Detroit Science Museum Sheds Light On Sound

A revamped sound exhibit of the Detroit Science Center is now an eyeful, thanks to the installation of Chauvet Colortubes EQ by DJS Commercial. The LED tubes offer the unique possibility of mounting a realtime sound frequency visualizer. As a result, visitors in the experimental room view and show off the sound they create. Each tube can be addressed to respond to a different frequency, from bass to treble, in the pulsating manner of a graphic equalizer on your stereo. DJS Commercial hung 28 of them horizontally encased in a window, so that they can be seen flashing from outside the Jam Room and throughout the center.

Next, designers turned their attention to the room itself. Exhibit facilities manager Ed Gorczyk wanted to give it a high tech feel. The 15-square-foot room was set up like a Saturday Night Live stage of the 1970s with a huge, slowly whirling fan set into the wall behind metal grates and 30 PAR cans hanging from four black pipes that illuminated a stage where children played a variety of musical instruments.

The PAR cans were controlled by a “bulky… 48-channel console, whose sole purpose was to run a slow boring chase,” says DJS A/V systems integrator Dennis Danneels, and they created excessive heat. DJS Commercial replaced them with 30 LEDsplash Jr. washlights and four LED Techno Strobes RGB. The move to LED fixtures lowered the room temperature by 10 degrees and decreased the power demands of the area from 15,000 watts to 438 watts, to the delight of museum officials.

“By going LED, we draw only 20 percent of the previous load, which reduces damage to our environment while lowering operational costs as well,” Gorczyk explains. The fixtures and instruments are linked by MIDI control via Chauvet ShowXpress, turning a simple drum roll into a strobing and colorful spectacle. Additionally, a number of lights are set to sound-active mode, which allows vocalists to have a visual impact as well.

Staffers and visitors alike are ecstatic with the display’s new functionality and popularity. “The Jam Room is one of our more popular exhibits and the EQ tubes are the big draw,” Gorczyk notes.

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