Feature - Long-term technology
The new Changi campus of the Singapore University of Technology and Design boasts an A/V set-up designed to last, writes Richard Lawn
Representing the past, four antiquated Chinese buildings donated by Jackie Chan now proudly stand on the grounds of their new home at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The restored pavilion and opera stage together with the renovated Da Tong and Du Zhe houses herald from the Ming and Qing dynasty. As such, they have garnered star-like attention since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Hong Kong film star officially opened Singapore's fourth public university on May 8th. Within the extensive campus grounds, however, Electro-Acoustics Systems Pte Ltd (EAS) also applied its own autograph touch to the Auditorium and six main lecture theatres. These modern wonders are currently helping science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates to propel Singapore forward as a centre of talent well into the future.
Having opened its Dover Road interim campus in April 2012, the relocation to a permanent campus at Changi in eastern Singapore means it can currently accommodate 1,400 students in nine academic and residential blocks. Based upon its extensive three decade experience in the educational sector, EAS was ideally positioned to be awarded the tender to supply and install the vast audio, video and lighting systems throughout the seven venues. Although each venue operates in a stand-alone capacity, the challenges in completing the entire project within 14 months is a testimony to the preparations and attention to detail paid over an even longer timeframe.
The 900-seat capacity Auditorium is the star of the show and is used for graduations, ceremonies, musical performances and special events. As such it has been equipped with the most sophisticated A/V systems on campus. Powered by Lab.gruppen C88:4 amplifiers, a three-way Renkus Heinz system has been deployed in an L-R configuration consisting of separate hangs of eight STLA/9 cabinets and four CFX218 dual 18-inch subwoofers on each fly-bar. A third hang of six CF101LA-5 10-inch cabinets provides centre seat coverage. Powered by five Lab.gruppen E4:2 amplifiers, 10 CFX81 cabinets are employed as rear-fills, whilst five CFX42 dual 4-inch speakers powered by a single Lab.gruppen C5:4X amplifier have been affixed to the lip of the 1m high stage to serve as front-fills. A stage fold-back system comprising of six CFX121M 12-inch monitors individually powered by Lab.gruppen E12:2 amplifiers can be connected to any of the neatly concealed facility panels.
In addition, announcements and BGM can be played in the pre-reception area courtesy of the 27 Tannoy CVS6 6-inch ceiling speakers powered by three E4:2 amplifiers. Source and volume control can be managed via a Bosch LBC1410 wall-mounted control panel. The rear control room houses a Yamaha M7CL 48-channel console allowing the mixing of musical performances, whilst playback sources include a Denon DNC635 dual CD player and Tascam CD-RW901 recorder. Individually stored DSP settings can be instantly recalled from a Biamp AudiaFlex processor. An extensive Shure ULX wireless microphone system was selected for speech presentations and live performances, including e-835 and e-935 models and Beta 58 clip-on and hand held models boosted by a UA874 antenna. The lectern however has been outfitted with dual Audio Technica ES915C18 super-cardioid goosenecks. A Clear-Com intercom system consisting of KB701 recessed speaker stations and RS601 2-channel belt-packs with headsets assist internal communications.
The SUTD technicians can manage the A/V system elements via Crestron AV2 Control, for which the Auditorium is outfitted with wired and wireless 8.4-inch colour touch screens enabled via Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. For presentations and video playback, a Panasonic PT-DZ21K 20000-ANSI lumens projector receives its images via HD streaming devices, a Blu-Ray player and four Panasonic AW-HE120 cameras fed into a Datavideo SE-2800 8-channel matrix switcher. Room processing has been delegated to various Kramer VP distribution amplifiers, encoders, decoders, scalers and switchers. Ultimately, Remaco 8m x 4.5m and 7m x 4m motorised screens receive their images via a Kramer VS-1616 digital matrix switcher.
An extensive ETC Source 4 lighting fixture system including 97 750W CoolBeam spots and Fresnels combine with ALA par cans and a pair of two Robert Juliat Aramis HMI25000W follow spots to create the full theatrical effect. Two racks of ETC ESR3AFN-36 sensor dimmers are controlled via an ION1024 console.
The remaining five lecture theatres vary in size but are similar in terms of their A/V set-ups. Like the Auditorium, however, the largest 550-seat capacity theatre caters for more multi-purpose presentations and as such is furnished with a Yamaha M7CL-48 digital console and Biamp AudiaFlex DSP. The audio for the fan shaped room utilises three clusters, each incorporating dual Renkus-Heinz TRX121T 12-inch speakers as a ceiling suspended L-C-R system. Dual DR18-1B subwoofers have also been symmetrically ceiling suspended between this L-C-R set-up, providing lower frequency reinforcement. Four delay speakers have been affixed to the ceiling further towards the rear seating and a further four CFX121M monitors have been deployed as the fold-back system. Lab.gruppen E12:2, E4:2 and C28:4 amplifiers power the entire systems, whilst dual Ashly MQX-2310 equalisers and CLX-52 compressor / limiters provide analogue signal processing needs. A Shure SLX wireless microphone system using Beta 58 hand-held and Beta 84 clip-on models are used for speeches whilst e-935 cardioids are preferred for live events. Dual Shure MX418 18-inch gooseneck condensers have been installed into the portable rostrum.
In terms of A/V, the same Crestron AV2 Control and 8.4-inch colour touch screens are used to manage the three Remaco 6.2m (w) x 3.5m (h) motorised screens receiving their images via Panasonic PT-DW17k 17,000 ANSI lumens projectors. System familiarity and compatibility has been ensured with the same A/V sources and video room processing equipment being installed in the lecture theatres as the Auditorium. Only the smaller scale of the rooms requires a lower specification requirement, although Wolfvision VZ-8light 1-CCD 1/3-inch progressive scan video visualisers have been added to all the lecture theatres lecterns for enhanced presentations.
The more basic 280- and 260-capacity LT280 and LT260 lecture theatres require no mixers, but are outfitted with dual CFX121 speakers, Yamaha CM10v monitors and Biamp AudiaFlex DSP. Sennheiser ew335 UHF wireless has been combined with Audio Technica Pro 31 hand-helds and U857 gooseneck microphones in the rostrums. Smaller wired and wireless Crestron 5.7-inch touchscreen controls enable the Remaco 3.58m x 2.23m motorised screens, Epson EB-Z8050W ANSI lumens projectors, Blu-Ray, PC and Sony EVI-D70CP camera inputs. Finally, the LT153, LT151 and LT60 theatres have all been outfitted with Yamaha A10 surface mount, Extron SI-26CT ceiling and Yamaha i9 column speakers together with Epson projectors. Video conferencing can be conducted with the addition of a Polycom HDX8000-72 system in the smallest LT60 theatre.
With the closure of the temporary Dover facility, some of the previously existing A/V equipment such as the Reach HD and VGA streaming encoders migrated to Changi. Despite the presence of other contractors on site, the EAS termination and installation teams conducted all their work on site and so the racks did not need pre-assembling. Simplicity, reliability, functionality and flexibility are bywords for A/V manufacturers if they are to succeed in ensuring their designs are going to be fixed to the racks, rostrums and fly-bars. Fashionable they may not be, but like the donated Chinese structures of SUTD, the A/V systems installed by EAS will withstand the test of time for many years to come.