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Harman solution for Leicester uni conference centre

A redevelopment of the University of Leicester's primary conference facility called for the installation of a Harman solution, including JBL loudspeakers.

The University of Leicester’s primary conference facility has been fitted with a Harman sound solution, featuring JBL CBT7OJE loudspeakers and Crown amplifiers. The facility, located in Oadby Student Village, comprises a large central space, four seminar and breakout rooms, and a hospitablity area. Tasked with designing a versatile AV infrastructure as part of a redevelopment of the venue, Quadrant Visual Solutions turned to the Harman solution after winning the contract, with support from its UK distributor Sound Technology. EASE modelling found that the system design needed to fulfil two orientation uses for the room – landscape and portrait format – for audio and visual projection. On the side wall Quadrant installed two pairs of JBL constant beamwidth line array columns, in the shape of a JBL CBT70JE, sitting atop a CBT70J. At the far end, where a lectern and optional stage are situated, a pair of white JBL AC28 two-way (2 x 8in LF) loudspeakers are suspended high from the vaulted ceiling on tension wires, via custom brackets. The system is powered by a pair of Crown XTi 2002 amplifiers. By adopting the open architecture Soundweb London BLU-101 DSP (with 12 inputs and eight outputs), extended with the addition of two BLU-BIB 8-input break-in boxes, the facility can carry out automatic mixing without the need for a third-party sound mixer, recalling multiple presets. The BLU-101 conference system also supports Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC). This allows auto submixing to take place within the Soundweb environment, without the need for a dedicated audio mixer. AEC transforms the BLU-101 from being an audio system optimiser to being a multi-conference system from a single device. Four AKG C747 shotgun mics, for use at the tables, can be plugged into the system via a 12-way XLR patchbay, while the system’s parameter presets also allow for the room’s sound profile to be reconfigured. The Soundweb hosts its own virtual mixing desk which can be accessed over the network, dramatically reducing the development cycle. Responsible for programming the Soundweb and ensuring easy communication with the AMX Netlinx system was John Haywood of Jovial Systems. “The beauty of the Soundweb is its open architecture,” he said. “When the Conference Centre wants to switch orientation from portrait to landscape, they move the network link across and switch to the second floor box — the BLU-BIB simply reconfigures the parameter presets. All the complex work takes place within Soundweb so that via the master touch control it is simple plug and play.” All environmental control is under AMX management. Also included is a bespoke Extron SMX matrix switcher and scaler. Andrew Gahagan, Residential and Commercial Services, University of Leicester, finishes: “We are delighted with the sound system. We are far more flexible than we were able to be with the old set-up and everything has been designed as plug and play, so no technician is needed. We have been provided with plenty of inputs for the mics and other audio feeds.”