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Kellogg Auditorium Gets "Lift" with JBL VRX Line Array

FOH Staff • News • February 26, 2007

NORTHRIDGE, CA — BAi, LLC, of Austin, Texas, recently designed an upgraded audio system at the WK Kellogg Auditorium in Battle Creek, Mich to include VRX line arrays installed within a new stage eyebrow invisible to the audience. Built in 1932, the WK Kellogg Auditorium was a gift from the WK Kellogg Foundation (founded by the Battle Creek native of breakfast cereal fame). The Auditorium was constructed in the middle of the WK Kellogg Junior High School, seats approximately 2,000 and has been used over the years for a variety of school and non-school related events. These include concerts by the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, the Battle Creek Brass Band, scholarly lectures and community functions.

For the Kellogg Company's 100th Anniversary, the company and the Battle Creek school district chose to renovate the Kellogg Auditorium. This included a new orchestra shell and renovation of the performance space's interior and lobby areas. As part of the project, the Kellogg Company opted for a redesign of the acoustics, lighting, audio and video systems. BAi was called upon to provide design services for the acoustical, audio and audio-visual portions of the renovations.

According to Richard Boner, vice president of BAi, the space was not without its acoustical challenges. "The space was designed in a beautiful art deco style typical of the 1930s, which looks great but means there is quite a bit of gold leaf around the proscenium opening," he said. "Due to this art-deco design, there was an eyebrow ceiling element at the front of the room, which caused problems for symphony, brass band and other types of events."

Working with Architects, Inc. (Battle Creek) and theatrical consultants Jones & Phillips Associates (Lafayette, Ind.), BAi decided to incorporate the loudspeakers, two new side projection screens and eyebrow together so the loudspeakers could be heard but not seen. JBL VRX932LA loudspeakers were installed. "A new design for the eyebrow was developed and the VRXs allowed us to incorporate them into the framework of the eyebrow with minimal visual disruption," Boner said.

An array of six VRX932LA models was placed on each side of the stage within the eyebrow. On each array, the top two loudspeakers were set a few feet in front of the bottom four to fit within the eyebrow. BAi aligned the system electronically with delay adjustments. With no space to hang subwoofers, two JBL 4893 subs were placed in organ chambers on each side of the stage (four in total). Additionally, portable JBL AM6215 loudspeakers are used as side fills, while JBL Control28T wall-mount loudspeakers were installed in the under-balcony areas.

Boner concluded, "We have achieved an overall SPL of 105 dB throughout the space, and the power-to-weight ratio of the VRXs gave us what we needed for this project."

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