Auditorium Jumps Into Digital Realm With Biamp

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Located on the St. Paul Campus of The College of St. Catherine, The O'Shaughnessy Auditorium plays host to concerts, lectures and theatrical performances every year since it first opened its doors more tan 35 years ago. Stage manager Kevin Jones and production manager Greg Morisseyturned to Bloomington, Minn.–based Audio Logic Systems to design and install a new digital audio network that could outperform the auditorium's current system.

For the project, project manager Justin Neill at Audio Logic Systems called on the advanced functionality and flexibility of Biamp's AudiaFLEX digital signal processor. The system employs an AudiaFLEX CobraNet Module (CM) so that front-of-house sound can be routed from the soundboard to the rackroom via Cobranet and processed by an AudiaFLEX platform.

"The sound system that we had in place was installed along with the building in the 1970s and didn't even have a DSP component built-in," comments Jones, "so we wanted to update the network to provide a truer sound for show attendees over a reliable network that could be easily managed for different room configurations."

The unique space can house more than 650 attendees on its main floor and an additional 1,200 attendees in its balcony seating. The auditorium features a moving roof that can close off the balcony to make the main floor area a separate, more intimate listening/viewing area. However, this unique feature poses a unique challenge for system designers because it requires an added level of flexibility and portability for the auditorium operators who need to account for the change from using line arrays when the balcony is open to speaker stacks on the stage floor.

To anchor the entire system, the Audio Logic Systems team installed an AudiaFLEX CM processor in the rackroom to facilitate the systems routing and processing needs. They also called on the Biamp AudiaEXPI and AudiaEXPO expansion modules. At the FOH mixing point, they added an AudiaEXPI analog and an AudiaEXPI-D digital to collect sound from the soundboard and route it via Cobranet to the AudiaFLEX located in the rackroom. This combination of analog and digital expansion units can facilitate the school's Yamaha digital mixer, as well as a visiting musical act that might supply itsd own analog mixing board.

In the rackroom, an AudiaEXPO-D digital module has been added to convert the CobraNet signal to AES/EBU to drive the d&b audiotechnik P.A. system. This EXPO module feeds digital audio directly to the power amplifiers, ensuring that the system signal is digital through the entire signal routing process.

"The digital component that we have built into this system provides a noticeable difference in clarity and significantly lowered the signal-to-noise ratio," says Neill. "And with the ability to use a CobraNet-compatible signal processor, we had much less cable to pull and an added level of functionality. While this is still a relatively new installation, we have had no problems or failures with the system."

For more information, visit Biamp at www.biamp.com. For more information on Audio Logic Systems, visit www.audiologicprosound.com.