Personalized Sound

Beaverton, OR - In trying to compete with the proliferation of high-tech bars and restaurants, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill turned to Raleigh-based systems-integration firm The Whitlock Group for a radical AV design in the newly constructed campus restaurant, The EndZone. The Whitlock Group was able to design and implement an immersive audiovisual atmosphere for The EndZone that incorporates a complete high definition video network and seven AudiaFLEX digital signal processors from Biamp Systems.

Because the restaurant can have a raucous sporting-event atmosphere at times, John Bailey, director of engineering for The Whitlock Group, designed a level of intimacy into the sound system for the dining area to minimize distractions from surrounding noise and activities. To do this, Bailey's design called for parabolic speakers above each of the 75 tables throughout the restaurant so that diner's could clearly hear the audio for their preferred programming.

To facilitate delivery of sound to each table, project manager Bob Jouannet used seven AudiaFLEX units to route and process the audio signals. One unit is solely dedicated to inputs, while the other six are configured with a varying number of OP2e outputs. Jouannet then installed 14 Biamp Logic Boxes that enable sound zoning from specific channels so that each table is able to concentrate on one channel.

Bailey's plan then incorporated an individual input and volume control at each table. This allows diners to hear the audio for their preferred program clearly without disrupting surrounding customers. Diners also have the ability to conveniently adjust the volume as needed without ever having to leave the table. This is handled by the separate Biamp Logic Boxes incorporated into the system that simultaneously receives and processes logic traffic from each of the 67 table zones throughout the restaurant.

"With AudiaFLEX, we are able to reliably deliver high-quality sound with even, controlled coverage throughout the dining hall in general. The power of Audia's processors allowed us to make EQ and processing adjustments to each of the 75-plus output zones individually. Using the Biamp Logic Boxes, we were able to then work on a much more intricate level," said Bailey.

"Early on, we were very concerned about the potential for control bus latency, especially considering the potential number of simultaneous users and a total of over 300 user control buttons. We knew that too much delay between a button press and corresponding event would probably result in people just not using the system. Our calculations and shop tests led us to project no more than a 250ms delay with about 50 percent the tables in use. The finished system well exceeded this specification with no noticeable delay at all; even during heavy usage times."

In total, the EndZone incorporates 18 large, high-definition monitors and projection systems as well as an impressive sound system and a number of interactive video games.