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Rebuilding ASU’s A/V System After Fire

Convergent Technologies uses Tannoy, Lab.gruppen, Draper and Panasonic as part of a $22 million project at Arizona State University’s Memorial Union Building’s conference room.


Rebuilding ASU’s A/V System After Fire
Jason Knott · February 18, 2009

To say the forced closing of Arizona State University’s Memorial Union Building (MU) caused disruption at the Tempe, Ariz.-based campus is putting it mildly.

Damaged by fire in November 2007, the building closed for two months and didn’t fully reopen until August 2008.

Housing the campus’ main food services, meeting and conference spaces, as well as various retail and recreational facilities, the MU is essentially a community center for ASU’s 60,000 students, as well as faculty, staff and guests. It’s the hub of student life, and the impact of the closing was huge, says Sean Snitzer of the ASU IT department.

“They had to relocate every event,” he says. “We had a gym allocated for food service and tents set up to house events.”

As the central campus meeting space, bookings for the multiple rooms on the MU’s expansive second floor run the gamut:

  • Meetings for student organizations
  • Corporate and non-profit conferences
  • One-off events such as a chef’s conference
  • Appearances by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker for the U.S. House of Representative

Although conceived out of necessity, the refit allowed ASU to dramatically upgrade the space.

“The rooms, historically, had issues,” says Snitzer. “They were in need of a refresh for a number of years.” Specifically, he explains, in terms of the sound systems.

That task fell to integrator Convergent Technologies and Paul Corraine, principal designer on the engineering team responsible for the new A/V systems, telecommunications, voice, data, and video cable design, as well as acoustic, noise and vibration control on the project.

“Essentially, they were asking us to expand on their existing standards and improve where we could with current technologies,” he says.

The task included spec’ing and implementing a sound reinforcement system that provided exceptional clarity and coverage for a variety of speech reinforcement and program music applications — from monaural public address to stereo and surround applications. Corraine chose a suite of Tannoy speakers and Lab.gruppen amplifiers to suit ASU’s audio requirements and speak to specific architectural concerns with their compact, low profile design.

Though the various event spaces ran the gamut in size, from the 1,000-seat Ventana and Arizona Ballrooms to a variety of smaller meeting rooms and a 150-seat lecture theater, Convergent was able to meet all its client’s needs using Tannoy speakers virtually exclusively — a mixture of CMS12 TDC’s, and iS-52’s throughout, enhanced with Tannoy iw6 DS’s and iw62 TDC’s and the innovative CMS110 TB subs in the Pima Lecture Theatre.

“They’re a reliable, highly intelligible, loudspeaker,” say Corraine. “I like the line because they offer a full complement of loudspeakers for a variety of applications, and this project was one that had a variety of applications; from the surround sound in-walls, to applications where we needed high-output, full-range loudspeakers in the ceiling, to the somewhat eclectic use of the iS-52 in-stairs.


  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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