The LICA building is a two-storey, multi-purpose hall used for performance arts, teaching and conferences. Able to accommodate up to 800 people, it is one of the largest rooms on the Lancaster University campus and is equipped with partitions to enable the space to be divided into three separate areas.
Over time, the usage of the event space has become more varied and an increased amount of teaching now takes place in the building. Pure AV was appointed by the university to upgrade the existing facilities to accommodate the new patterns of use. The project required design, installation, re-programming of retained equipment and specialist audio commissioning.
From the outset, a key requirement of the project was to deliver improved sound coverage across the length of the hall regardless of room configuration. Martin Audio O-line arrays now ensure balanced audio across the entire space, multichannel DSP amplifiers and mobile, self-powered, patchable subs have also been added to provide a consistent audio experience across all room layouts.
Audio routing is provided by BSS BLU sound processors linked to the proprietary BLU-link technology as the primary audio DSP processor/matrix, providing 20 inputs and 15 outputs. Martin Audio’s iKon amplifiers are used to power the O-Line speakers. Each speaker stack consists of eight separate speaker boxes and is controlled independently by the onboard DSP. Audio presets are provided via the control system to support the simple control of the space and to assist with the reduction of audio spill into other areas.
The new system also offers greater flexibility in the delivery of video signals. Previously, video was routed directly from the input source on the AV cart to the projector. Video content can now travel to a central system housed in the AV room and via a 4x4 matrix switch to be distributed as required.
The original AV presenter carts have been replaced with fully equipped lecterns, one at each end of the venue. These lecterns are designed to improve the teaching experience by offering standard equipment found in other teaching areas across campus. To keep the flexibility of the space, the teaching lecterns are designed to be easily removed when required for temporary staging or events.
The new system provides a versatile audio solution suited to both events and teaching. The programming and commissioning of the sound system has been completed with presets to ensure the best possible audio performance for the environment and each of the most common usage scenarios.
The feedback to the University from users of the venue since the upgrade is hugely encouraging. Lecturer’s report finding the space more welcoming and straightforward to use with the addition of the new lecterns creating a more comfortable teaching environment. The improved controls offering a simple, familiar interface, giving users confidence when accessing the facilities.
The technical staff within the LICA building have been impressed by the quality of the sound now produced within the venue, remarking particularly on the improvement when covering events and conferences.