City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is an English-language public research university in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It became a fully accredited university in 1994. The university has nine main schools offering courses in business, science, engineering, liberal arts and social sciences, law, and veterinary medicine. It is also home to the Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies and Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study.
Designing high-quality lecture halls that deliver intelligible audio is an ongoing challenge, whether for universities or other public venues. To ensure that ‘every seat is the best seat,’ auditoriums must provide an optimal audio experience for all.
CityU’s IT Manager and Section Head of Computing Services Centre, Deep Batra, conveyed the university’s awareness of key principles that ensure a quality experience:
Clearly, creating the perfect sound experience in a large, dynamic space is more involved than what a typical audience member may notice. However, while this may quickly become a daunting task — even for audio experts — the payoff is infinite by the knowledge gained during assemblies.
With a clear understanding of what the university needed, the Bose Professional Hong Kong team worked closely with CityU’s AV team to enhance lecture halls one through four. Together, they designed a solution that not only meets their needs now, but also in the future because of the system’s high quality, flexibility, and scalability. After reviewing multiple manufacture offerings, the team created a holistic solution that met all the university’s requirements.
The design specifically ensured the networked audio solution provided a theater-quality audio experience, was scalable, and was powered by a high-performance, cost-effective digital signal processor. The solution’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the Bose Professional system components seamlessly working together.
The Bose Panaray MSA12X steerable array column loudspeakers, DesignMax DM5C in-ceiling loudspeakers, and DM8-C Sub subwoofers worked together to provide outstanding vocal intelligibility and tonal consistency — while complementing the existing building’s aesthetics. The MSA12X's proprietary Articulated Array transducer configuration allows wide, 160° horizontal coverage throughout the room. With its modular design, two of the lecture theaters utilize loudspeaker stacks containing two MSA12X units per side.
Known as a flexible DSP platform, the ControlSpace EX-1280C conferencing digital sound processor supports rooms of various sizes that allow numerous integration capabilities with easy configuration. Paired with each MSA12X stack, using Dante protocol to connect to the ControlSpace EX-1280C digital processors over the network greatly simplified device connectivity. The system is powered by the reliable and adaptable PowerShare PS404D amplifiers.
“This was the first time I’ve set up AV provisions for the lecture halls without any form of analog cables,” said Batra. “This is the future, where all devices will be digital and analog issues will become a thing of the past.”
“This reduced the audio quality variations across different locations, ensuring every seat became the best seat in the halls,” continued Batra. “We embraced this change head-on and saw immediate benefits.”
Knowing the audio solution will have a lasting impact on tomorrow’s leaders, the team agreed it was a pleasure to support CityU’s all four of the lecture halls projects. Of especial pride, the solution not only provides an ideal acoustic experience for all attending, but also improves the room aesthetics by blending the audio technology with the architecture.
CityU is now able to use AV over IP to inter-connect more than six large, separate spaces into one cohesive, virtual space that can seat more than 1,000 students. This efficient, cost-effective solution would not have been possible using traditional analog cables. All devices now reside on the university’s IoT network and managed by their network engineers — who provide an IP-address to each device and set its firewall rules specific to their security needs.