University of Manitoba

university_manatoba_icon_100Mike Kurnell was put in charge of upgrading two lecture theaters, used to instruct medical students at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus. The theaters were transformed into two identical modern smart classrooms, equipped with video cameras and capable of streaming and video conferencing.

The previous system was installed in the early 1970’s, before modern video applications were a consideration, and because of that, the new audio system was allocated less space for both the console in the control room and for cables in the existing conduit.

The System
university_manitoba_02Kurnell, who also runs his own audio studio, discounts all analog boards, which he feels “wouldn’t cut it” and other digital boards because he doesn’t “like the way they sound and they clip-out way too early.” The small footprint, sound quality and easy installation were determining factors for installing the M-400 as the controls for both theaters were being moved into one shared control room. The pre-amps connected with a single Cat5 cable were a big part of being able to fit all the equipment for two rooms in one control room. The other deciding factor was the M-400 V-Mixer included built-in compressors and gates, which eliminates the need for external processors. Additional processors, Kurnell points out, “make the room hot and require additional cables.”

One of the problems Kurnell ran into when designing the system was that once the new video cables were installed in the reclaimed audio conduit, there was not much room left for the audio cables. Kurnell explains,“ there was definitely not enough room for more than a few XLR cables, let alone the 25 that were required in an analog system. The Cat5 cable solved that problem,” and they were able to use the existing conduit for both audio and video.

Smart classrooms have sophisticated audio requirements. Kurnell notes that often “two mix-minuses are needed at the same time, plus room audio, record audio, and audio to the streaming servers.” He appreciates the RS232 connectivity for these dual purpose rooms, which allows the users to have access to controls like overall room volume, individual volume or mute control of a particular audio lavalier microphone or podium microphone. These features allow his clients to be more self-contained because the controls are real simple and easy for the novice operator. Overall Kurnell is very impressed with the performance of the M-400 V-Mixer.

Initially the experienced Kurnell didn’t place much importance in the memory settings on the M-400, which allow users to recall frequently used configurations, but admits “this has proved to be more advantageous for newer technicians because at the push of a button you can save all of the presets – it’s great!”

Building on the success of the first two M-400 installs, Kurnell has decided to upgrade a 3rd theater, although initially they didn’t feel the need to, however they were so happy with the other two, they decided to upgrade that one as well.

System Integration