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Attero Tech Enhances Stunning New Dorm at Penn State Behrend

By: Daniel Keller
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Behrend, PA-November 2018...Penn State Behrend delivers more than 40 academic programs to 5,050 undergraduate students, but only 251 of them will be fortunate enough to reside in the brand new Trippe Hall, a four-story, $28.4 million residence hall on the southwestern corner of the campus. 

If you turn right just inside Trippe Hall's twin sets of main doors, you'll enter an airy Community Room with floor-to-ceiling windows on the right, windows to the lobby on the left, and a large TV screen straight ahead. QSC AcousticDesign Series pendant-mount loudspeakers hang above, adding visual depth, as well as providing quality sound. An Attero Tech unA6IO-BT wall plate enables students and staff to connect a mobile device to the sound system wirelessly, via Bluetooth, or using a wired connection to the wall plate's RCA or 3.5 mm line inputs. The unA6IO-BT also provides 3.5 mm audio output but at Trippe Hall, it's all about input.

Grisé Audio Visual of Erie, Pennsylvania, designed and installed the AV systems in the Community Room. "Trippe Hall looks like a quality hotel when you're walking down the halls," relates Grisé Audio Visual Project Installation Manager Tony Berarducci. "It's a lot nicer than the dorms we remember from our college years. They don't have audio throughout the building, and they didn't realize they needed AV in the Community Room until after the drywall was in place, so we had to retrofit. But we're good at fishing wires through, so we didn't have to reopen many walls."

The audio network is based on a QSC Q-SYS Core 110f processor and uses the AES67 digital audio networking protocol. "We chose the Attero Tech unA6IO-BT wall plate in part because it provides AES67 connectivity and plays well with Q-SYS Core processors," explains Berarducci. Berarducci learned about Attero Tech products from the team at Techrep Marketing, which represents both QSC and Attero Tech. "I asked for a Bluetooth device for installation that doesn't have a residential-style look," he recounts. "I also didn't want a box that might get unplugged, damaged, or stolen. I needed something that looked professional and that was going to work. The Techrep guys told me, 'you're going to love the Attero Tech products.' They were right."

Trippe Hall was Grisé Audio Visual's first Attero Tech install, and with anything new, there's a learning curve. "It's not like we're trained on every new device in the market and know how it works," admits Berarducci. "Our lead installer, Ryan Patsy, needed some help at first. But Attero Tech tech support really came through, and it wasn't 'we'll call you back in an hour' or 'go to this link and figure it out.' The Attero Tech tech support guys stayed on the phone with Ryan, got him what he needed, and the product worked with the network amazingly well. Ryan hung up the phone and told me, 'Those guys are awesome; there were no issues. Here's what you have to do to make it work. Done.' And now we know how to do it."

The unA6IO-BT's Bluetooth implementation takes into account the considerations of connectivity in a public space. "Once paired to Bluetooth, you have priority and can't get bumped off," Berarducci explains. "Once you leave, it forgets you like you never existed. And it's easy to use. When the dorm opened, we taught everybody how to pair and use the Bluetooth and how to disconnect from it. You'd be surprised at how many people don't know what Bluetooth is. Now they're using the system with no problems. The Attero Tech unA6IO-BT's performance has been great. It's a very solid product, and it looks great in the wall."