After a lengthy renovation project, the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, New York, recently reopened as a multi-use, state-of-the-art dinner theater with flexible seating, digital projection, and a surround sound system featuring Renkus-Heinz PNX and TRX Series loudspeakers. Owners Dianne and Bob Castaldi purchased the building in 2005 with a vision of creating a modern performing arts center.
The venue retains much of its original interior décor, having originally opened on December 30, 1933; local media at the time declared it "The Radio City Music Hall of Long Island." The last remaining movie house built by architect R. Thomas Short, and the last remaining large art deco theater on Long Island, the Suffolk Theater entertained generations of moviegoers until closing its doors in 1987.
The new owners removed the theater's original raked seating and replaced with a multi-tiered design that allows for varied configurations of tables and chairs, accommodating everything from concerts and performances to dinner theater or movie screenings.
The venue's audio, video, and lighting systems were designed with that versatility in mind, explains systems designer Stuart J. Allyn of NY-A.D.R. Studios in Irvington, New York. "The goal was to provide smooth, even coverage throughout the entire audience area, with proper time domains that would have the sound emanating from the stage, regardless of the seating configuration."
Allyn chose a pair of PNX121 two-way 12-inch loudspeakers for the main system, with two CFX218 subwoofers for low frequency reinforcement. Ten TRX62 boxes comprise the secondary surround system, as well as providing coverage to the upper and under balcony areas. The boxes were custom painted to blend seamlessly with the venue's walls. The system was installed by Young Equipment Sales of Hauppauge, New York, under the supervision of Charles Stursberg, director of Audiovisual Theatrical Lighting and Theatrical Rigging Sales.
Allyn points to pattern control as a major factor in selecting the Renkus-Heinz system. "The TRX62 is my favorite over- and under-balcony system," he says. "Their dispersion is exceptionally wide, particularly for a box with such a small footprint. The documentation on their coverage patterns is exceptionally true and reliable. Their trapezoidal arrays really do array beautifully.
"Renkus-Heinz voices their boxes with a real belief in the human voice," says Allyn. "When I hear vocals coming out of these boxes, they sound like they should even before I touch an EQ. That's very important to me. Intelligibility, warmth, depth, character—that's what the human voice is all about, and it translates to the instruments in the orchestra. If you get human voices to just sound right, you have done your work. And the Renkus-Heinz boxes do that beautifully."