Symetrix SymNET forms audio backbone for Texas schools25 October 2013
Texas’s Katy Independent School District, which serves over 65,000 students in the greater Houston area, has enhanced AV systems in four of its schools’ performing arts centres with SymNet Edge and Radis AEC DSP audio infrastructure.
Texas-based Broadcast Works handled the installations, opting for the SymNet Edge and Radius AEC open architecture running over a Dante network audio DSP.
“The old A/V systems were 1990s vintage and entirely analog,” explained Aaron Comer, project manager with Broadcast. “The system designer, Erich Friend of Teqniqal Systems assessed their existing systems and determined that they could transform the performing arts centers from outdated to cutting-edge by revamping only the front end and control systems. The existing QSC amplifiers and Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers were basically in excellent shape.”
The new systems make use of the Dante network’s stability and flexibility to send signals over long distances without copper. They also provide digital patch bays that allow users (including first-year students) to select among each stage’s 70+ inputs for allocation to a 48-channel Avid SC48 console.
Stage inputs include numerous wired input plates together with a portable rack feeding a SymNet Edge and SymNet xIn12 expander. The new system uses a stage-located SymNet Radius AEC to collect them for transfer to the sound booth via Dante. That same Radius AEC, together with a SymNet xOut12 expander, receives the final house mix from the sound booth (again via Dante) for output to the stage-located amp rack. In addtition, the portable SymNet Edge rack pairs up with a sixteen-count wireless microphone system or an additional twelve-count hardwired microphone collection and can connect to the system via any one of four Dante ports located around the stage.
Each sound booth contains three SymNet Radius AEC units with additional input cards, three SymNet xIn12s, and three SymNet xOut12s. Broadcast Works also designed a custom computer interface using Symetrix’ SymVue software that allows users to connect any input source to any channel on the Avid SC48 console. In turn, the console outputs 32 channels that feed back into the SymNet system for transfer to the amp rack via Dante.
For less elaborate events, Broadcast Works gave each school an iPad outfitted with Crestron control that would allow them to turn the system on with a minimal number of commonly-used microphones and input sources. The iPad gives them control over which commonly-used inputs are active, their individual volumes, and the overall volume.