New York, NY | February, 2018 - With 218 million account holders in more than 200 markets worldwide, PayPal needs little introduction. Headquartered in San Jose, California, the online payment platform maintains more than a dozen other offices around the USA and many more around the globe. In 2015, PayPal's New York City office moved to a 1911-vintage building at the corner of Morton and Washington Streets in the West Village. Among the recent modifications was the creation of a new auditorium, dubbed "Central Park," which features dual video monitors and a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC Live Gen5 digitally steerable line arrays.
"PayPal took out a section of flooring between the first and second floor and made kind of an all-hands meeting space," explains Mark Voutas of Conference Technologies, which designed and installed the AV system. "It's an open space; you walk right in off the main floor. The space is set up like an auditorium or movie theater, with tiered seating, and seats about 100 people. You also can sit or stand up along the top rail and look down at the presentation. We installed a pair of NEC video monitors to make a sort of mini video wall, and the main sound system is a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RN digitally steered arrays, with one speaker inset on the outer side of each monitor."
The space is most often used for videoconferencing, as well as for teleconferencing and presentations, so the main sound system primarily reinforces spoken word. For example, CEO Dan Schulman can address the entire team from PayPal's San Jose headquarters. "When they don't have meetings going on in there, they have a dedicated PC and a cable box that can play on the system, as well as a little bit of low background audio," Voutas details.
In choosing a loudspeaker system, the Conference Technologies team considered the many reflective surfaces, including the wooden seating structure and surrounding glass along the second-floor railing. Some steel beams were removed to create the space but a large, weight-bearing column unavoidably remains in a central spot. Although the staff's cubicles are not close to "Central Park," most of the second floor holds conference rooms and small meeting rooms, so the team had to account for that as well.
"One of the most important reasons for choosing Renkus-Heinz IC Live was to be able to steer the sound to the proper areas and not have it bouncing all over the place, including the second-floor conference rooms," notes Voutas. "The goal was to focus the speakers so they fill the seating area and keep the sound confined to the seating area."
Each Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RN array employs five 6.5-inch cone transducers and three 1-inch high-frequency titanium nitride compression drivers. As many as four sonic beams per array can be defined and aimed up and down, while the slim enclosure remains vertical and inconspicuous. The array's 150° horizontal dispersion can be adapted using presets in Renkus-Heinz' RHAON software. This combination of features enabled the Conference Technologies team to position the ICL-F-RN where desired, adjacent to the monitors, and accomplish the goal of keeping the sound focused on the audience within the space.
"One challenge was getting video monitors that were the right size to fit the design, and could be placed at the right height," Voutas avers. "Having done that, the ICL-F-RNs were a good choice because they are compact and slender, and that, along with their steerable beams, let us place them adjacent to the monitors while directing the sound where we wanted it."
The second-floor areas just outside of and surrounding the auditorium are served by three audio zones equipped with pendant speakers. "The pendant speakers help infill a bit of audio, and the staff can turn them off independently," details Voutas. "So if they're just doing a small meeting and want to have cable TV on in the auditorium, they can just use the Renkus-Heinz system, and the upper speakers won't disrupt people working on the second floor. They also can play some light music up there if they have an event going on and don't want to have everything blasting through the front arrays." Crestron wall panels provide basic system control.
"We're a core systems integrator for PayPal and do a lot of challenging spaces for them," Voutas reveals. "This wasn't an elaborate system but we needed to get it right, and we are very pleased with the results we're getting from the Renkus-Heinz IC Live system."