The London School of Economics’ new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre in central London features an extensive array of Harman Professional equipment. Set on a polygonal site with seven storeys above ground and two high storeys below, it contains a nightclub, gym, bar, cafe, multi-faith prayer rooms, broadcasting station, dance studio, careers advice and student union offices.
Interpreting a specification drawn up by consultants Arup – to supply and fit sound and communication, lighting and staging systems in the 850-capacity nightclub/live venue – integrator LSI Projects constructed the digital routing network around BSS Audio Soundweb London components, before turning to sister company Soundcraft’s Vi platform for the main FOH and monitor mixing consoles.
LSI has worked successfully with Soundweb London many times in the past. Said project manager Ian Thomas: “We know its capabilities and know whatever situation is thrown at the system, it can deliver.” The integrator specified three fixed configuration BLU-100s (12 in/8 out) — one in the main space, one in the ground floor pub and one on the fourth floor. These route signals from six floors and the nightclub over the low-latency BLU-Link digital audio bus of 256 channels, which can be connected to compatible BLU-Link-enabled devices via Cat5e over long distances. Together with discreet BLU-3 wall panel remotes, this allows local source selection and volume control on every floor.
Each of the eight rooms has two local inputs and a global input from the main space.
Use of the BLU-Link provided an elegant and cost-effective solution, said Thomas: “The system throughout the entire building did not warrant an Ethernet transport system as the channel count between venues was quite low. This made the BLU-Link option the obvious choice as it is built into the device without the requirement of external cards or hardware.”
LSI Projects then turned to the main mixing platform, specifying two Soundcraft Vi6’s (connected via MADI to a Vi Stagebox 64 in/24 out to mix the music from the point source PA system). One Vi6 is used at FOH and the other for monitors, and the Student Union’s radio station will be able to use the MADI link for broadcast/recording purposes should the need arise.
Thomas added: “We recommended this [Vi6] desk in view of its advanced feature set and intuitive operation. The LSE uses freelance sound engineers to operate the system and every one of them has had nothing but positive statements to make about the Vi6.”
In conclusion, Nick Minshull, LSE Students’ Union bar and catering manager, said, “The Soundcraft mixing desk has allowed us to open a wider range of entertainment, appealing to the diverse student body we have here.”
Soundcraft and BSS Audio products are distributed exclusively in the UK and Republic of Ireland by Sound Technology .