Richmond, VA - Virginia State University boasts a storied history dating back to the period following the American Civil War. Founded as the nation's first state-supported institution of higher learning for blacks, VSU counts among its distinguished alumni names like Reginald Lewis, entrepreneur and first Black CEO of Beatrice Foods, The Honorable James Coleman, the first African American to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court, actor James Avery and jazz hall-of-fame musician Billy Taylor.
The school's Colson Auditorium was recently updated with a powerful new audio system centered around a pair of Community Professional Loudspeakers' ENTASYS high-performance three-way column line arrays. As Michael Kidd of Richmond-based CCS Presentation Systems explained, the ENTASYS systems have solved the hall's long-standing audio issues.
"It's a multi-purpose room that's primarily used for lectures and other spoken word presentations," says Kidd. "It's not all that large - it seats around 250 - but it's a rectangular space that's fairly reflective, and it's always had problems with intelligibility."
The building's flat roof had sustained some water damage during the recent storms, and the needed repairs brought with them the opportunity to upgrade some of the auditorium's infrastructure. "They were looking at ways to improve the existing system, a distributed configuration of older in-ceiling speakers," says Kidd. "It was noisy, coverage had always been spotty, and the more we talked with them, the more it became clear that it made more sense to upgrade the whole system."
Kidd had attended an ENTASYS presentation some months earlier, and recognized the auditorium as an ideal opportunity. "When I saw the ENTASYS system, I loved the concept and thought, it would be great to have the right application to implement it. When the Colson Auditorium project came along, it really seemed like the ideal scenario."
The rest of the system is simple and straightforward. Crown amplification powers the system, and an AMX touch panel selects between DVD, computer, mic mixer and other sources.
Kidd reports the system has scored high marks with students and administration alike. "The hall's been pretty busy since it's reopened, and we've had lots of great comments on the sound," he says. "I felt really good about it, because we were kind of sticking our necks out by recommending a new product we hadn't tried before. Not that I had any doubts, but the truth is the ENTASYS system really exceeded our expectations. We were all pleasantly surprised."