UNCG Organ Recital Hall and the Birth of the RETRO-Passive Series

It’s often said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is most definitely true of how our RETRO-Passive® series came about. One job’s requirements made us push the limits further on what our RETRO’s are capable of doing.

The University of North Carolina in Greensboro has a 130-seat Organ Recital Hall which provides an intimate atmosphere, featuring a stunning 35-rank pipe organ made by the Andover Organ Company of Massachusetts. The recital hall also had plenty of old 1000 watt par lamp fixtures that were outdated. They weren’t getting the efficiency they needed from them. Lamps were constantly needing to be replaced. The heat issues from them were also getting in the way of tuning and performances. In 2017 it clearly became time to take advantage of the energy savings and longer lifespan of an LED upgrade.

This was not an easy chore though. The room is also acoustically isolated from the main building. Theatre Consultants Collaborative, who designed and specified the project directed the installer, Bandit Lites, to not add any additional conduits if possible. As such, everything had to dim via line voltage smoothly. The acoustic floor of the organ hall is also near zero, so any fan-cooled LED fixtures were out of the question.

Canto USA’s RETRO series was an easy answer for a dimmable LED retrofit that dims via line voltage. Usually, the RETRO-Classic™ or RETRO-Fusion™ is quiet enough for most venues, but this was a special case. Even the small fans on Classics could be heard on the floor at less than 5 db. Never to back down from a challenge, Canto USA started to work on developing a solution. Our 150’s are fanless but we needed to develop something brighter and this would require a much larger heat sink to dissipate the heat. This project is where our entire RETRO-Passive series came from. We were able to redevelop our RETRO-Classic 700’s into RETRO-Passive 700’s required for the project. The Passives produced no sound in the hall, absolutely 0 db on the floor.

With a solution in hand, Bandit began pulling wire, installing new controls, and replacing fixtures. Dark Lite recessed cans that used Par64 lamps were customized with the adapter rings and RETROs. They also customized uplight sconces with the already passive-cooled 150s, remoting the driver assembly to keep the profile low in the sconce. These were much brighter than the quartz they removed and had a wider distribution pattern that looked great on the walls. The RETRO series fit in perfectly, replicating the previous warm Par64 light and output. The smooth dimming and even wash were a perfect match/retrofit. The room was brighter, smoother, and cooler for performers and patrons. Altogether, the project took them about one month to complete.

“The RETRO has been one of our bullet-proof fixtures on the job,” said Andrew Fisher of Bandit Lites. “We haven’t been back to touch those fixtures and appreciate the support of Canto USA on the project!”

UNCG Organ Recital Hall Blog Article Photo
UNCG Recital Hall with RETRO-Passive 700’s installed inside recessed PAR cans.
UNCG Organ Recital Hall Blog Article PAR Photo
View of RETRO-Passive 700’s inside recessed PAR cans.
UNCG Organ Recital Hall Blog Article Sconce Photo
Customized uplight sconces with RETRO-Passive 150s remoting the driver assembly to keep a low profile.

RETRO-Passive®

CantoUSA RETRO-Passive Series Product Photo

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RETRO-Fusion™

CantoUSA RETRO-Fusion Series Product Photo

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RETRO-Classic™

CantoUSA RETRO-Classic Series Product Photo

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Customizing RETROs to Your Needs

The RETRO series was designed and patented around the idea that it’s a singular, modular LED engine that we can make a wide variety of attachments to best fit the lights into your specific can sizes. We frequently do custom orders for all the unique needs of the different venues we provide lighting for.

The bases we offer are Edison (E26), mini candelabra (E11), and bare wire. We have short, medium, and tall E11 and E26 base options. We can also do custom extensions for all bases, and we offer E39 screwbase adapters as well as BA15D Socket adapters so that our units can fit into those fixtures. The slopes of the reflectors allow for different depths. PAR rings that we offer are PAR 38, 46, 56, 64. Color temperatures range from 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, to 5000K.

If you let us know the dimensions you require and aren’t sure whether the RETRO will be a good fit, our custom department can build a sample for you to try. Rance Brewster, our Special Projects Coordinator, builds the demo fixture according to specifications, creates a serial number for it, and tests its light output for 24 hours. Rance uses several computer programs in his work in the custom department, including 3D Drafting, a 3D printing program, and a simulation-style program that allows him to make a 3D replica of clients’ spaces. The 3D simulations we run help to show our clients how much more light output they will be getting in their space. Additionally, the simulation allows us to remotely advise on optical layouts, selecting which reflectors need to go into which fixture. The fixtures’ foot-candle output and overall power consumption information is included in the documentation sent to the customers.

We at CantoUSA really enjoy the challenges of working on custom orders, and expanding our available options for you. If you have a special need or just want to give us a unique challenge, please feel free to reach out to our sales staff, and they will be more than happy to assist.

RETRO-Classic™

CantoUSA RETRO-Classic Series Product Photo

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RETRO-Passive®

CantoUSA RETRO-Passive Series Product Photo

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Brighten Your Day With Our RETRO Series!

We have written about several of our jobs featuring RETROs, and wanted to compile a few into one place for you to see multiple before and after comparisons. Our retrofits are a direct replacement of existing incandescent lamps in a wide range of applications. Specific socket adapters enable easy installation, and we have custom and standard mounting options available. RETROs are perfect for houses of worship, auditoriums, concert halls, convention centers, arenas, lobbies, and museums. We offer RETRO 150, 300, 500, 700, for example RETRO 150 is meant to replace a 150watt incandescent lamp. The switch to LED lighting drastically reduces power consumption and improves brightness. If you would like a project to be featured on our website, please let us know, and we’ll contact you. We would love to add your job to our gallery and help promote your business as well. To read the full stories of each job, please click on the names of the venues mentioned.

Located in Northern Virginia, McLean Bible Church is a great example of a house of worship that was retrofitted. Artistic Concepts Group handled the project, which required 208 RETRO-Classic 500™ units with 2700K COB’s and varying optics depending on throw distance and E11 stems of different lengths depending on how recessed the existing cans were. Artistic Concepts Group has also worked with several schools in Fairfax County (including Falls Church High School and Fairfax High School). Fairfax High School’s auditorium had E11 mini candelabras, while had Falls Church High School replaced 200 watt long neck A lamps, with 38 RETRO-Classic 500s without reflectors at 3000K with lamp extenders.

McLean Bible Church RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO Install Before After McLean Church Blog Photo

Falls Church High School RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO Install Before After Falls Church Blog Photo

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Fairfax High School RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO Install Before After Fairfax High School Blog Photo

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Clearwing Systems Integration, located in Colorado, Arizona, and Wisconsin, coordinated several schools’ RETRO installations within Mesa Public Schools (Dobson High School, Westwood High School, Red Mountain High School), as well as the Musical Instrument Museum. The Musical Instrument Museum used our RETRO-Passive® line, which is fanless. The RETRO-Classic is quiet, but the Passive is best when your environment’s sound is critically important. Dobson High School used a mixture of RETRO-Classic 300, 500, and 700, all at 3000K; Red Mountain High School went with RETRO-Classic 300 and 500 at 3000K; and Westwood High School used mainly RETRO-Classic 700 with a few RETRO 150s to supplement.

Dobson High School RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO After Install Dobson High School Blog Photo

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Westwood High School RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO Install Before After Westwood High School Blog Photo

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Red Mountain High School RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO After Install Red Mountain High School Blog Photo

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Musical Instrument Museum RETRO Series Install

CantoUSA RETRO After Install Musical Instrument Museum Blog Photo

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We hope having several examples of RETRO projects have you to see some different applications of our products! To learn more about our RETRO line, click here.

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