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Reaching for the Stars with HARMAN at the Boston Hayden Planetarium

When system integrators at Boston’s Charles Hayden Planetarium decided to launch a major renovation, they called on Harman audio components and dramatic visual effects for a real edge-of-the-seat experience.  The result: the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England. Powered by full-dome video and audio systems, as well as a new Zeiss Starmaster projector, the recent reopening culminates a $9 million renovation project.

It was the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up during an audio/video demonstration,” says journalist Tom LeBlanc of Commercial Integrator magazine after viewing a full-house presentation of Other Worlds, a dynamic film about research on faraway galaxies.

The audio/video project was managed by New Hampshire-based systems integrator Sky-Skan.  The company began designing the system long before architects and engineers got involved in planning the rebuild of the iconic Boston theater. Beyond the outdated technologies, there were serious acoustical challenges with the original theater.  As the Sky-Skan team designed the audio system, fueled largely by JBL speakers, it worked with architects and engineers and brought in an acoustical consultant to ensure standards were met.

The 10.2 channel surround sound system is “the most impressive audio demo I’ve heard,” says journalist LeBlanc.  The system includes a dozen advanced speakers from HARMAN’s JBL brand, a similar number of amplifiers from our Crown unit, and digital signal processing from our BSS Audio team.

The newly-renovated Charles Hayden Planetarium is housed in the Boston Museum of Science, and provides visitors with daily virtual departures for outer space. Audiences can glimpse everything from actual images of cosmic phenomena to undiscovered distant universes.  The knowledgeable Planetarium also staff host Friday night stargazing at the at the nearby Gilliland Observatory, and they produce a monthly sky chart and viewing guide for visitors to use at home.

 Read the full system review online