The University of Manchester - Whitworth Hall

The impact of the experience for the audience members has been absolutely transformed; the hall is now filled with clear, rich sound.

- Trevor Byrne, Media Services Manager, The University of Manchester

Pure AV brings enhanced audio coverage and clarity to Grade II listed venue.

Whitworth Hall provides the University of Manchester with a premier events venue, its classic Grade II architecture creating an impressive home for awards, graduations and community events. The Hall is a large, open space with balcony areas and high ceilings, there is also a listed organ, which provides a dramatic centrepiece at one end of the room.

The Challenge

The University of Manchester decided to upgrade the aging audio system within the Hall. They wanted a system able to support the variety and technical complexity of events now held at the venue.

Faced with a challenging acoustic environment, the University turned to Pure AV to help design and install a solution that would cope with the live acoustics of the space, fit in with the aesthetics of the hall and deliver the flexibility to support the different event types. It also needed to be unobtrusive and sympathetic to the Grade II listed environment.

The Solution

Pure AV completed an acoustic survey of the room and researched various options for the space. With the acoustic structure within the room geared towards the amplification of organ music, the solution needed to compensate to ensure full and even coverage and clear voice reproduction.

JBL by Harman CBT passive column arrays were selected as they offered superior technical and audio performance in a format that would blend in with the environment and meet the available budget. The speakers were also custom sprayed with sandstone textured paint to minimise the visual impact on the space. A new BSS Blu 100 audio processor and Crown digital amplifiers were integrated with an existing mixing desk to complete the system.

Before specification, Pure AV worked with Harman audio specialists to model the audio, and even allowing for the use of existing fixings where possible, was able to design a layout to significantly improve the coverage of the space with far fewer units than used in the former system.

The calibration of the system post-installation by Pure AV audio specialist Colin Hasted ensured that settings were optimised to respond to the specific acoustic quirks of the venue and extract the best possible performance from the system.

The Benefits

The new system has transformed the audio experience for visitors to the venue who now experience full and rich sound quality wherever they stand or sit in the Hall.

It’s not just audience members who have benefited; the technical team now have a flexible, simple to set-up system allowing for reduced rigging times for large events and the virtual elimination of the need to hire in 3rd-party audio equipment.

The experience of my technical staff has been transformed. For large events we’d have to bring in additional audio equipment, now from the sound side of things its simple, it’s all pre-calibrated, so it’s great for both the user and the support staff.

- Trevor Byrne, Media Services Manager, The University of Manchester

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