BRISTOL, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 2012: In a regionally-famous slogan, Bristol, Virginia boasts that it is, "a good place to live," and its school district helps the city live up to that slogan. Recently, the district renovated an historic Bristol building, adding office space for administrators and a 240-seat auditorium for meetings and other events. Operating out of the Roanoke office of Lee Hartman & Sons, veteran A/V integrator Brian McDonald designed the sound system for the auditorium using Symetrix' new SymNet Edge open-architecture, modular-I/O DSP system. McDonald cited SymNet Edge's sound quality, ease of integration, user-control options (including ARC-WEB for smartphone-based control), Dante bus networking, and intuitive Composer design software as reasons for its selection.
"I've been using Symetrix products for a long time, going all the way back to my years in live sound," said McDonald. "Symetrix gear has always been very robust, with a ton of headroom. It delivers a clear, clean sound, no matter what the input source. I have beaten the living tar out of Symetrix gear and it never falters. In addition, our programmers push for Symetrix because it is so easy to control and because it integrates so well with third party systems, such as AMX or Crestron."
The auditorium is arranged with nine administrator seats, each with its own microphone, set opposite the 240 public seats. A pair of Crown CTS-600 amplifiers powers a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICX7 small-format column arrays with low-end support provided by a Renkus-Heinz PN112-SUBR subwoofer. Two Epson 1945W 4200-lumen projectors display visual information. Inputs feed a Kramer VP-438 switcher/scaler for video and a pair of Symetrix SymNet Edge frames for audio. Each SymNet Edge frame contains four I/O slots, and the new system is populated by six 4-channel analog input cards and two 4-channel analog output cards.
In addition to its robust third party support, the Symetrix product line includes a diversity of user-control options, and McDonald took advantage of them. Symetrix handles control for both the audio and video components. An Axiomtek touchscreen PC runs Symetrix SymVue customized control for more detailed system adjustments, whereas a Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote allows simple adjustments. McDonald also activated Symetrix ARC-WEB, which provides an ARC-style control interface for use on smartphones and other Internet-connected devices.
"This was my first experience using ARC-WEB," McDonald said. "It was as easy to program as a standard ARC panel, and the best thing is that the client already owns the hardware. It's a big cost savings. In fact, using Symetrix' well-thought-out control technology saved them many thousands of dollars, both because Symetrix control hardware is very affordable and because the control programming gets wrapped up with the audio programming."
The school board asked McDonald to provide a CD recorder to provide a record of events. "I gave them the CD recorder because that's what they requested," he said. "But because the SymNet Edge system uses the Dante bus protocol to network audio, I was also able to give them a more streamlined, robust solution. I installed a Dante virtual soundcard on the head IT director's computer, which can directly tap the Dante audio running on the building's network. It took me literally seconds to configure the whole thing. Now the IT director can monitor and record the meetings from his office. I've already heard rumblings about Dante expansion to WAN, which would allow him to do the same thing from home!"
McDonald and the programmers at Lee Hartman & Sons have been using Symetrix' SymNet Designer software for years, and the new SymNet Edge system makes the leap to a new, but similar program - SymNet Composer. "Designer was great, and we always griped around the office that we wished our drawing programs worked as well as Designer!" McDonald said. "Nevertheless, Designer had a few quirks, and we let the engineers at Symetrix know about them. They listened, because Composer resolves those issues. It's a very intuitive program, and we couldn't be happier with it."
Symetrix engineers high-end professional audio solutions, specializing in DSP hardware and software. Symetrix products are distributed worldwide, and designed and manufactured in the U.S. at the Seattle area headquarters. Since 1976, Symetrix customers have enjoyed the benefits of Symetrix' independent ownership and management.