The Kimmel Center employs d&b V-Series for movies, music and more.

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The Perelman Theater in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is primarily a recital room but also serves as the venue’s cinema. David Conner is the Center’s Audio Department Head: “We have just completed a significant investment in the Perelman cinema system, including a bespoke 7:1 audio system using d&b audiotechnik V-Series and E-Series, designed and implemented by Pete Cosmos at systems integrator, Acme Professional.”

“We had already installed a surround sound system using d&b E8 loudspeakers, but to complete the system some weight was needed from the screen,” explains Cosmos. The final piece of the specification would also need to be flexible. “Whatever main stage system we devised, it had to be able to redeploy to the neighboring Verizon Hall for use at events there. While the Perelman didn’t require high levels, we typically run at minus 12dB, Verizon Hall is a much bigger beast. We looked at both requirements separately, developed a number of solutions, and then looked at where the two agreed. The V-Series, the 120° horizontal directivity of the V12 in particular, filled both those needs absolutely.

“The three stacks are just below the screen (L/C/R), and we designed special dollies to raise them above the stage deck as much as possible to avoid reflections from below. With the raked stalls and two balconies to cover, the V-Series boxes lend themselves to coverage from this lower angle.” Cosmos adds: “This is not about even coverage where typically level and frequency response is prescribed within narrow confines to every seat in the house, this is natural propagation, so yes frequency response and level rolls off to the most distant seats: but it sounds right and it sounds natural.” Conner agrees: “The imaging is great, it travels across the screen left to right and up and down really smoothly, there are no noticeable hot spots. It’s a very natural perspective.”

“We take the AES film stems right off the movie sound track at 48 kHz, into a Midas console,” says Cosmos, describing his quite radical approach to the cinema system. “That upticks them to 96 kHz and then they are distributed via the d&b R1 Remote network straight to the D80 amplifiers. The beauty of the V-Series is how it performs when the three high stacks are fully open at 14° splay, giving each compact system 42° of vertical dispersion. For this situation that’s when they sound their best, and it also suits our design thesis, which is to place the sound reinforcement system as close to the natural position of sound origin as possible.”

“The reaction has been really impressive,” states Conner, referring to the kind of feedback directors have been giving: “‘I’m hearing things now that I haven’t heard since we assembled the sound track in the studio’ or ‘finally I can hear it as it was intended to be heard.’ With the funding provided by a benefactor of the Philadelphia Film Society, those comments were as emphatic an endorsement as we could have wished for.”

Photographs courtesy of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Casey Rodger and ©Jeff Goldberg, Esto.

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