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Roche AV fits Harman sound reinforcement at MMU Business School

The new £75m Manchester Metropolitan University Business School has received a full AV fitout featuring Harman Professional brands JBL, Crown, dbx and Soundcraft – designed and installed by Roche AV.

The new £75m Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMU) features sound reinforcement and control from Harman Professional brands through its many newly equipped lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

The school, which features a stunning glass atrium, has three 250-capacity lecture theatres on the ground floor, complemented by three smaller (120-seat). Higher up the seven-storey building are meeting rooms, which can be laid out in cabaret or theatre style, plus multiple smaller glass meeting rooms of various capacities. Roche AV won the tender for the full audio-visual fit-out on the University’s All Saints campus, providing technical infrastructures to suit the various rooms’ requirements. The spec included six JBL CBT 70J column loudspeakers and four JBL Control 1’s, 14 Crown XTi 1002 DSP control amplifiers, six dbx 640M Digital Zone Processors and eight Soundcraft EPM-8 rackmount mixers — all supplied by Harman Professional’s UK and Eire distributors, Sound Technology Ltd.

Having won a competitive bid, Roche AV’s Martin Clay was responsible for producing the technical specification (interfacing with some of the University’s own recommendations). “This project was ideal since we were handed an empty building and were able to plug into the new cabling infrastructure,” he says.

The three large lecture theatres and eight medium and small sized rooms are the main focus of the audio technology, while smaller rooms were simply fitted with projection screens.

Of his product choice, Martin Clay says, “I had used dbx processing in the past, and with six inputs and four outputs it’s a flexible tool at exactly the right price point, with the matrix element that we really needed.” The device routes inputs from the various playback devices and mics to any output, including PA and induction loop system in the larger theatres.

The Roche AV technical director had also worked previously with the JBL CBT 70J, and is a big fan of the Constant Beamwidth design. “They look extremely modern,” he says. “We needed something with good quality output that would throw the sound across the large area of the group study room and this was ideal. Also there is an adjustment, enabling it to be tuned for music or voice — which is another benefit.”

Deployment of the various Harman Pro tools includesthree large lecture theatres and three medium theatres, using Crown XTi 1002 amplification for playback audio and dbx ZonePro 640M for all audio processing; three MBA lecture theatres fitted with Crown XTi 1002 amplification for playback audio and Soundcraft EPM-8 8-channel multipurpose mixer for all audio processing; four small lecture theatres, fitted with a pair of JBL CBT 70J, Crown XTi 1002 amplification and Soundcraft EPM-8 for audio processing; four IT labs, each with a pair of JBL Control 1 Pro’s, and a group study room featuring a pair of JBL CBT 70J (either side of the projection screen) — along with a Crown XTi 1002 and Soundcraft EPM-8 for all audio processing.

The University itself had specified the Crown amplifiers and the Soundcraft EPM-8’s; these sit on a sliding tray at the bottom of each of the TeamMate AV racks. With their 60mm high-quality faders, the EPM’s are ideal — particularly for handling the induction loop requirements — while Martin Clay also praises the quality of the GB30 mic amp The entire installation operates under Crestron master control, which was programmed by Clay and his co-programmer Paul Nicholson, while the day-to-day project management was under the direction of senior engineer Craig Pickard.