Brighton-based pro audio, video and lighting integrator Penguin Media Solutions has recently completed an extensive installation into the University of Kent’s new student bar, bistro and live venue, Cargo.
Keith Williams, head of hospitality for the university, wanted a system that offered quality, reliability and, above all, versatility. A complex noise management study had been undertaken, so strict guidelines also had to be adhered to from the initial design, through to final delivery.
“We wanted to offer Cargo a simple, versatile but eminently capable system,” said Penguin’s director of operations, Dylan Thompson. “By using quality components throughout, we were confident that we could provide a solution that provided just that.”
The multi-purpose nature of the venue required inputs in various locations for DJ, live and daytime background music playback, as well as microphone inputs for use on quiz nights, for quick announcements, etc, without having to connect to the DJ mixer or live desk.
Capitalising on Penguin’s close relationship with Sound Technology, Harman’s UK distributor, a BSS Audio Soundweb London Blu-100, using Harman’s Motion Control iOS software, was specified. Coupled with Audio Architect programming software, the system can offer the required flexibility and ease of operation, along with powerful logic programming and audio processing to meet the noise management plan. The custom control panel on the iPad allows for background and stage level control, source selects, as well as more advanced options, whilst roaming the room. The signal is then fed to a brace of Crown XLS2500 Drivecore power amplifiers.
A Soundcraft Expression 1 console was specified for live use, its compact size, intuitive layout, 16 onboard mic preamps, plus the versatility of the Si digital stage boxes, make it an ideal choice for both students and guest engineers. Stage speakers comprise a pair of Ohm Total Clarity CT12s, flown either side of the raised stage using Mason anti-vibration couplers. A single Ohm Total Clarity CS218 subwoofer is concealed beneath the stage, again on anti-vibration mounts, delivering a discreet, bass reflex solution. Fill for the remainder of the room is courtesy of Ohm Total Clarity CW28 cabinets.
“This combination ensures that recorded music is faithfully reproduced and vocal intelligibility is exceptional, as well as reducing the amount of cabinets required for the area,” said Thompson. “Because of the sensitive noise issues, we worked with Ohm to create a ‘Penguin Edition’ of the CW28 which, amongst other small differences, gives us the ability to rear mount the cabinet with a Powerdrive anti-vibration bracket, offering an aesthetically pleasing solution that’s in keeping with the noise management plan.”
The video system is equally simple and effective and uses a mixture of eight 40in and 50in Panasonic Professional LCD panels located around the room, controlled via a CYP 8x8 HDBaseT matrix.
“The ability to mix live inputs with marketing messages and advertising from the University’s own digital signage box, along with Sky satellite, was important to keep the system totally flexible,” explained Thompson. “Chris and Stuart from AC-Video were particularly helpful in meeting the tight deadlines.”
“Penguin Media exceeded our expectations in every way,” comments Keith Williams. “The audio and visual systems they installed are of superb quality, delivering crystal clear sound that really brings the room to life. Nothing was too much trouble, from finding cost-effective solutions, to installing the equipment and training our staff. They bent over backwards to assist in every way possible and were a pleasure to work with.”
“It was particularly important to us that the quality of the products, the audio fidelity and the installation itself were clear to see,” concludes Dylan. “We’re looking forward to seeing Cargo at capacity, full of happy customers. The University has been great to deal with, as were the other contractors involved in the build. We really couldn’t have asked for more.”