Beijing AuditoriumThe four floors of the recently-renovated Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall provide an insight into Beijing’s past and a brave vision of its future. In addition to conventional display cases and photographs, the exhibitions include lightboxes, sculptures and a detailed scale model of the city.

Most notable is the 3D multimedia auditorium on the top floor, which features one of the world’s largest 3D screens. When its audio processor was up for replacement, Chinese pro audio and lighting distributor and A/V designer/installer, Sanecore Group, installed a new Symetrix Jupiter ‘zero learning curve’ digital signal processor.

Located in Qianmen Dongdajie, Chongwen District, east of the old Qianmen Railway Station, the hall’s 3D multimedia auditorium seats 200 visitors and – in addition to a 3D movie about Beijing – it shows feature films (both 3D and 2D) and provides a forum for conferences. The city simulation movies that were created for the exhibition hall take visitors through the city, both old and new, in a way that is educational and entertaining. Three Barco Galaxy projectors provide imaging, while the audio system supports 5.1 surround-sound – and when the 5.8m by 20m screen was installed in 2007, it was the largest 3D screen in the world. The heart of the sound management is a Symetrix Jupiter 8.

‘The original processor – which was not a Symetrix by the way – stopped working in November 2010,’ says Sanecore Group Design Specialist, Alan Ho. ‘I know the exact date, because replacing the unit was time-sensitive as it brought everything to a screeching halt. Together with the staff at the Exhibition Center, we decided to replace it with a Symetrix Jupiter 8.’

Beijing Convention CentreKey to the new system’s appeal was Jupiter’s ‘zero learning curve’ operation. Borrowing the app paradigm from smartphone technology, the Jupiter hardware takes on different audio processing tasks through the use of application-specific software apps. Users select an appropriate app using the App Finder utility at the Symetrix website and upload it to the Jupiter hardware. The Jupiter hardware is loaded and readily configured for the task at hand, and a plug-n-play computer interface makes tweaking the audio simple. The 3D multimedia auditorium uses the Sound Reinforcement #9 App, which provides matrix mixing, equalisation, and speaker management.

‘We were very pleased to use the new Jupiter system,’ says Ho. ‘The physical installation was quick, and the entire system was tuned in under an hour. In contrast to the prior processor, the Jupiter is infinitely flexible, and we were able to choose an app that would satisfy all of the demands of the 3D theatre. Changing the default settings was easy in the elegant Windows GUI that is provided.’ In addition to replacing the processor, the Jupiter also replaced an analog equalizer and other miscellaneous analog technologies.

The three Jupiter hardware options – Jupiter 4, Jupiter 8 and Jupiter 12 – differ only in their input and output counts. Jupiter 8, with eight inputs and eight outputs, was well matched for the 3D multimedia auditorium.

A Soundcraft GB8-32 delivers eight output groups to the Jupiter 8, which provides signal to a modest rack of QSC ISA amplifiers. An EAW sb184C subwoofer complements a surround array composed of Renkus-Heinz PNX full-range loudspeakers. ‘Because the Jupiter replaced not only the failed processor, but also a number of analog processors, the signal chain shortened considerably,’ says Ho. ‘Previously, the system connections were complicated and the sound quality suffered as a result, both in terms of fidelity and noise. The new Jupiter-based system is much cleaner, owing in part to the transparent sound quality of the Jupiter hardware and software and in part to the simplified signal chain. It’s crystal clear and stunning. There is no distortion.’

Reliability was also a critical factor in the choice of a new processor, particularly as the operators of the auditorium had just experienced how quickly things can grind to a halt in the event of its failure: ‘A failure reflects poorly on the city,’ explains Ho. ‘The Exhibition Hall is located on the southeast side of Tiananmen Square, one of the most attractive sites for both national and international tourists. The exhibits and the 3D movie are educational not only for visitors to the city, but also for the residents of the city itself.

‘The staff at the auditorium gave very high praise to the Jupiter system,’ Ho concludes.

More: www.symetrix.co
More: www.soundcraft.com
More: www.renkus-heinz.com

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