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Tied Together

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A Campus Fine Arts Center Is Networked For Performance

CHARLESTON, IL—Eastern Illinois University recently completed construction of its expanded Doudna Fine Arts Center on its Charleston, IL campus. With four performance spaces, a lecture hall, and a recording studio, system designer Ben Bausher, consultant in the Audio and Video Systems Group at JaffeHolden, faced quite a challenge: create a system within each of the venues, engineer flexibility within and across venues, tie the audio from each venue to a common pool from which the concourse system could draw output, allow paging from anywhere to anywhere, and make the system simple enough to understand and operate so a fresh crop of newbie students can learn it year after year.

Each of the five venues was designed with a specific purpose in mind and enough adaptability to stray from that purpose when needed. The “Theater” features a proscenium stage and an LCR audio system mainly used for plays. The Dvorak Concert Hall and the Recital Hall will host classical and jazz concerts with stereo audio systems. A stereo/surround audio system serves the Lecture Hall for presentations or film screenings. Finally, the Black Box Studio

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Symetrix’ SymNet open-architecture digital signal processing system Theater is a configurable space with no permanent stage or seating. With a multi-channel speaker system that can hang from a lighting truss or sit on the floor, the Black Box audio system is as adaptable as the rest of the room.

Symetrix’ SymNet open-architecture digital signal processing resides at the heart of each room’s audio system and serves to tie all the rooms to each other as well as to the building’s main concourse audio system. Sym- Net ARC interface panels make control of the immensely flexible system straightforward and intuitive.

Within each room, a SymNet Express 4x12 Cobra provides all of the crossover, EQ, filtering, dynamics, and delay processing for the (mainly) QSC and EAW amplifier/speaker systems. Each room’s SymNet Express 8x8 and 4x4 Cobra units provide processing that communicates pages within and across venues and sends program material out to the concourse audio system. Using a SymNet ARC-SWK control interface panel, users can select output

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resides at the heart of Eastern llinois University’s Doudna Fine Arts Center audio system. audio from either the mixer outputs, a permanentlymounted Shure VP88 stereo and Crown SASS microphones, or a blend of both.

“Unusually low latency sets the SymNet system apart from other DSP systems,” said Robert Galiardo, design engineer at AVI Systems, who did the programming and testing of the Sym- Net system with Jason Galvan, AVI installation technician, who handled the bulk of the physical installation. “That’s critical for live performances. The musicians or actors on stage get their monitor send through the Sym- Net hardware, and it’s fast enough to be essentially real-time.” Galiardo was also pleased with the flexibility and breadth of SymNet’s DSP modules. “One box replaces racks of equipment and affords me the opportunity to tweak each aspect of the system to perfection. Suppose we didn’t anticipate needing a filter or an EQ for a particular speaker cluster, but while tuning the system I think it would help. It’s easy and no more expensive to include. I simply drop it in to the SymNet Designer software and it’s done!”

Bausher added, “The system can go even further than that if the users want to implement various routing, mixing, or processing schemes for recordings or live reinforcement. In addition, it can be implemented in a matter of minutes without the expense of purchasing additional equipment.”

A SymNet Express 8x8 Cobra in each control room provides all of its requisite processing and routing functionality. SymNet ARC interface panels allow users to archive mixer output, live mic output, or a blend to CD-R, DVD-R, or computer hard disc.


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