New Audac system for Fulbridge Academy

UK integrator Playfords and service provider Audiologic have supplied audio equipment for a series of immersive themed areas at the Fulbridge Academy primary school in Peterborough.

Fulbridge wanted to add a separate audio element for each of the 23 themed areas in three separate corridors, as well as another for the communal hall.

An Audac R2 multi-zone audio distribution unit with POW2 internal amplifier was rack-mounted alongside a group of eight CMP30s at the end of each corridor. An 8 x 8 digital audio matrix system based on a powerful DSP processor, the R2 is fully digitally controllable and the built-in digital matrix makes it possible to patch any of the input signals to any of the output signals. All of the R2 units were connected to each other via fibre to create a 24 x 24 matrix, which could broadcast in any combination from 24 separate audio feeds down to one individual feed across the whole system.

Two Audac DW5065 wall panels were included in the system as well. The first, located in the technicians office, facilitates the use of a microphone (Audac M86) for general announcements, which could override the entire system, while the second, located in the hall, allows for the easy connection of an external source, such as an iPod, and would override only the audio feed to that area. Procab cables and connectors were used throughout and a combination of 18 Ecler IC6 two-way ceiling speakers and six Audac ATE06 wall-mounted speakers were also provided, along with 24 Audac CMP30 media players for sending the required audio to all areas.

"When Fulbridge put their idea to us, we weren’t immediately sure of a solution that would fit the bill and so we contacted Audiologic to consult with them over the possibilities," said Paul Smedley, project engineer at Playfords. "They are an ever-reliable source of great products and advice and as we’d expected, they were quick to make a suggestion. They invited us and the school’s project director to a demonstration of the Audac products that they had recommended and that visit sealed the deal.

"The install itself was swift and trouble free and although there were some minor teething problems at the commissioning stage, these were quickly overcome with support from Audiologic’s technical team. It’s fair to say that the success of this project can be measured by the reactions of visitors to the school as they move between the zones. Audiologic were great partners in helping us fully realise Fulbridge’s vision."

Rhys Maddox, digital learning co-ordinator at Fulbridge, added: "In the early stages of developing the idea we had some sounds in some of the corridors but it quickly became apparent that to create the holistic experience we were seeking, we needed to look for something more sophisticated. We really wanted a system that would be dynamic and easily changeable and thanks to Audiologic, that’s exactly what we got.

"We are at the beginning of a journey with what we can do with the system and we look forward to developing the use of the technology even further as the months progress. Both Playfords and Audiologic went above and beyond in ensuring that we achieved precisely what we were looking for. Inspired by the success and popularity of the installation, we now are considering a plan to install a similar system in a new-build on the site, this time involving indoor and outdoor speakers."

Andy Lewis, sales and marketing manager at Audiologic reflected on the project: "Sometimes one becomes so focussed on the technical nature of projects that it’s easy to overlook the impact that the finished results actually have," he commented. "We become wrapped up in the specifications and the kit and striving to ensure that we achieve operational and functional perfection. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s critical that we sustain the highest possible technical standards…In the case of Fulbridge, having solved some initial commissioning problems I took a step back and was struck by the sheer creative force that had been brought to life by the application of technology to a bright idea."