The Hunt Library's Game Lab, which features a compact yet powerful 5.1 surround system from K-array.
Raleigh, NC (June 21, 2013)—North Carolina State University, known for its technology and research facilities, recently opened its new James B. Hunt Jr. Library, which features a complete audio installation from Sennheiser and K-Array.

Located on the University's Centennial Campus and designed by renowned international architectural firm Snøhetta, the Hunt Library is meant to be a 'technology sandbox'—a place where innovative ideas can flourish and collaborative dialog can be exchanged without restriction. During the design phase of the facility, Sennheiser became an official 'Powered By' partner.

"We had to find the right technology partners that could fit into our vision," says Maurice York, Head, Information Technology NCSU Libraries, NC State University. "Performance and form factor were very important considerations for us all the way through. We wanted to create a sound environment that brought this incredible visual environment to life, so visitors would have that 'WOW’ experience."

Scott Frey of Pittsburgh-based The Sextant Group handled the A/V design and supervised equipment specification for the entire project, and the installation was handled by Tampa, FL-based integrator AVI-SPL, a company that was chosen for their knowledge in complex A/V installations: "AVI-SPL have a quality team in the field and were one of only a few companies that could fill the requirements of the project," said Frey. "We were very confident working alongside them from the very beginning."

The library, which is comprised of more than 220,000 square feet, had several dedicated spaces featuring large-scale visualization, interactive displays, 3D motion technologies and other visual elements that would be complemented by the Sennheiser and K-array audio products. Frey explained that the K-Array products fit into the aesthetics of the room very well, especially with a small amount of available space to arrange the

"I had maybe 6" to work with for each speaker, and had to ensure the sound was paramount," Frey said. "Those 2" linear drivers on the KK102 really sold me—a traditional loudspeaker would have been twice that size."

Sennheiser's Eric Reese facilitated demonstrations in several rooms that were still under construction at the time, including what would eventually become the Auditorium. "Even though we knew the acoustical properties of the rooms would change, it was important for us to be inside the building and inside those spaces," York explained. "After we set up a 5.1 system in the Game Lab, we then went down to the Auditorium and auditioned several different types of music. The performance of the system just blew us away."
There were five primary A/V environments the team focused on for the initial installation: the Game Lab, the Teaching and Visualization Lab, the Creativity Studio and the Auditorium. Each space had a completely different technology focus and design program.

For Frey, the project was a resounding success. "This was one of the best projects I ever worked on and I got top quality support from the NC State personnel, the design team, the integrator and of course Sennheiser. The quality demands of the project were very high and required the best efforts from everyone involved," he said.
"The installed systems we have right now are just the starting point," York added. "We are seeing lots of potential applications for different types of speakers and ways we can use them in the different spaces, since they each have their own character."