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CASE STUDY: Chapel Hill Public Library, North Carolina

For over thirty years, the Chapel Hill Public Library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina has maintained the highest per capita circulation of any North Carolina public library, an excellent indicator of the town’s interest and involvement in the library. With two adjacent meeting rooms, capable of seating approximately 300 and 80 people respectively, the library hosts town hall meetings, police and fire department trainings, and a large range of miscellaneous events led by Chapel Hill organizations and citizens.

The original system for these meeting rooms was “budget-driven,” understates Scott Carneval, president of Raleigh-based Avant Systems Integration who recently upgraded the sound and video systems.

“The rooms are bright and fairly large, and it originally appeared to us that the existing audio and visual components were underpowered,” Carneval says. “Feedback and inadequate volume kept recurring. When they realized there was no way to fix the original design, the library people called us in to improve the system with new components.” In the process, Avant designed the system to be flexible and sharable among the two rooms.

Avant replaced the handful of 6.5-inch in-ceiling loudspeakers with a much larger complement of 8-inch SoundTube loudspeakers. Significantly, they replaced the single 75W amplifier that had been dribbling into them with a robust Ashly ne8250.70, which provides 250W from each of its eight channels. Inadequate volume would no longer be an issue. A new Ashly ne24.24M Protea Matrix Processor gave Avant the ability to fully ring the system out with appropriate notches at all the frequencies that tended to feed back. To give CHPL a more engaging movie-night experience, Carneval also specified the addition of SoundTube in-ceiling subwoofers, which are also powered by the Ashly ne8250.70. A Listen Technologies assisted listening system improves the accessibility of the meeting rooms.

Avant also provided the two rooms with eight new Shure microphones: four podium mics, two handheld wireless mics, and two wireless lavaliers. Importantly, the two rooms share all eight microphones, and a BitWise iPad app allows users to select any of the eight microphones for output in either room by controlling the output logic of the Ashly ne24.24M. Moreover, the audio and video outputs are similarly matrixed to allow the smaller room to serve as overflow.

On the video side of things, Avant gave the CHPL a 189-inch and 137- inch motorized Da-Lite screen in the larger room and the smaller room, respectively. An Hitachi CP-WX8255A 5500lumen projector serves each room, and an Atlona AT-UHD-PRO3-88M video matrix switcher gives users complete flexibility in assigning video inputs to different outputs. In each room, two more 70-inch flat-screen TVs complement the larger screens.

“The library staff was frustrated with the old system, but they’re in love with the new system,” said Carneval. “The volume and clarity are great, and the subwoofers really add to events that need low-end punch. Moreover, they’re getting all that volume without a shred of feedback, even with eight open microphones in the room!”

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