University of Dundee installs 31 Ampetronic induction loop systems

Oct 11, 2010

Completed in 2007, the New Teaching Block is part of a long-term regeneration and new building strategy, which has seen the university - whose courses range from accountancy to zoology, with a particular emphasis on medicine and life sciences - go from strength to strength.

Consultants White Young Green looked at all the available induction loop options and were impressed by the quality of Ampetronic’s approach and products, leading to Arbroath-based Streamtec installing Ampetronic systems in the New Teaching Block’s four main lecture theatres, driven by two Ampetronic ILD1000G'S loop amplifiers each.

“The lecture theatres provided some challenges,” says Streamtec’s Ian McMillan. “The biggest (280 seats) is located directly above two smaller 180 seat theatres, so containing spill was very important. We worked very closely with Ampetronic to ensure that the design worked flawlessly. But, having a four year relationship with them, this was a very smooth process.”

He continues, “The fourth, 220 seat, lecture theatre had a different set of challenges. If features a retractable seating block, so the loop system has to work whether the seating is extended or retracted. Ensuring that the cable doesn’t catch when the seating block is moved had to be overcome.”

To cope with any potential spill issues, phased arrays were installed in each lecture theatre.

“In quite a lot of lecture theatre installations, induction loop coverage is just of the first three rows of seating,” Ian continues. “However, in all the lecture theatres here the loops were required to cover the entire seating area. This inevitably means that the pattern of coverage has to be very tight at the outer edges to avoid spill into adjacent areas. But the results of the coverage tests were really good. Just outside door you can hear absolutely nothing.”

The students need to hear any content from a lecture that a normal person can hear, so feeds for the loops include lectern microphone, radio mics, DVD player and other AV sources. All the inputs are mixed through an Allen & Heath digital console in each theatre, the combined output from which is fed to the ILD1000G'S.

“All the lecture theatres are also used as overflow areas for each other. So audio can be sent to and from any or all of the other theatres, in any combination,” says Ian.

A further 27 teaching and staff rooms in the New Teaching blocks also feature induction loops. Installed by Impact Marcom over three floors, all rooms feature phased, low-spill arrays - 20 using Ampetronic ILD1000G loop amplifiers and seven smaller rooms using ILD500s. For this phase of the project alone, six kilometres of copper tape was used for the induction loops.

“The university had decided on Ampetronic systems when the tender was awarded,” says Impact Marcom’s Stuart Dockerill. “There were no major technical challenges, as all were flat-floored rooms with copper tape arrays laid beneath the floor covering.

“But with rooms above, below and on each side, we still had to work closely with Ampetronic to ensure that the arrays were installed to maximise their low spill effectiveness. The main problem to overcome was logistical - being able to work around the flooring contractors to ensure that both we and they completed the works, as required, on schedule."

With less potential audio inputs in these rooms, Impact Marcom found a neat and simple solution for the induction loop feeds. Each room features a voice reinforcement microphone on the teaching desk, so a microphone is located next to the most convenient of the ceiling-mounted loudspeakers to feed the induction loop.

“All aspects of the project were meticulously designed and planned first,” says Streamtec’s Ian McMillan. “That’s where working with Ampetronic really came in, getting it right from the start made the project so much more efficient.

“If it’s planned well, the installation process is fairly straightforward and you get the best final result.”

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