Eastern Illinois University's
Doudna Fine Arts Center
Charleston, IL (May 1, 2009)--Eastern Illinois University's Doudna Fine Arts Center boasts four performance spaces, a lecture hall and a recording studio--all tied together by Symetrix' SymNet.
A SymNet ARC interface panel sporting open-architecture digital signal processing resides at the heart of each room's audio system, and connects all the rooms both to each other and to the building's main concourse audio system.
Ben Bausher, consultant in the Audio and Video Systems Group at JaffeHolden, designed the system. Robert Galiardo, design engineer at systems integration powerhouse AVI Systems, Inc., did the programming and testing of the SymNet system with Jason Galvan, AVI installation technician, handling the bulk of the actual physical installation.
The team had to create a system within each of the venues that provided sound, was flexible, and could route sound and paging across any and all of the rooms.
Each of the five venues was designed with a specific purpose in mind and enough adaptability to stray considerably from that purpose when needed. The 300-seat "Theater" features a proscenium stage and an LCR audio system and will be mainly used for plays. The 600-seat Dvorak Concert Hall and 180-seat Recital Hall will host, not surprisingly, classical and jazz concerts with acoustics and stereo audio systems. A stereo/surround audio system serves the 150-seat Lecture Hall for presentations or film screenings. Finally, the Black Box Studio Theater is a completely configurable space with no permanent stage or seating. With a multi-channel speaker system that is free to hang from a lighting truss or sit on the floor, its audio system is every bit as adaptable as every other aspect of the room.
Within each room, a SymNet Express 4x12 Cobra provides all of the crossover, EQ, filtering, dynamics, and delay processing for the (mainly) QSC and EAW amplifier/speaker systems. Each room's SymNet Express 8x8 and 4x4 Cobra units provide processing that communicates pages within and across venues and sends program material out to the concourse audio system. Using a SymNet ARC-SWK control interface panel, users can select output audio from either the mixer outputs, a permanently-mounted Shure VP88 stereo and Crown SASS microphones, or a blend of both (cross-faded from the ARC-SWK rotary pot).
"Unusually low latency sets the SymNet system apart from other DSP systems," said Galiardo. "And that's critical for live performances. The musicians or actors on stage get their monitor send through the SymNet hardware, and it's fast enough to be essentially real-time." Galiardo was also pleased with the flexibility and breadth of SymNet's DSP modules. "One box replaces racks of equipment and affords me the opportunity to tweak each aspect of the system to perfection. Suppose we didn't anticipate needing a filter or an EQ for a particular speaker cluster, but while tuning the system I think it would help. It's easy and no more expensive to include. I simply drop it in to the SymNet Designer software and it's done." Noted Bausher, "The system can go even further than that if the users want to implement various routing, mixing, or processing schemes for recordings or live reinforcement. In addition, it can be implemented in a matter of minutes without the expense of purchasing additional equipment."
Users can position the Midas or APB-Dynasonics analog consoles in each room either at a typical FOH position or in a second-floor control booth. The sound-proof windows on the control room slide open for natural live mixing or remain closed for creating mixes on a pair of EAW UB12SE playback monitors that will translate to other systems. A SymNet Express 8x8 Cobra in each control room provides all of its requisite processing and routing functionality. SymNet ARC interface panels allow users to archive mixer output, live mic output, or a blend to CD-R, DVD-R, or computer hard disc.