the exciting Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, the state-of-the-art Bright Family Screening Room, the versatile Semel Theatre, and the intimate Greene Theatre, BL&S had been our partner in making Emerson’s facilities world-class.”