DUBUQUE, IOWA: Located in the city of the same name, the University of Dubuque is a private Presbyterian university in Iowa that educates 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. The school recently finished construction on its new Performing Arts and Campus Center, which features a 1000-seat performance hall and a flexible black box theater that can be arranged to seat anywhere between a twenty- and two hundred-member audience. A flexible backstage paging system centered on a single Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 open architecture, fixed I/O DSP paired with four Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remotes provides exceptional functionality on a very tight budget.
Threshold Acoustics (Chicago, Illinois) designed the FOH and backstage sound reinforcement systems, and Professional Audio Designs (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) installed them. “This was a challenging project because the building itself ran over budget and the university was forced to make deep cuts elsewhere,” explained Kim Leonard, president of Professional Audio Designs and a Dubuque native. “We worked with Threshold Acoustics to value engineer the system to about half the cost, with as little reduction in functionality, performance, and reliability as possible.”
The auditorium, which will host lectures, ceremonies, dramatic productions, musical productions, and concerts, as well as religious services, features an Allen & Heath iLive console at FOH, with QSC amplification and EAW loudspeakers and subwoofers. The black box theater, which has abundant infrastructure to allow stage positioning in any cardinal direction, as well as theater in the round, features a smaller version of the auditorium’s FOH system. Although there were savings to be found in the FOH systems by a careful reconsideration of the design, savings elsewhere would spare as much of the original FOH design as possible.
The backstage paging system can be shared between the two spaces, or it can be separated. Each venue has its own portable stage manager console, which includes a Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote that allows simple push-button user control over page destination. Two additional ARC-2e, located at the tech table position and at the FOH mix position, provide paging system communication. The Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 DSP collects the microphone inputs from those locations, performs the necessary output matrixing as determined by the ARC-2e wall panel remotes, and provides input- and loudspeaker-conditioning to maximize intelligibility. QSC amplifiers power 70-volt Atlas loudspeakers.
“With configurable open architecture programming, the Symetrix SymNet Solus 8 DSP is very flexible and yet also cost-effective,” said Leonard. “It provides a uniform paging environment throughout the facility with all of the intuitive functionality we needed. It allowed us to work within the revised budget without sacrificing performance or reliability.”
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