With today’s expectations for high-quality, AV-driven presentations, event planners often must rely on renting expensive sound systems to meet their audio requirements. The Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel has installed a new, high-performance audio system in the hotel’s Potomac Ballroom to better serve customers and features unique loudspeakers from Renkus-Heinz. The new sound system delivers an excellent event sound solution with the aesthetic, quality, and coverage they required.
The hotel’s expansive Potomac Ballroom, featuring a 15-foot-high ceiling, can be used as a single large space accommodating 1,200 seated guests, or it can be divided into two or three smaller sections. Along with many new design feature enhancements, venue management needed a sound system that could work in any configuration and rival or surpass the performance of rented sound systems. The superior sound would enable more opportunities for the hotel to target a broader range of events while making productions more manageable and more affordable for their customers.
Integral to the new ballroom sound system are 45 CX62, two-way, Complex Conic loudspeakers from Renkus-Heinz. Kendall Mangun, Engineer and Sales Manager at LVW Electronics, has worked with the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel and similar hotels and convention facilities for more than 35 years. Mangun and LVW designed and installed the previous system in the Potomac Ballroom 10 years ago, but with the significant architectural changes to the space — particularly the ceiling — and new, higher-performance requirements, the team had to take a new approach.
“When we received the ceiling design from the architect using a pattern of new beams, we didn’t see how we were going to make a working system and still hide the loudspeakers in the ceiling structure as requested,” explains Mangun. “The first design draft had a 6-inch gap between the ceiling beams, and after an exhaustive product search, we found that the Renkus-Heinz CX62 box could provide the SPL horsepower and the bandwidth we needed, but it was 7-7/8-inches wide.”
Mangun explained that the new ceiling structure is comprised of a non-traditional, fiberglass/insulated Softspan Beam system from Arktura covered with a decorative cladding. The system’s fiberglass sheets have been folded into beams, and the beams are supported from a hanging structure. There are hundreds of beams running across the entire ceiling.
Mangun worked to convince the hotel owners to give an 8-inch beam gap staggered across the ceiling to accommodate the enclosures. Mangun notes, “After making that design tweak to the beams, the Renkus-Heinz speakers slip right into the space and out of sight.”
“After a call from Don Heisler from Signal Marketing, I was intrigued. My initial thought was ‘why aren’t they simply using traditional high-powered ceiling speakers?’” says Garrison Parkin, Western Regional Sales Manager at Renkus-Heinz. “We created some acoustic simulations to confirm that we had adequate coverage and the horsepower needed to create a top-performing system.”
“I’ve worked with Mangun for nearly 30 years and we both believe in the power that Renkus-Heinz speakers provide,” notes Heisler. “Although it’s a non-traditional installation for Renkus-Heinz speakers, it was clear that the CX62 was the right fit for the ballroom’s acoustic needs.”
The CX62 (passive) and CA62 (active) loudspeakers from Renkus-Heinz feature a very space-efficient, compact design while still delivering outstanding, full-range performance. The speakers’ Complex Conic horn provides superior pattern control with low distortion. The system’s heavy-duty, 6.5-inch woofers with carbon fiber cone easily handle 400 watts of program power, and the integral passive crossover eliminates the need for a separate active crossover and bi-amplification.
“The new ceiling system provides great acoustics. Each beam is open to the overhead structure through a gap, so the ceiling actually captures the sound in a channel and absorbs the sound before it bounces back down,” says Mangun. “The acoustics in the space are wonderful because of the beams. The Renkus-Heinz speakers are easy to hang and install, they fit the ceiling perfectly, and the sound quality is excellent.”
The CX62 enclosures offer several rigging points to make installation fast and easy. The LVW team used wire loop gripple hangers to loop over the beam/strut and hoisted the loudspeaker up to the correct elevation and position.
“The ballroom now sounds like a high-end theater. You can walk around the entire ballroom and it’s beautifully covered,” said Mangun. “For this project, the client was focused on getting the best possible sound quality. Everybody’s thrilled with the results. The Renkus-Heinz CX62 enclosures provided the exact Sound Solution we needed.”