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Modern Government AV, Part 1

Mar 12, 2013 11:13 AM, WIth Bennett Liles

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The tech guy!

The tech guy, yeah. His name is Cameron Rupert, by the way. He’s a really great guy and played an integral part in making this a success. He wanted to have access from all three of these rooms kind of quickly, you know? If they’re in the middle of a court proceeding and they need to put something up on the audio or the video system and there’s a problem, it would be great for him not to interrupt the courtroom and kind of barge in there and open up the rack and, you know, look for everything. He wanted something that could be accessible from anywhere. [Timestamp: 7:05]

And they’ve got some very high stakes things going on when they’re in business there.

Yeah, absolutely. So the Ashly you can put on the local network there and access all of the features remotely, which was just a stellar point for him in that he could literally sit in his server room and pull up those specs and change what he needed to change. The other way that these amplifiers made this very future-proof for the courthouse is that we left, I think, a total of, let’s see six extra outputs. So if they wanted to add speakers in the future or if they wanted to add any sort of other recording devices they could certainly do that, as well as inputs for utilizing two or, I think maybe three at this point, inputs out of the eight, so they have plenty of room to grow. The other great thing about the Ashly that made this a perfect fit is its matrixing capability. So you go in there with your eight inputs and your eight outputs and you can matrix those together in any order you want in real time. That was certainly a bonus for them. [Timestamp: 8:08]

So it’s just basically reprogramming. If they come up with a modification or add a room somewhere it’s just a matter of adding the local hardware and reprogramming the existing system.

Yeah, exactly. The other great feature too, which is pretty important, is the automix. You get the witnesses that go in there that testify that might be a bit soft-spoken, and that obviously has to be compensated for. The amplifier is intelligent enough that it will compensate that immediately. You can set it for delayed. Tthere’s all sorts of different ways you can approach that, as well as audio EQing. It learns over a period of time, in their case I would set for a week, so over the course of a week it will learn what frequencies are hot in the room and slowly eliminate those until it sort of tunes itself. [Timestamp: 8:53]

What do they use for mics in there? What type of mics do they use? Do they have area mics or do they actually put mics on people or use desk mics?

Yep, they’ve got some of the Audio-Technica mini desk mics there, those little condensers. They have them on every desk, the witness stand, the judge’s stand, and those are all fed into a, I call it the black box. It’s sort of a government-certified recording device that every time it’s turned on it’s recording in sort of an off-location site that’s backed up to the server. And it’s government certified. We couldn’t mess with it. All we know is we had an RCA out to work with. [Timestamp: 9:29]

Ah, well, that sort of narrows down all the possibilities when you’ve only got one little connector to attach everything to.

Right. Exactly. And that was also very tricky because that box controls the gain and phantom power of the microphones, so we definitely needed a processor in there that would be reactive. You know, if someone would change the gain in the black box, we would need the amplifier to react immediately and correct itself to avoid any potential problems. [Timestamp: 9:58]

And I guess while things are going on, the judge actually has control over everything.

Right. He does. Now in theory, he shouldn’t have to, and I’m not exactly sure if Cameron gave them that option. It’s all IT-based, so in theory the judge could access any of the controls any time just through a simple web browser from his stand. I think at this point, Cameron sort of takes care of all the tuning if there are any problems. Now the video matrix is another story. The judge and some of the other workers there at the courthouse do have a lot of access to the matrixing program.

Yeah, I guess there are some times when the jury needs to see some things and times when they need to not see some things.


And they’ve got monitors of their own, don’t they?

They do. It’s pretty neat. They’re motorized. I think they might have actually been born in the home theater world. They’re a product of hiding your flatscreen TV. But they’re the traditional jury stand has those nice wooden dividers, and out of the tops of those will rise a flatscreen monitor. I think it’s one monitor to every two jury persons. But they’re all synchronized and motorized. It looks really nice. [Timestamp: 11:10]

That was a big step for them in the courthouse and I guess it took a while for them to get their feet on the ground with this. Was there any training involved with the new system?

There was. Again, I trained Cameron Rupert, which was the tech coordinator, I guess is what we would call him, for the county. And then he was responsible for training every other person that needed to know. I think their main goal was to not train as many people as possible to kind of keep the system intact for as long as possible. [Timestamp: 11:36]

A leap ahead of what they had before. Thanks for telling us about it. Shawn Snider from RG Sound and Communications in Celina, Ohio. In part two we’ll talk about the ceiling speakers and the NTI AV matrix switching. Thanks for being here with us.

Thanks for having me.

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