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Auditorium Hall Upgrade at University of Rhode Island, Part 2

Jul 18, 2013 10:25 AM, With Bennett Liles

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I know they do a lot of things in this room. I think it’s mainly a lecture facility on the university campus, but I think they have various kinds of musical events in there, too?

Charles: Yeah, they do lots of concerts. You know, they do playback for like convocations and student orientations. [On] Earth Day they’ll have different multi-cultural bands playing all through the day. The room is truly multipurpose. So the lecture hall being the least taxing use of the system, all the way up to sort of full-out rock bands coming in. [Timestamp: 5:17]

Is that a complete system with its own amps or do you use some other amps with those speakers? Where did you put the amps?

Charles: It’s sort of a married system, so the Bose PowerMatch amplifiers, they’re in a rack room just behind the stage, so there the speaker wire runs are probably under 100ft. They’re 8-channel digital switching amplifiers and they do some amazing patented things that really blew me away. You know, you hear a lot of people talk about patents and great technology, but this one really yielded some benefit in terms of the fact that it’s eight channels of 500W and their max current usage is 15 amps, amazingly. They actually do some power recovery as the drivers are dampening, like the woofers are dampening they’re generating a little bit of current after the audio signal has ended and while the woofer is still coming to a rest. It actually does some power recovery. An amp like this I would typically expect to see 20-amp draw, something up there, but in times where we’ve gotten into the job before the electricians have had time to put the extra circuits in, I’m just amazed at the output we’re able to generate without thrown breakers. So it’s sort of a testament to the technology and honestly I don’t fully understand it. [Timestamp: 6:34]

Yeah, I was going to ask if you ran into any kind of interesting electrical or grounding issues on this one.

Charles: We did have to have the school install, I think it was four additional 20-amp circuits to accommodate the amps because there were four of the PM8500 amplifiers in that system. But no, everything was quiet. No ground loops. It was remarkably smooth from a power standpoint. [Timestamp: 6:57]

Are you using all eight channels of those PowerMatch amplifiers?

Charles: Yes, actually all eight channels of all four of them. The RoomMatch mid-high boxes are bi-amplified and the double 15 bass boxes, there’s one on top of each of the two arrays. Each woofer is amplified discretely as well. And then the under-balcony speakers are two circuits of 70V, so we used the whole thing. [Timestamp: 7:25]

So you got in there, got it all hooked up, and rang it out and got into the system testing. How did that work out?

Charles: It was fantastic. With a room that has only three-quarters of a second of reverberation at 1kHz, it was like tuning your living room. It was fantastic. And now that we have plenty of direct-field coverage, I think their request was they wanted 100dB SPL throughout the auditorium and we were measuring peaks of 110db to 112 dB. And the speech intelligibility, the STI scores were up in the .7 range, which is basically as good as you can get practically. And the frequency response was real nice. It dialed in real quick. And one of the nice things about the PowerMatch is they have the drop-down preset EQs for the different RoomMatch modules that you use, and then they have an array compensation EQ curve so as the array grows in length it just, by nature and by physics, gets a little bit tubby at the low bass and the array compensation menu cleans that up too. So it’s really a very efficient way. It helps tune the room quickly and efficiently and as an integrator, you know time is money. [Timestamp: 8:32]

And so what did they break this thing in on? Was it something easy like a lecture event or did they go right into a more ambitious music performance or what did they do first with it?

Charles: Yeah, I think we walked out of there and the next day was like a convocation with a chorus. They actually work with an event rental company down there that brings in a big mixing board for the front end that they patch into the system. They kind of put it through their paces and we’ve heard nothing be rave reviews. [Timestamp: 8:56]

Well, with a high-profile local event, you’ll hear some kind of feedback right away when they do something like that.


So what’s coming up next for Adtech Systems? Have you got something coming up that you want to tell us about?

Charles: Actually a ton of bread-and-butter AV conference rooms, interestingly enough. There’s always a few interesting house of worship projects in the works. We finished up another RoomMatch room, a 1,700-seat auditorium. These big audio jobs kind of come along here and there, but a lot of real standard AV work.

James: We have one really unique project beginning at the Fogg Art Museum on the Harvard University campus; about a $2 million job that we’ll be beginning – actually it’s beginning right now. We’re doing a really nice performing arts space in that area as well. [Timestamp: 9:38]

Okay. Well it sounds like you guys are going to be staying busy and you’re going to become RoomMatch experts after a couple more of these things. I appreciate your taking the time James Welsh and Charles Crane of Adtech Systems and the Edwards Hall Auditorium at the University of Rhode Island modernized with Bose RoomMatch. Thanks for telling us about it.

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