Deakin University: Beam Me Up!

It Really is Almost Like Magic!

Words By: Christopher Holder of Alchemedia


I was at the Deakin Management Centre (DMC) to hear ClearOne’s BeamFormer in action and after all of the introductory chit chat it was time: 

“So can I hear it in action?” 

We set up a video conference between two rooms in the centre. One of the university’s AV team went down the hall to talk to me from as close as he could get to the Beamformer array, then walked around the room, until he was all but whispering into a corner near the coffee station. Throughout, the level remained stable and the response was always highly intelligible.  The BeamFormer can’t bend the rules of physics to breaking point, and naturally there’s an audible lift in the noise floor and  you  can  hear  more  of  the  room  the  more distant you are from the microphone array... but it’s remarkably good. 

“Sounds amazing. What’s it like with a room full of people talking?” 

We  were  about  to  find  out,  as  some  of  the centre’s senior staff and a ClearOne representative all filed into the adjoining room. Again the clarity and the consistency of level was remarkable. Inviting unfettered communication without any jarring artefacts as a result of ducking or auto–mixing weirdness

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New church spreads the word... with the help of EAW

Canberra’s C3 Watson has moved into its brand new, purpose built facility. Getting the best audio, visual and lighting system for the church’s budget was the priority as James Ling from Worship AVL discovers

Canberra’s C3 Watson is typical of a modern contemporary Christian church. It has a high standard of musicianship, and a genuine desire for strong production values. Having previously been meeting in a school gymnasium and experiencing all of the limitations that entails – such as weekly setup and pull down, poor acoustics and lots of ambient light – the C3 Watson team was very much ready to flex its creative muscles in a custom built and designed environment.

Key to this were the new audio, visual and lighting systems supplied and installed by Streamstone Audio. ‘C3 made contact with us through the connection with C3 Belconnen from the project we’d done there,’ recalls Tim Oliver, director at Streamstone Audio. ‘The initial contact was with Dave Watson from Production Audio Video Technology as they were looking for some independent assistance to ensure they were getting the best possible results from their available resources. Dave connected me with them and it all went from there. The whole project for C3 was such a jump from where they had been before. So we worked with them in more of a consulting role in the early stages, and then as providers and integrators for the installation.’

The church venue is an entirely new build on a green field site. As the church is in a residential area, stringent restrictions were placed on the building by the local council to meet its noise pollution guidelines. As such, the building is predominantly constructed of concrete tilt slab and features very significant acoustic treatment and modelling to ensure that the noise is kept inside.

The concept for the system was established with assistance from Mr Oliver at Streamstone and Mr Watson at PAVT. ‘The new system needed be able to take them to the next level and give their team significant scope to grow,’ says Mr Oliver. ‘The PA needed to sound “big” and have plenty of headroom to effortlessly produce the high dynamic range of modern worship. It also needed to have excellent speech reproduction. Lighting needed to be cost effective but retain plenty of creative scope and room for growth and video had a similar brief.

‘The system as a whole had to work well with the limitations typical of a church and its volunteers operators,’ continues Mr Oliver. ‘It needed to be easy to use without limiting creative scope, and have bullet-proof week in, week out reliability. Church systems need to be able to rise and deliver improvement constantly, as the churches operators skill set improves.’

With the concept set out, Streamstone, working with the church set about selecting the appropriate equipment that would meet the needs of C3 Watson. ‘On the audio side we worked closely with Dave Watson and the team at PAVT. The lighting and vision was primarily put together by myself with some assistance and training provided to the church by Jonathan Ciddor from LSC Lighting Systems,’ explains the Streamstone director. ‘The church took an active role. I met with C3’s team a number of times through the lead up to discuss their needs and desires. I then put together a range of options and solutions and worked with them extensively to marry the needs, equipment chosen and the budget together to a final solution.

‘All of the equipment was carefully chosen in keeping with the requirements,’ notes Mr Oliver. ‘The speaker system was a significant part of the outlay, with EAW QX596i point source top boxes and SB2001 subwoofers all powered by Powersoft K series amplifiers. Budget was an issue throughout the whole project and needed to be carefully managed. 

The EAW QX system was chosen for its sonic accuracy.JPG

‘The EAW QX system was chosen for its incredible sonic accuracy in both frequency and phase, its high headroom and the range of coverage patterns available, allowing us to use a single point source box per side without the need for extra fill speakers,’ explains the Streamstone director. ‘This kept the installation less complicated and with fewer issues to deal with regarding multiple cabinet interaction. The QX system combined with the SB2001s will accurately reproduce anything their musicians and sound team will be able to throw at it.’ 

A further reason for this selection was the ability to expand the sound system for future growth of the venue. ‘There are plans in the not too distant future to install a mezzanine seating area as the church grows, so the system was also chosen with that in mind. Once the time comes for the mezzanine, all that will be required is some small format delay speakers for greater mid high clarity,’ says Mr Oliver. ‘With this in mind the QX500 and SB2001 combination is possibly more than the current needs of the church dictate, but both myself and the church wanted to put in a long term solution now to minimise unnecessary outlay in the future.’ 

The other major component of the audio system is the mic package. For this, Streamstone opted for a combination of Sennheiser and Countryman. Three channels of wireless Sennheiser Evolution 100 series G3 wireless with two handhelds, and a wireless belt pack with a Countryman H6 low profile headworn mic have all been put to use. Alongside this, Streamstone also supplied some Audix drum mics.

   

The installation itself took two weeks and C3 Watson found an interesting way to help with costs. ‘The church assisted with the provision of several skilled volunteers to assist me and keep the labour costs well down,’ recalls Mr Oliver. ‘I think this can be very helpful for the church over the long term. Having people involved when the equipment goes in gives them a deeper understanding of how it all works. This puts them in a good position to expand and trouble-shoot in the future.’

As Streamstone joined the project at a relatively late stage, the timeframe was the only major challenge. ‘There were the usual time pressures of being the last “trade” to come in in the last couple of weeks before the building’s delivery but we love working under pressure,’ says Mr Oliver. ‘There were also some modifications required to some of the mounting hardware as things weren’t quite to spec in the finished building, but this was quickly handled by a local fabrication company.’

One of the important aspects of the overall solution is that it has room to grow with C3 Watson. As such, there are a few areas where Mr Oliver would like to enhance the system. ‘I’d like to see the lighting installation expand with more fixtures, and the vision system expanded to make use of switching and possibly live video,’ he explains. ‘One of the things that had to go due to budget pressures was a new sound console - at present they are using their existing entry level digital board, which while adequate is a limiting factor and not in keeping with the standard of the rest of the sound system. There are plans in the future for the purchase and installation of a high quality console to complete the picture. We loaned them an APB Pro4 for the opening to present the system with all of its capability.’

Despite seeing room for expansion, Mr Oliver is clearly very happy with what has been achieved at C3 Watson. ‘I’m very pleased with it overall, the sound system is particularly impressive, and the lighting and vision looks fantastic,’ he enthuses. ‘It was a great journey to go through with the church’s team - one of my favourite things about what I do is building relationships with people as we work through projects like this. It’s so encouraging for me to work with people as they come to the realisation of a dream they’ve had for sometimes years. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the C3 team’s excitement as we fire up their new equipment for the first time and grow into it - it’s why I do what I do!

‘The whole facility is an enormous blessing to the church and their community,’ continues Mr Oliver. ‘In so many ways it has taken them so far beyond where they previously were and is really lifting the profile of the church in the community. The production values are of a very high standard and as good as or better than you’ll find in any top end commercial facility. 
‘The church is very pleased - they are enjoying the learning curve towards reaching its full potential. A few weeks after the opening they had a major event for the community and it was great for them to take that to a whole new level in the new facility,’ recalls Mr Oliver. ‘It’s been very well received by the congregation. It’s our goal that production very much enhances a worship service and engages the congregation at a deeper level rather than distracting them. I feel we've achieved this well at C3 Watson.’

All pictures courtesy of Miles Libke

EAW, Powersoft & Symetrix “Jingle-All-The-Way” to Chadstone for Christmas

Chadstone, Sydney & Brisbane Shopping Centres came alive with the sound of QX in December. 
Gary Oliver & Chris Gauci’s Corporate Initiatives (CI Asia) delivered the perfect combination of EAW QX series, SBK150 Subwoofers, Powersoft K2′s  & Symetrix Radius to provide the highest in quality and controlled audio system to accompany their giant video wall.

In such a high-profile and highly challenging environment, the EAW QX lives up to the Chadstone demands, providing the precise directivity required, in a fashionable and powerful cabinet. Consisting of 4 x 12″ LF Phase Aligned Drivers and Co-Axial MF & HF drivers, the EAW’s were fine tuned in the early hours of the morning across all sites, with the all-too-happy security and cleaning staff receiving great pleasure in experiencing the 136 dB (RMS) output the QX can impart.  The Powersoft K2 DSP+AESOP, (One K2 per QX, Biamp’ed) not only presents a potential 1,950w p/ch (8ohm) in a compact 1RU 8kg unit, but crucially provides Power Factor Correction (PFC) for extremely low mains consumption in a venue that on average runs 10hrs a day, 7 days a week….all year round.

The K2 DSP+AESOP amounts to a fully integrated, highly sophisticated power amplifier that includes state-of-the-art sound shaping and system management capabilities.

Signal Routing…..Dynamic Ambient SPL Monitoring…..Redundant Switching………ENTER - Symetrix Radius 12×8 with DANTE Virtual Soundcard!

Symetrix provides a direct Dante audio link from the installed MAC Video Playback with ”Videro Digital Signage” using the DANTE Virtual Soundcard, and with the 2-Port Gigabit Switch built-in to the Radius, a redundant second MAC is always on standby.

Quote from Chris Gauci – Technical Director Corporate Initiatives  ”This difficult audio environment in a large shopping centre, was a first for Corporate Initiatives. But with the assistance of PAVT, we were able to design and install the perfect audio system within this acoustically complex environment. We had to have the right audio level covering just the right public space, without impeding on any of the shop spaces very close by. The Ambient noise sensing took quite a bit of calibration to perfect, but the customer is ecstatic with the final result across all sites.”

Discovery Church: EAW Provides the Direction

Discovery Church has set a new standard for audio precision and excellence in the House of Worship market.   The first of three stage-upgrades was recently completed, which now delivers controlled, high-quality audio for the congregation.

Based in Mount Evelyn, one of Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, Discovery Church is one of Melbourne’s largest churches, with 1,700 people attending services each Sunday.

PAVT’s Ben Clarke worked with the production team from Discovery Church and Paul Tucker from Mosaix Integrated, to blend the EAW QX & KF series loudspeakers, along with accompanying SB2001 Subwoofers and MicroWedge stage monitors.

The striking QX cabinets consists of 4 x 12″ LF Phase-Aligned Drivers with Co-Axial MF & HF horn-loaded drivers – while the KF394 is a premium 3-way loudspeaker, that offers even more capability and application flexibility with its ultra-compact enclosure for unprecedented utility.

The integration of premium components in the KF394 provide a –
LF 2× 10 in cone (Vented)
MF 1×1.4 in cone in a 3.5” co-axial driver, horn-loaded
HF 1× 1.4 in exit, 1.75” voice coil compression driver, horn-loaded.

Powersoft K6, K2’s and M50Q’s provide the power for the front of house QX564 speakers and the eight KF394 delay speakers around the venue. The incredible K20’s (with DSP-AESOP) power the dual and direct radiating 21” left & right SB2001 subs to align this well-balanced system.

The Powersoft K-Series amplifiers not only present immense power output, they are also all supplied in compact 1RU 8-10kg units, and significantly, provide Power Factor Correction (PFC) for extremely low power consumption.

The greatest challenge was to guarantee that each member of the congregation felt entirely engaged throughout the service, which includes live music as well as preaching. The EAW QX & KF loudspeakers meet this challenge and deliver the precise and full-range directivity required, enhancing the experience for everyone in the church.

“We are very happy with the new EAW speaker system and Mozaix’s superb installation. It more than meets our brief of a warm, rich and very musical speaker system delivering very high intelligibility to all seats in the auditorium, while minimizing sound spill onto the walls and ceiling, all connecting each person, regardless of seating location, to those on the platform” Peter MacLean, Discovery Church

The Common Room: EAW Shines in Crowns West End

$50 million dollars was Crown Casino’s budget for redeveloping the West End side of this prestigious landmark – with new gaming, dining and entertainment spaces.  There was one speaker brand that Crown and technology consultants Point of View (PoV) knew they could trust in their most stylish new Night Club / Lounge entertainment areas…EAW (Eastern Acoustic Works).

Corporate Intelligence, who were awarded the contract to fit-out the areas with class leading technology, delivered the Merrywell & The Common Room solutions with precision.

The Common Room, Modeled on the latest and funkiest bars in New York, has many remarkable features, such as the 200 inch screen behind the bar, DMX Stage Lighting and custom stage rigging.

Production Audio naturally chooses to focus on the most remarkable feature of all – the EAW QX (FOH), SBK (subs) & UX8800 speaker system.

The Common Room is designed to cater for live acoustic, jazz, rock, and all other acts that regularly book-out the venue.  From the “Opening Night”, the EAW QX system has consistently excelled and amazed patrons, providing precise directivity, with amazing sound quality, that Crown has come to expect.

The mighty QX cabinet consists of 4 x 12″ LF Phase-Aligned Drivers with Co-Axial MF & HF horn-loaded drivers – wisely selected to enable the perfect amount of audio level to be concentrated on the audience, without spill disturbing the surrounding gaming floor nearby.

Then come the sub-woofers – 4 of EAW SBK250’s – two per side. The Dual 15” Direct Radiating Subs are flown and meticulously positioned behind the QX speakers, providing the best possible sound performance in a well balanced, phase aligned and tuned sound system.

What about the “Optimization”??

Both EAW’s UX880 & UX3600 provide performance comparable to premium direct-radiating studio monitors… with the benefit of a much greater output level.

In The Common Room system, the UX8800’s truly delivers EAW Focusing to elevated heights. EAW is regularly developing and releasing optimally tailored, finely tuned filter sets – easily uploaded to the UX8800 processor, appropriate for every configuration and application.

The UX8800 feeds into Powersoft's flagship K series touring amplifiers - a K10, K2 and a K6. Powersoft amps have become a standard at Crown due to their power-saving green credentials and high performance.

Crown Casino’s approach is to engage people using sensory experiences. The West End project was intended to appeal to new and younger patrons. By delivering these pristine audio experiences is a significant part of making this come to life.

Quote – Stephen Sokolowski, Corporate Intelligence Operations Manager – “This was a truly challenging environment for us. For the client to demand such a high quality sound system in such an intimate space where varying musicians will be performing nightly, and even where major sports events will be televised. We needed ‘something’ that had such incredible control to keep away from the gaming floors, but also accommodate the full range and diversity that Crown expected. EAW again, delivered everything and more for us, and the PAVT guys were supportive every step of the way. Crown Casino are thrilled with the result.”

Ford Motor Company: “It’s like I can hear again!”

These words were used by the General Manager of Ford Engineering, after ProAV Solutions-Vic transformed the Campbellfield

Engineering Boardroom into arguably one of the most pristine conferencing environments in the world.

Equipment -

· Audix Condenser, Studio Grade Microphones
· EAW LS432, Loudspeakers
· ClearOne 880TA DSP

Six Days a week, 8 hours a day, is the average time the leading Engineers at Ford Motors spend in that Boardroom designing some of Australia’s most popular vehicles, such as the Falcon sedan and utility, as well as the highly popular Territory SUV

Crucially, much of their time is consumed participating in conference calls with various other local and international assembly plants such as Geelong (VIC), Argentina, China, Germany, India and the United States.

With having so many of these varying accents and languages all contributing within the same conference call, it is quite reasonable to expect that an interpreter be present to allow coherent conversation flow during these extensive and arduous meetings…

What is not acceptable however is for an interpreter to be present during conference calls between Campbellfield and Geelong!  This was an all-too-frequent requirement however, due to the poor-quality and unforgiving conferencing environment which had challenged these Engineers for years.  The old system simply wasn’t capable of allowing an English-to-English conversation flow.

ProAV-Vic advised Ford to go back to basic Microphone design…while shifting up a gear and delivering an unsurpassed and innovative Loudspeaker design concept.

When talking about loudspeakers that can adequately control 1khz wavelength, then the device must be at least 1ft in dimension to maintain that control. With such an oddly designed ceiling with obvious mounting restraints, ProAV needed to be wary about the energy that may hit the walls and the table, but still allow for the highest possible intelligibility of far-end audio coming in to the room.

Acoustic modeling determined that the EAW LS432i loudspeaker would give the best performance and achieve our coverage goals. The LS432i is a two-way, full range line-array with Four 4” LF cones, and three 1-in soft dome tweeters.

This remarkable Loudspeaker maintains a nominal vertical coverage pattern of 20° to below 1000 Hz. Even at 500 Hz, the vertical pattern is still 80°. Then, with the horizontal pattern providing 140°, this line source, “off-the-shelf”, cabinet truly claims to be the go-to-box for speech-only installations for highly reverberant spaces.

With the accompanying Clearone Digital Signal Processors, the only DSP system on the market designed purely for controlling and managing microphones in the conferencing environment, this combination proved again to be the leading “go-to” brands for conferencing rooms in Australia.

EAW, Audix & Clearone’s success is based on their ability to deliver system components that allow designs with real world performance, using reliable and straightforward off-the-shelf products that do not require enormous labour times in either installation, programming or commissioning – but still offer high fidelity sound quality for both the local and far end of the conference session.