Updated: Apr 26
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses and venues have taken advantage of less visitor traffic, temporary closures, modified business hours, and remote employees. These factors have also driven demand in the AV Installation and System Integration industry. It's the perfect time to consider that much needed update to aging audio and video systems. MFi Pro recently completed two such projects in the Green Mountain State of Vermont.
Recital Hall Renovation and History
As early as the fall of 2019, the University of Vermont in Burlington announced plans for major renovations to their renowned Recital Hall. This included upgrades to improve acoustics, construct a new stage, improve house lighting, the addition of a green room, storage, and reupholstered seats in the house. It was the first renovation since the Hall was originally built in 1974.
In spite of this, the original architectural design was considered acoustically progressive for the time. Features included twelve-inch-thick concrete walls, a 22-foot ceiling, built-in wood sound panels and strategically placed drapes which were designed for sound enhancements.
The building has the unique combination of a curved lobby and the recital hall’s “sculptural” elements, which presented design challenges and an abundance of natural reverb; not necessarily desirable (or required) in every instance.
The renovation, in part, sought to tame this natural reverb while preserving the clarity required for orchestral type-performances. It also took into consideration the advances and changes in acoustic treatment science and methodologies over the last 45 years.
With acoustical and architectural considerations being addressed at the design and construction levels, MFi Pro set about creating a custom AV installation solution to compliment these new design features.
An in-depth look at MFi Pro’s UVM Audio System Design
For the Recital Hall, MFi Pro’s design combined Digital Mixing, Network Connectivity and Routing, Wireless Microphones, and Loudspeakers. We will look at some of the core components of the pro-audio and pro-video equipment used in this project.
At the heart of the Recital Hall’s Audio Design is the Yamaha QL-1 Digital Mixer. This compact 32-Channel console combines an all-in-one mixing, processing, and routing solution. It contains premium internal processors and stellar-sounding EQ by Rupert Neve Designs. It also has auto-mixing functionality, full Dante Network support, and remote operation capability through iOS devices such as the iPad or a Desktop computer.
In tandem with the QL-1 mixer, we installed Yamaha’s Rio3224-D2; a high-performance I/O Rack unit with built-in Dante audio networking. The Rio 3224-D2 plays a critical role in supporting the performance capabilities of the QL-1 console offering extensive freedom for multi-unit combinations, placement, connectivity, and flexible configuration. It features redundant power supplies for extremely reliable performance.
For those unfamiliar with Dante, Audinate is well respected in the AV Industry for their software and hardware products which use IP protocols to send high-quality Audio and Video signals over standard IP Networks, with perfect digital fidelity. This essentially replaces bulky, noisy, and expensive analog cabling.
Several well-known Pro-Audio and Pro-Video manufacturers are integrating Dante into their products and Yamaha is no exception in this case. Dante is also designed to work with an exhaustive list of other pro equipment manufacturers leaving decision-makers a variety of options with brand loyalty in mind.
Meyer Sound and Yamaha Commercial Loudspeakers
Meyer Sound CAL (Column Array Loudspeakers) could not have been more suited for the Recital space. CAL 32 and Single Point models were used. These speakers were designed primarily for vocal reproduction in fixed installations. They produce a vertical beam of programmable width and then the beam’s pattern is digitally controlled (steered) up to 30 degrees up or down for clear, comprehensible, vocal response. Meyer is well-known for minimizing undesirable reflections and being the product to use in reverberate spaces, a long-time problem for this venue. Check out MFi Pro’s Meyer Sound Loudspeaker Page for more information.
To round out their speaker configuration, Yamaha VXC6W and VSX5 ceiling and surface mount speakers were also installed. VXC6W Series ceiling speakers offer superb music reproduction and articulate speech clarity. Premium acoustic performance with an elegant industrial design. Each has variable coverage pattern and frequency response. They are plenum listed and approved IAW UL 1480.
The VSX5 Series surface mounts are equipped with internal transformers allowing them to operate at both high and low impedance by changing the tap on the rear of the speaker. As a bonus, they are IP 35-rated for outdoor use. Flexible options include ceiling or wall mounting by way of the same bracket, eliminating additional costs.
Each model can be painted to match any interior in keeping with the mission and flexibility of Yamaha’s Commercial Installation Solutions. In terms of performance, they excel particularly well in public address applications. Check out MFi Pro’s Yamaha Commercial Loudspeaker Page for more information.
Reliable Wireless Microphone options
UVM chose the Shure ULXD4Q-G50 Wireless Microphone system. This four-channel rack-mounted appliance contains 4 independent wireless receivers – each with their own gain control and XLR output. With RF cascade and two Ethernet ports, these units can easily share RF signal and be networked together for simplified frequency coordination. Another example of networked audio; Dante digital networking allows multiple channels of audio to be sent over a single Ethernet cable.
With the stability of the ULXD4Q-G50 Receiver, UVM added an array of Shure wireless microphones, wireless body pack transmitters, and lavalier microphones, giving both lecturers and performers a handful of public address options. MFi Pro features Shure Wireless Microphone systems on our Technology page.
Visual Enhancements through LCD and Projection
To complete and incorporate the full spectrum experience, several video components were added. Installed were two Sharp Commercial LCD Panels (4T-B70CJ1U and 4T-B60CJ1U, respectively). The true-to-life precision of 4K Ultra-HD resolution with direct LED backlighting is housed in a slender frame. HDMI to SDI converters by Blackmagic Design provided HDMI to BNC connectivity and are also used to extend HDMI signals over long distances.
A Panasonic 12,000 lumen PT-RZ120BU Projector (perfect for open, high ceiling installations) equipped with a 2.3-3.6:1 Zoom Lens was the perfect companion to a Draper 150027B, RopeWalkerV 255” x 135” screen. Draper’s unique design integrates a screen and lift together in one ceiling-recessed box, eliminating the need for extra black drop between the screen and tall ceilings. A 34’ (10 m) vertical drop facilitates the installation of a large, electric screen which sits high above the audience’s line of sight.
Given the totality of quality components used in this project, UVM succeeded in creating a truly aural and visually pleasing lecture hall experience. MFi Pro was proud to be part of such a large-scale and historic renovation of the University of Vermont. The combination of new construction, an updated acoustic interior design, and our custom AV installation are sure to give UVM reliable, high-quality performance for many years to come.
UVM Recital Hall - Planning, Design, and Construction
Seven Days: "UVM Recital Hall to Get Upgrades, Addition Next Spring"
Yamaha QL Series Digital Mixing Consoles
Meyer Sound - (CAL) Column Array Loudpeakers
Yamaha Commercial Installation Solutions - VXC Series
Yamaha Commercial Installation Solutions - VXS Series
Shure Wireless Microphone Systems
Dante by Audinate
Sharp Commercial LCD Panels
Draper Projection Screens
MFi Pro - Creative AV Solutions