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New AMPAS Office Upgrades with Sennheiser

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts andSciences (AMPAS) recently Expanded and modernized its main Los Angeles conference room, home to the AMPAS Board of Governors.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) boardroom

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts andSciences (AMPAS) recently
Expanded and modernized its main Los Angeles conference room, home to the AMPAS Board of Governors.

The existing conference room, on the top floor of AMPAS’ headquarters, had always been considered somewhat cramped, and had become increasingly unwieldy as the board added members. The new design called for incorporating an adjacent storage area, effectively doubling the space size.

Los Angeles-based Offenhauser/Mekeel Architects, the firm behind the restoration of downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station, oversaw the redesign of the AMPAS room. International builders, Warner Constructors, the firm behind many of The Disney Company’s theme parks, spearheaded construction. To create the room’s audio and video systems, and provide acoustic design, Offenhauser/Mekeel brought in Menlo Scientific Acoustics, who have brainstormed acoustical and presentation system designs for venues including the Getty Center and the Getty Villa Museums. Menlo principal Neil A. Shaw worked closely with the Academy and Offenhauser/Mekeel in the design, while Thomas Gregor Associates executed the A/V concept.

The meeting room is based around a hand-crafted wooden conference table designed by Fran Offenhauser, principal of Offenhauser/Mekeel Architects, and her project designer, Lukas Peter.

The sonic environment needed to be efficient yet invisible. As Shaw explains, “One of our stated goals was to create a sound reinforcement system that had a natural sound while providing clear audio reinforcement. We wanted people around the table to be able to hear the sound from any point in the room in a natural manner, as if they were sitting right next to the person speaking, rather than at the other end of the table.”

The room features a Sennheiser Installed Sound (IS) system containing 22 Sennheiser ME34 condenser microphones, a cardioid-patterned mic, and MZH3042 15-inch gooseneck mounts. Two Sennheiser ME36 mics, mounted on MZH3015 low-profile goosenecks, were installed on an adjacent staff table.

Audio is run through a MediaMatrix MM96ONT mainframe unit, connecting to four MM8802 breakout boxes. Processing is then provided via three
MediaMatrix RJ-Series DSP modules, which configure each position’s unique mix-minus-one audio content. Each mic station also employs a Happ Controls momentary push-button and LED.

Mounted above the seating area are 22 JBL 24C in-ceiling speakers, positioned to follow the oval outline of the table. Each speaker receives its own unique mix based on the mics that are currently active. Three Lectrosonics PA8 amps power the speakers. The system components are housed in a single Middle Atlantic 44-space rack, with an additional 40-space slide-out rack custom-mounted in the millwork for easy access to video source equipment.

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