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SymNet Provides Quick Room Makeover At Sea-Tac AirportInstalls Symetrix modular audio matrix routing and DSP systems (August 05, 2004)
In an era of tight budgets, public agencies have to know how to economize, make do with less and get more out of their resources. In that spirit of frugality, the Port of Seattle found a way to move one of its semi-monthly commission meetings to a new terminal building at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport without dedicating space there solely for a commission chambers area.
The ability to make part of the new facility do double duty as both a traditional conference/meeting room area and a venue for public commission meetings was made possible, in large part, by audio communications technology from Symetrix, Inc.
With the help of SymNet, the company's modular audio matrix routing and digital signal processing system, the port is able to easily transform one large meeting room into not only a commission-meeting venue when needed, but also readily divide one large room into as many as three separate meeting rooms, each of which can be utilized simultaneously as needed. The result is a highly flexible, audio-capable meeting space that can be transformed on demand to meet the needs of a variety of users.
"SymNet was key for incorporating room-combining capabilities into the terminal project," says Brady McCoy, a consultant with Sparling, Inc., the Seattle-based AV consultants that designed the AV system. "Three integrators bid on the design-build project that we designed, with Creative Presentations of Redmond, Washington, coming up with best package of solutions for the installation. And their choice of SymNet was one of the main reasons we selected them for the job. They picked the right technology."
Nine SymNet units - four 8x8 DSPs, one 8In DSP and four SymNet CobraLinks - form the hub of the processing and routing of audio to the room, according to how it's partitioned for various uses. In conjunction with a Crestron Rack 2 control system that employs three interactive touch screens - one for each room - SymNet gives users the ability to specify the precise configuration of audio inputs and outputs required, and to do so with minimal outboard rack-based audio processing and minimal cabling.
When used for Port of Seattle Commission meetings, SymNet configures the space to function as a single large room. A portable dias that's rolled in for meetings consists of a council table, staff table and press table. The council table AV equipment consists of one 8x8 DSP that mixes five council microphones into the room and routes a mix minus feed to five council members loudspeakers. The staff table consists of one 8In DSP that mixes five staff mics into the room. The press table has an 8x8 DSP that mixes five mics into the room and provides five press feeds of a mix of audio from the room for record. Each of the tables plug into floor boxes which provide power and a cat-5e connection for the SymNet units CobraNet connection. "At each table, a SymNet unit processes the audio and then routes it to the equipment room where it's equalized before being routed to the speakers," McCoy says.
Audio is also routed from wireless and podium microphones and other sources housed in AV cabinets within the room to a total of 18 Tannoy CMS TDC 60, dual concentric ceiling-mounted loudspeakers through QSC CX302V amplifiers housed in an equipment rack. When broken into three rooms separated by walls, each room - measuring roughly 40x30 feet - is covered by six speakers.
"Each room has a zone of speakers, which can be combined or separated depending on the room configuration," says McCoy. "Separately, each of the three rooms also has two wireless mics. Additionally, each has a DVD player, a VCR and a cassette deck, as well as a fixed PC and a laptop plug-in."
In all of the applications, SymNet's DSP capability utilizes CobraNet, a system for routing audio over Category 5 cable. "It allows up to 64 channels to be routed over Cat 5 through a floor plate plug-in, which eliminates the need for having a large number of cables," he says. "We had to try to fit the cabling into an existing infrastructure, and if we didn't have that Cat 5 capability we would have needed a ton of cable and more conduit, which would have blown us out price-wise."
The AV integrator, hired by Creative Presentations to implement SymNet for the project, says the Symetrix solution was a must. "One of the primary reasons it was chosen was the limited infrastructure that was in place in terms of wiring," says Constantine Zachariou, owner of Azimuth Technology, Kirkland, Washington, the systems integrator. "The space was not initially designed or constructed for the uses the client wanted. A bundle of audio wires wouldn't have worked. There was no way to add that conduit infrastructure."
For Creative Presentations, the project was the first in which it has employed SymNet. Jeff Elston, regional vice president for the company, headquartered in New Orleans, says he's impressed by how well it fit the needs of the client.
"We had to have a system that could adapt to multiple room configurations, and that's why it lent itself to utilizing SymNet," he says. "SymNet seems to be an increasingly popular specification by AV consultants in our area. I think it's something that we'll work with again."
Since the official opening of the new South Terminal in late June, McCoy says the audio system is working as anticipated with SymNet as the processing and routing backbone. Thanks to its flexibility and ease of configuration, McCoy says SymNet will give the client not only immediate functionality, but the tools to expand if needed.
"The thing I really like about SymNet is that you're not designing yourself into a corner," he says. "It's so flexible that if you forget to add something or you design something and the client says, 'can we add this or that?' you don't have to buy more equipment, just change the software."
While the project was Creative Presentations' first exposure to SymNet, it was another in a long list of projects that Zachariou used the product. And once again, it proved its worth.
"It really worked perfectly in this application," he says. "I'm impressed with it once again."
Related Keywords:SymNet, modular audio matrix routing, Symetrix, Brady McCoy, Sparling, AV system, Creative Presentations of Redmond, SymNet CobraLinks, Crestron Rack 2, CobraNet, Tannoy CMS TDC 60, QSC CX302V amplifiers, Constantine Zachariou, Azimuth Technology, Jeff Elston,