University of Surrey opens doors to 22.2 listening room

The Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) at the University of Surrey is now offering access to a new 22.2 critical listening room that utilises Genelec 8330A SAM studio monitors and 7350A SAM subwoofers.

HHB Communications supplied the technology as part of Genelec’s sponsorship programme to the IoSR and the university’s Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) degree.

The ITU-R BS.1116 listening room, designed and built by Munro Acoustics, is used by students and researchers to undertake experimental work involving audio measurement and subjective listening tests. The ITU-R standard is the most critical international standard for listening rooms, with strict criteria for low noise, controlled reflections, dimension ratios and reverberation time.

The listening room is equipped with a range of reproduction systems from stereo to multi-channel including elevated loudspeakers, enabling listening tests on multi-channel surround sound to be carried out effectively.

The room contains a loudspeaker mounting system that can be rigged with a large number of loudspeakers. The system includes distributed bass management and built-in time alignment and equalisation of level and frequency response. Although it is usually configured for 22.2 reproduction, the IoSR owns an additional 72 Genelec 8020A studio monitors that it can employ to further extend the system.

“The Genelec SAM monitors were the perfect choice for the listening room; their built-in time, level and frequency response alignment saved hours of work,” said senior lecturer Dr Russell Mason. "We plan to investigate a wide range of multi-channel reproduction arrangements and being able to realign the loudspeakers quickly in each new position is essential.”

There is also a set of five Genelec 1032A studio monitors and a 1094A active subwoofer that the IoSR can wheel into the listening room specifically for 5.1 surround sound. The IoSR also has a wide range of test and measurement equipment that can be used in the listening room or around campus.

As well as the 22.2 listening room, Genelec’s sponsorship programme includes discounted studio monitors, an electro-acoustical seminar, a graduate prize and industry placements at its headquarters in Iisalmi, Finland.

Hosted by Genelec’s R&D director Aki Mäkivirta, an inaugural two-day seminar was run at the university 13-14 June 2016, involving a general introduction to acoustics and a practical project that dealt with the specification and set-up of studio monitoring systems. Having completed the seminar programme, student Alistair Bolt was chosen to receive a prize package comprising Genelec 8320A SAM studio monitors, a GLM 2.0 User Kit and a 9310A volume controller.

“The seminar was a great addition to the Tonmeister programme,” Mason continued. “Students learn about the theory of room acoustics and the design and calibration of loudspeakers as part of the course, but to have an internationally renowned expert such as Aki come in and show them how to put the theory into practice based on his many years of experience was an amazing opportunity.”