As a 21st century project, induction loops were integral to the design and Ampetronic was the logical choice, matching the company’s cutting edge technology to the building’s ultra-contemporary design.
Long-term Ampetronic client Scanaudio was the company contracted to install four low spill loop and three counter systems, ensuring that those with a hearing impairment lose none of the impact and excitement of the changing exhibitions and learning opportunities that form the Lightbox’s remit.
Ampetronic’s engineers designed the four low spill systems - two in the exhibition galleries, one in an education suite and one in a room used for corporate functions - which faced some significant technical challenges.
“These were partly because of the close proximity of the rooms, making spill a significant potential issue,” says Scanaudio’s Dee Couchman. “But also, being a new build, there were issues with the fabric of the building itself. The steel mesh of the reinforced concrete floors made minimising any loss through the metal a key issue.”
Pairs of Ampetronic ILD500 loop amplifiers were installed in the smaller gallery, the corporate and education rooms, while a pair of ILD1000Gs were installed in the larger gallery. Each system also utilises an SP5 phase shifter.
In the corporate and education rooms, Scanaudio’s engineers laid the loops within the self-levelling screed floors, this ensured that they wouldn’t show through the linoleum covering, which can happen if laid immediately beneath lino. However, this wasn’t a problem in the galleries, where the loops were laid beneath wooden floor coverings.
“The loop arrays are very tightly packed, to ensure the systems are ultra-low spill,” says Dee. “We also installed line level inputs to the system for use with audio/visual productions. Each room features a portable mixer and a UHF radio microphone, each on a different channel so as not to interfere with the others.”
Elsewhere in the building, three of Ampetronic’s new CLD1 compact loop driver systems were installed in the Lightbox’s cafeteria, shop and directors meeting room. Measuring only 128 x 74 x 35mm and with an output current of 2.4A RMS, what the CLD1 lacks in size it more than makes up for in performance.
Featuring one microphone plus one mic/line input, it can be powered by an external AC power pack, or 12V DC input and is available with a choice of preformed loops and microphones. In the meeting room, the CLD1 is equipped with a Q400 boundary microphone, with desktop mics used in the cafeteria and shop.
“Installations such as Lightbox are where our low spill systems really come into their own,” concluded Ampetronic’s managing director Julian Pieters. “And also where our design expertise, coupled with Scanaudio’s skill as an installation company, comes to the fore for a successful all round result.”
Opened in Woking on September 15, 2007, The Lightbox is a new public art gallery and museum designed by the team behind the London Eye, Marks Barfield Architects. The building has three exciting display spaces, an education studio, café, shop and stunning corporate function room. It has been designed to be one of the most accessible cultural venues in the South East.