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Sound Technology helps kit out new Exeter University facility

The comprehensive installation includes an auditorium, exploration labs and a multimedia room, and is designed for maximum flexibility of configuration and usage.

The University of Exeter’s new multi-million pound Forum project has transformed the heart of the Streatham Campus and provided it with a new centrepiece.

The mix of outside and inside space includes an auditorium, two technology-rich exploration labs, a multimedia room (featuring three fully specific editing stations with 60-inch preview monitoring), seminar training room, and the seminar block and group study room — as well as a new student services centre, refurbished library, retail and catering outlets.

Sir Robert McAlpine, the main contractor to the University of Exeter, commissioned GV Multi-media with the task of providing and integrating the AV system in the Forum to a specification put together by consultants Buro Happold.

For this they were helped by the Harman Pro tools provided by UK and Eire distributors, Sound Technology. These included products from the Crown, dbx and JBL cinema portfolio, constructed around a BSS Soundweb digital network.

Designed for flexibility of content, including musical presentations and cinema-quality screening of films, the Alumni Auditorium benefits from a fully-integrated industry-standard specification, including HD widescreen projection, IPTV streaming and videoconferencing — all operating under Crestron control.

All audio within the auditorium is transported through CobraNet protocol devices – including BSS Soundweb DSP and streamed to appropriate areas via a pair of high-performance Ethernet switches installed in a separate remote amplifier rack.

The JBL speaker set up features Crown CTs powered JBL ScreenArray cinema range cabinets, housed flush to the screen, to accommodate the left, right and centre channels — and an ARS (Assisted Reverb System) as part of a 7.1 surround system.

Elsewhere, the first Exploration Lab also boasts a full AV spec with the audio passed into a DSP to allow routing, via a Crown CTs 600 power amplifier, to a pair of JBL CBT 100LA line array column speakers – also providing record outputs for an Echo360 lecture capture.

In the Exploration Labs’ Group Study room, complete with ten 60-inch wall-mounted flat panel displays, the in-room audio is provided by four further JBL CBT 100LAs – one in each corner of the room.

The Soundweb network itself is built around a pair of BLU-800s, offering a total of 24in x 12out with a combination of standard and AEC input cards; for the routing and processing, an 8-input BLU-32 in the lectern for source audio and lectern microphone with phantom power; and a 4U mobile stagebox comprising a BLU-320 (16in) and BLU-BOB2 breakout (offering an additional eight outputs) with XLR patch-rail. This was connected using the highly cost-effective BSS BLU-Link fault tolerant buss to minimise the CobraNet requirement.

A BLU-32 (12-out) in the amplifier rack drives the stack of three CTs 600, two CTs 1200 and two CTs 2000 power amplifiers while a further BLU-32 is used in conjunction with the artificial reverberation system.

All of the inter-system audio is run via Cobranet and through the implementation of this within the DSP construct allows routing and rerouting of the audio around the system, with one-button control on the Crestron system allowing the users to switch from performance to lecture to cinema modes in a matter of seconds.