Keio University settles on Shure for campus-wide upgrade
JAPAN: Over the course of the last three years, each classroom at Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) has been steadily outfitted and upgraded with new audio systems to support its state-of-the-art education programme. This ongoing project has seen the campus house a total of 68 channels of Shure’s ULX-D digital wireless system, with additional channels due to be implemented again in the near future. As the university has reserved the 2.4GHz frequency band for its campus-wide Wi-Fi services, the installed Shure solutions were required to operate outside this band.
Supervisor of multimedia services, Isao Nagasaka, is in charge of all A/V equipment on campus. ‘In 2012, we did our first ULX-D installation in the Omega 11 and 21 classrooms,’ he recalled. ‘Ever since, we have chosen this system each time we carried out an audio system update.’
His rationale for first choosing ULX-D was simple. ‘Shure is used at numerous live performances, so it has an established reputation that we were well aware of,’ he continued. ‘And to be honest, after testing it, I was very impressed with the feel, design, and sound quality. Furthermore, there should be absolutely no interruption to course instruction because of signal interference, so I was looking for a solution that would address this issue.’
In this regard, the system is capable of operating in ‘high density mode’, which in Japan allows for up to 30 channels to be used simultaneously. By adjusting transmitter output power and reusing frequencies in different areas of the campus, SFC is able to operate 68 channels of ULX-D today, and will continue to increase this count in the future.
The additional flexibility of ULX-D compared to previous systems used by the university has also solved issues not relating to frequency. ‘I frequently visit other universities to check out their facilities. At many of these schools, wireless microphones are carefully locked away and one must make a formal request to use them. However, at SFC we keep them at the teachers' desk, so that the microphones can be used as they please, whenever they need them. This allows greater flexibility and makes it a lot easier to conduct the courses,' explained Mr Nagasaka. ‘However, students and staff remove wireless microphones from their original locations and bring them to other classrooms almost on a daily basis. In the past this caused a lot of chaos.’ As each ULX-D transmitter is paired with a dedicated receiver, staff reportedly can now easily identify them if they have been moved.
‘I believe the faculty members are very satisfied,’ commented the multimedia supervisor following the recent upgrades. ‘The sound is totally different compared to the infrared and old analogue wireless systems we used in the past. Some people might think that it would suffice for microphones to produce an audible sound, but we were very picky on this point. Clearest reproduction of the speaker’s voice adds a sense of presence and is very important in delivering a quality educational experience. Which is why we decided to choose a true, top-of-the-line solution, even if we’re only using it in a classroom setting.’
Besides the daily use in classrooms, the ULX-D system is also called upon for conferences and events hosted at the SFC. Here the option to encrypt wireless audio transmission adds another layer of security when privacy is of high importance.