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Zoned AV Educates the Public About Mercy Corps

It was a rush job, but AV integrator CompView came up with a design for the new Mercy Corps Action Center that took an open space and divided it into discrete, non-intrusive AV exhibits.

Mejia calls the design a “hybrid” of a traditional zoned system and more focused, standalone audio destinations. “I think that works really well, because we definitely need the flexibility to have the zones still be separate from those exhibits.”

Overall, the hybrid audio system represents a mix and match of different speaker types. For instance, throughout the Action Center CompView and Pinnacle Exhibits integrated four JBL Control 26c in-ceiling loudspeakers, a pair of SpeakerCraft AIM Cinema Three in-wall loudspeakers, a SpeakerCraft ASM67120 subwoofer, 14 Boston Acoustics SoundWare speakers, and three Soundtube RS500i open-ceiling hanging loudspeakers.

For the tower and station exhibits, where it was important to localize the sound, the design team employed various Dakota Audio MA-5 focused mini-array loudspeakers in different lengths depending on the screens they accompanied, plus two Brown Innovations Maestro display speakers.

The backbone of the system is a pair of Biamp AudiaFlex CM processors running CobraNet and a slew of Biamp IP2 dual-channel input cards and OP2e output cards. And to help keep the sound under control and enhance conferencing sessions, the system includes a handful of Biamp AEC-2HD echo-cancelling input cards. CompView designed a Biamp daVinci control screen interface into the Action Center’s overall Crestron control system to make managing the experience easy from a pair of Crestron TPS-6L in-wall touch panels.

“We used Crestron’s control system with a Biamp daVinci page for advanced audio operations, and the end result was the [staffers] that come in to work for a day, they can walk in and use the space,” CompView’s Shannon says. “It’s very intuitive and easy to operate.”

Power Down

Of course, no good AV design goes unchallenged. Just when Shannon and team thought everything was coming together, CompView received some bad news. The custom power-distribution system it ordered for the Action Center’s opening was late. In keeping with the goal of ease-of-use, CompView wanted to install networked management. Because many of the exhibits are PC-basedoften driven by network computers at an off-site locationthe designers wanted each source tied to a reset button in the Action Center. That way, according to Shannon, if one of the sources froze or crashed, an operator could reboot it from a panel without going into the equipment room or calling off-site.

CompView set up a temporary power distribution system to last until the custom system arrived a couple months after the center’s grand opening.

Today, Mejia and his staff are happy with what CompView came up with in such short notice. “The routing flexibility is really what does it for me,” he says. “You can go in and actually route anything that’s connected to anything else. It’s the thing I’m most thankful about as a technical user.”

Kimberly R. Griffin is a technical writer for AOL and freelance contributor to Pro AV.

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