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Michigan School District Installed Sony Digital Powered Mixers in High and Middle Schools

Nov 15, 2006 6:43 PM

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Photo by Bill Lindhout Photography

When the Lakeview School District of Battle Creek, Mich., makes a good decision, it sticks with it. In 2005 following the completion of the new High School, Dale Bartow, technology services director for the Lakeview School District, researched an affordable digital-powered AV mixer to meet the expanded integration needs of the school’s sophisticated new classrooms. ICI, a Saginaw, Mich.-based AV integrator, recommended the Sony SRP-X500P. Following demos that illustrated the unit’s power, flexibility, and ease of operation, Lakeview purchased SRP-X500Ps for each of the high school's 50+ classrooms.

In 2006, following the total renovation of Lakeview’s original high school building to accommodate more than 1,500 middle school students, requests for proposal (RFP) went out again to local systems integrators. Ken Kuespert, head of Niles, Mich.-based TPC Technologies, included the SRP-X500P in his winning bid and in a model called "Classroom of Tomorrow," designed as a proving ground for teachers to train and provide feedback regarding instructional technology.

“The fact that two independent systems integration firms both recommended the SRP-X500P underscores the value of the unit,” Kuespert says. “The SRP X500P’s will control DVD, CD, auxiliary VHS, document cameras, four Atlas ceiling speakers, and Lightspeed infrared wireless mics. We knew the high school was extremely happy with their Sony digital powered mixers, and there was great logic in keeping the technology uniform throughout the school system. Most of the middle school graduates will be attending Lakeview High and they’ll be fully versed in the technology.”

Secant Technologies, a Kalamazoo, Mich.-based consulting firm specializing in computer network and AV projects for regional school systems, was contracted by Dale Bartow to design the classroom AV suite for the new high school. Company principal Alex Ellingsen selected Kuespert of TPC Technologies to provide a full system install for the Lakeview Middle School. Cat-5 cabling, wiring, coordinating AMX web-based control, DSP routing, rackmounting, and setting custom front panel lockouts were added in addition to the basic infrastructure to enable each SRP-X500P to be controlled by external computers. TPC also provided system training for Lakeview teachers.

“One of Dale Bartow’s primary goals was to provide a rich suite of tools to aid teachers without adding undue complexity to the classroom environment," Ellingsen says. "Secant specified a design capable of controlling all AV technology with a simple onscreen computer interface. The SRP-X500P’s RS-232 control capability was instrumental in achieving this result. Additionally, the unit’s feedback filter plays a valuable role as part of the sound field reinforcement for teacher microphones. Everyone is extremely pleased with the operation and cost-effectiveness of this Sony digital powered mixer.”

Thanks to the success of the initial two projects, Ellingsen reports that Secant Technologies recently released a specification for 110 Sony SRP-X500P’s for the Harper Creek Community Schools, bringing the total count up to 160 units.

“Designed to facilitate a wide range of AV presentation applications, the SRP-X500P is a flexible, expandable unit that combines a wide array of system control options to provide small to mid-sized conference rooms, corporate boardrooms, classrooms, and houses of worship with high-quality audio and video interconnectivity in a lightweight, compact [3RU] unit,” says Paul Foschino, senior marketing manager for professional audio at Sony Electronics.

The versatile unit combines a flexible mixer/router and four-channel digital power amp, with slots for two optional Sony wireless UWP series modular tuners. It can accept a maximum of four microphone inputs to provide a convenient method of mixing both wired and wireless microphones for AV presentations.

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