James Madison University Connects with Attero Tech
By: Daniel Keller
Harrisonburg, VA-August 2017... Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia's historic Shenandoah Valley, James Madison University is an innovative and forward-thinking institution that was named the 2017 number 2 top public school in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Its 675-acre campus is home to more than 21,000 students.
Recently, the university's main administrative meeting space received a new sound system based on a Symetrix Prism 12x12 EX DSP and Attero Tech unD4I and unD6IO Dante™ audio interfaces. Designed by Reston, Virginia, acoustics, vibration, and AV consulting firm Miller, Beam & Paganelli and installed by Lee Hartman & Sons of Roanoke, Virginia, the system takes advantage of Attero Tech's tight integration with Symetrix processors.
The space can be used as a single room seating about 200 people or divided into two spaces. Audio and video flow from the meeting room to two video walls in the hallway outside the room. "You also can send audio from the hallway back into the meeting room," observes Lee Hartman & Sons Director of Commercial Installations Colin Ward. "For example, they could do a press event in the hallway and push that audio back into the main meeting room."
Ward's team provided inputs in floor boxes in the main room and both floor and wall boxes in the hallway and other surrounding areas. "Attero Tech unD4I and unD6IO interfaces bring the audio into the Dante™ network," he recounts. "Then the Dante™ streams go to a network switch, and the output of the switch goes to the Symetrix Prism. We provided inputs for CD players, wireless microphone receivers, and other program audio." The system's outputs feed a stack of Labgruppen power amplifiers that drive multiple zones of QSC speakers. The network also feeds assisted listening systems, as well as tie lines that serve external rooms for the media's use.
"We wanted to get all of the digital audio on a Dante™ network, because the ability to use a wall plate or a floor box, run one cable to it, have full control of the digital audio network, and power it remotely is really useful for us," Ward explains. "Attero Tech makes so many different types of Dante™ interfaces that we can choose the right wall plate or rack-mount with exactly the number of inputs and outputs we need. It's important to have that variety of options because the devices need to fit the form factor of the job. And their audio quality is excellent."
Five unD6IO interfaces provide most of the inputs and all of the outputs for James Madison University's meeting space and surrounding area. Each unD6IO delivers two XLR mic/line inputs with preamps for input channels 1 and 2. Input channel 3 is sourced from a pair of L/R RCA line inputs, summed to mono, while a stereo 3.5 mm line input is summed to mono for input channel 4. Two output streams route to a stereo 3.5 mm jack and to a pair of in-wall, balanced analog outputs on a side-mounted, depluggable connector, with software-controlled volume. Audio flow assignment, input gain, phantom power, and unbalanced input selection can be controlled over the Dante™ network.
Each of the two Attero Tech unD41 interfaces provides four more mic/line inputs, employing three-pin depluggable connectors with switchable mic/line gain and phantom power on all inputs. Front-panel LEDs indicate phantom power status and input gain settings for each input. As with the unD6IO, audio flow assignment, input gain, and phantom power can be controlled over Dante™.
Ward especially appreciates the integration between Symetrix DSPs and Attero Tech interfaces. "We love the direct integration between Symetrix, Attero Tech, and control systems," Ward confirms. "That's one reason we chose these products. You can do things like have head-in preamp control from the Symetrix Prism. Everything works together seamlessly."
Lee Hartman & Sons has been in the audio equipment business since its founding as a radio service station in 1936. Through four generations of its family-owned business, the firm has kept up with technology by thinking ahead. "From an engineering standpoint, our view is that within a few years, all inputs and outputs are going to go directly to the network, and people won't be pulling analog cable," prophesies Ward. "Attero Tech is leading that conversion and giving us the products we need to do that right now. Their products have a great price point but for us it's really about the features, form factor, and quality. Attero Tech interfaces give us the options we need for our customers."