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Auditorium Hall Upgrade at University of Rhode Island, Part 1

Jul 1, 2013 2:41 PM, With Bennett Liles


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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

With all of the events coming along for Edwards Hall Auditorium at the University of Rhode Island, the old sound system couldn’t handle it and Adtech Systems was called in to modernize and upgrade the place with a Bose RoomMatch system. James Welsh and Charlie Crane are here to tell us how they made it happen, coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: James and Charles, thanks for being with us on the SVC Podcast and I believe you’re up there in Massachusetts?

James Welsh: That’s correct.

Okay, with Adtech Systems. And we’re talking about a big project at Edwards Hall Auditorium on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus and the sound system that you put in there. But first, tell me something about Adtech Systems, James. What’s been going on there?

Welsh: We’ve been keeping real busy doing our system installations up here. We’re just west of Boston in Sudbury, Mass. We’ve got about 115 people working here, and all we do is audio/visual installations and we keep pretty busy doing it. [Timestamp: 1:22]

And as long as you’re specializing in one thing, you probably do it very well. The Edwards Hall Auditorium looks like a fairly busy place and they wanted a versatile system installed. Now James, how did you get into this project? Had you worked for the university before or was it just a bid process?

Welsh: We actually do quite a bit of work for the University of Rhode Island, and this was an instance where they engaged us. It was competitive, but it was a competitive design/build, not just a bid. So it was actually our design. [Timestamp: 1:50]

And it looks like a situation where they needed good speech intelligibility but also to be able to handle a lot of different things, just about any kind of event that they might want to have in there and I think they use this place for lots of things. Charlie, you were right there onsite. What was the big problem to be dealt with on this? Was it acoustics, architecture or just the number of things the system had to be able to do?

Crane: Well it’s funny because the campus’ architect thought that they had an acoustic issue, but the room is actually quite well behaved and very low reverberation and not a lot of bad reflections or anything like that. It really was just an issue of not having the proper direct-field coverage. Their existing system just didn’t cover all the seats, and the seats it covered, it had some bass issues and it just needed a fresh look. [Timestamp: 2:34]

What sort of a system did they have in there? Was the system that you installed a big departure from the type of sound system they had in there previously?

Crane: Yeah, they actually had sort of a two-prong system. They had a little 3.1 system across the front for when they watch movies—just a left, right and center. The problem with that system was that when you were seated up in the balcony you couldn’t even see the center speaker, so it really was only effective for people on the first floor there. The central cluster was a little bit better at covering the hall for speech reinforcement, but the cluster didn’t have enough vertical dispersion to cover all the seats. And then it also overshot the first couple of rows a little bit, so there wasn’t the high frequency coverage down low. And because the room is so wide and it’s not very deep, and it has that very big balcony, a majority of the listeners were relying entirely on over-balcony and under-balcony fill speakers of which, incidentally, there weren’t enough of. So the room just kind of had issues all around. [Timestamp: 3:38]

And so you guys came in there and what did you do, just go ahead and rip out the whole previous system all together?

Crane: We did predominantly. We leveraged some of the existing under-balcony speakers. We repositioned them and we added to them so that they had proper coverage, underneath especially. And yeah, and we just went with the progressive arrays to cover pretty much the entire room. [Timestamp: 4:00]



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