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in Sound, Light & Vision

Chas BESA - British Education Suppliers Association

Harlaxton College

Grantham, Lincolnshire

Harlaxton is first recorded in the Domesday Book.  The current mansion on the site was completed in 1845 and is now owned by The University of Evansville, a private university based in Indiana.  Known as Harlaxton College, it hosts their study abroad programme for liberal arts and science degrees.

The College first talked to Clarity in 2017 about sound and projection but were unable to go ahead with the work until 2019.  During those two years Clarity were in regular contact to ensure that when the college was ready they would have the best possible design and equipment to suit their needs.

The requirement was for a portable projection system and audio coverage in four rooms to make them suitable for presentations, conferences, meetings and many other events.  The building is Grade I listed so the challenge was for Clarity to provide this without installing any visible fixed cabling or permanently installed equipment whilst still providing systems that can be set up easily in minimal time.  To achieve this, in each room Clarity installed loudspeaker outputs, remote audio input panels and remote volume/scene selection control panels.  The system was carefully considered so that further rooms could be integrated into the system in the future.

Clarity recommended the college purchase a quantity of discrete column loudspeakers fitted to stands, as pictured above.  Supplied with lightweight carry cases, these can easily be assembled in the required room and plugged into the connection points.  The speakers have characteristics which will help reduce excess reverberations within the space whilst also helping to keep sound coverage consistent throughout the room.

An equipment control cabinet was supplied housing a digital signal processor providing the optimum sound quality.  The processor was programmed by a Clarity engineer and software protected to prevent unauthorised modification of settings.  No user controls on the processor mean that once programmed, it does not ever need to be touched again and the system is controlled either by the remote-control panels or an iPad.  Also in the cabinet is an eight channel amplifier, cabled to allow easy expansion in the future and a high quality, four-way wireless radio microphone system.

A wall-mount control panel was installed close to the equipment cabinet and a single digital control panel was installed in each room to provide easy and flexible external control.  The sound system will normally be controlled remotely by an iPad that provides up to three levels of control depending whether the user wants simple minimal control, general day to day use or access to all the facilities.  An example of a tablet layout is shown above.

The college’s existing lecterns were re-used but with the addition of a plug-on adaptor to allow gooseneck microphones to be installed and removed easily.  Both had facility panels installed with the cabling being hidden inside the lectern.

Installing the correct projection system was of paramount importance so following a demonstration at the college, a Panasonic laser projector fitted with an ultra-short throw lens was chosen, which would offer very high quality WUXGA resolution.  Whereas the laser is more expensive over a lamped unit, ongoing costs will be far less, and laser projectors give an instant on/off, whereas lamped projectors have a slow turn on and an even slower cool down time.

A high-resolution Panasonic 12,000 lumen laser projector was fitted into a use-in-box protective floor case.  Once the case is put in place the lid is removed and simple connection leads link into stage boxes, then are connected integrally via cabling to the lectern.

The 4.3m wide fast-fold projection screen supplied was a newly released extremely high-quality screen which can be floor mounted, right against the wall.

The overall result are very versatile, high-quality, portable systems that do not spoil the beauty of Harlaxton’s interior decor.