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How Ronco Specialized Brought Connectivity to Cape Fear's Wilson Center with Attero Tech

by Ronco Specialized
Fri, Feb 3rd 2017 11:00 am

In December of 2016, we announced that the work Ronco Specialized did at Cape Fear Community College was recognized by Business North Carolina magazine as a winner for the Best Overall Design. Here is a further look into the project and what made this design, innovation and overall connectivity so award-winning.

Wilmington, North Carolina - December 2016... With more 
than 28,000 students, Cape Fear Community College is North Carolina's sixth largest college 

and one of the state's major economic development partners. The main campus in historic downtown Wilmington overlooks the banks of the Cape Fear River, and is home to the Allan and Laura Wilson Humanities and Fine Arts Center, an arts hub not just for the college but for the entire southeastern North Carolina region.
Opened in 2015, the Wilson Center's existing audio system was recently treated to an extensive upgrade. The original system, a Renkus-Heinz CF101LA center array along with four sidefills and a CF101LA delay speaker covering the upper balcony, was upgraded to include left and right arrays of 12 JBL Vertec 4887ADP-DA boxes, along with four ground stacked 4880ADP-DA subwoofers. The Biamp Tesira Server I/O DSP system was updated with Dante MY cards, and the Yamaha M7CL-48 FOH console was supplemented with with a new QL5 desk with native Dante capability.

As Bryan Galecki, Project Manager at Ronco of Raleigh, NC, explains, connectivity presented its own unique challenges. "In the original system the DSP unit transmitted audio via Cobranet to the speakers, while simultaneously sending AVB audio streams to remote amplifiers that covered the hallways, lobby, backstage, and other areas. We needed to convert all existing Cobranet audio devices to Dante - this had to include the existing center array and center delay hang."
This is where things began to get tricky. Neither the new speakers nor the existing speakers had native Dante capability, though they did have digital AES3 inputs. "We needed a way to convert from Dante to AES3 at each speaker location," Galecki continues. "Simple enough, but we also needed to maintain an Ethernet connection to each speaker for monitoring and control via Renkus Heinz RHAON and JBL Performance Manager software. The challenge was that we only had one network port available at each speaker location, and adding additional network runs to each location was not an option."



While there are plenty of products available to perform a straightforward Dante to AES3 conversion, in this case the requirement also included a need for a two-port network switch, to break out the converted AES3 digital signal and continue the network connection on to the speaker. Galecki found the solution in Attero Tech's innovative Dante-based interfaces - mainly, the unDAES-O four-channel Dante-to-AES3 interface.
"We utilized five unDAES-O units in all," Galecki explains, "at each array hang, each subwoofer pair, and the center delay speaker. The JBL Vertec products have a 'cross-patch' feature that allows them to pass the AES3 signal through to other speakers in the group, so only one unDAES-O was required at the first speaker in each group or array."
The existing Renkus-Heinz center array also posed a special challenge, adds Galecki. "The array is located 30 feet in the air at the top of the proscenium opening, on a fixed suspension that did not allow the array to be lowered. There was no way to access the speaker connections without a lift, which the facility did not have." Again, Attero Tech connectivity provided the solution. "When the center array was originally installed, analog cables were connected to each box and routed to the catwalk above the array for possible future use. To save the expense and hassle of renting a lift, we opted to utilize an Attero Tech UND4O Dante to analog audio converter at this location, connecting the four analog outputs to the existing analog wiring down to each speaker."
For the Wilson Center project, Galecki points to Attero Tech as a simple and elegant solution to what would have otherwise been a complicated challenge. "Attero Tech products are compact, easy to use, and reliable, besides being an elegant cost-saving solution to our design challenges," he concludes. "As far I know, there is no comparable product on the market."




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