University of Missouri Student Center Retrofits with Ashly

Mizzou_StudentCenter_2Located in scenic Columbia, the University of Missouri (MIZZOU) is the Show Me State’s flagship public university, with over 35,000 students. In their free time, those students hang out in the MU Student Center, which offers numerous dining options, a bookstore, a games area, retail outlets, a bank, and countless places to relax and catch up with friends. In addition, it houses university offices.

Recently, A/V integration firm TSI Global Companies, based in St. Charles, Missouri, designed and installed a comprehensive music playback, paging, and sound masking system for the student center. The new system covers all three floors via eighteen zones from a centralized location, but because TSI used Ashly Audio network- and CobraNet®-ready multi-channel amplifiers, it required only minimal cabling.

“There were a few spaces, such as the bookstore and a few of the other retail spaces, that weren’t involved in the new sound system, but all of the offices and almost all of the public spaces were covered,” explained Tim Duncan, system sales engineer with TSI. “Part of the initial motivation for this retrofit was to provide reinforcement for the big screen they have set up in the food court – a focal point on big game days. In addition, the office space was distractingly quiet and in desperate need of sound masking. Finally, they needed paging functionality throughout the building.”

Ashly is unique in offering a powerful, reliable, 8-channel, 70-volt amplifier that’s network compatible – and, despite all those features, still competitively priced. Deploying an affordable Ashly ne8250 on each floor was the key to giving the school the functionality it desired within budget.”

“Essentially, we had one head end and three levels, with several zones on each level,” added Brandon Krepel, audio/video systems engineer at TSI. “For a lot of reasons, it made sense to try to simplify the wiring as much as possible. We used three 8-channel Ashly ne8250.70c 250W network amplifiers, one for each floor. Because they’re network power amps and CobraNet-ready, we were able to link the different floors with simple Ethernet cables. Once we had signal at each floor, it was much easier to run speaker wire through the ceiling to the various zones.

Mizzou_StudentCenter_Amps2Inputs to the system include a CD player with an iPod dock, a DirecTV receiver, a computer-based media server, and a tie-in to the telephone system for pages. In addition to acting as the sound-masking engine, a Biamp Tesira Server-IO DSP selects and routes the signals appropriately. With its high ceilings and big game-day duties, the cafeteria uses larger Atlas FAP8CXT loudspeakers. The rest of the system uses smaller Atlas FAP62T loudspeakers. “Because of the simplicity of the wiring, commissioning the system was straightforward,” said Krepel. “They wanted to get pretty granular with the destinations for particular pages, but that was easily handled with routing logic, CobraNet®, and the eight channels available in each of these amps.

Because the entire system resides on the network, the university’s building managers can access its controls directly from their PCs. “We like our designs to feature the state-of-the-art in A/V technology, coupled with the state-of-the-art in IT,” said Duncan. “The University of Missouri Student Center is a perfect case in point.”