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The new Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMU), which cost £75m to develop, features sound reinforcement and control from Harman Professional brands through its many newly-equipped lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

Surrounded by a stunning glass atrium, the three large lecture theatres on the ground floor (each holding 250) are complemented by three 120-seat smaller theatres, while higher up the seven-storey building further featured meeting rooms can be laid out in cabaret or theatre style — and are supported by smaller multiple glass meeting rooms of varying sizes and capacities.

Roche AV won the tender for the full audio-visual fit-out on the University’s All Saints campus, providing technical infrastructures to suit the various rooms’ requirements. The spec included six JBL CBT 70J column loudspeakers and four JBL Control 1’s, 14 Crown XTi 1002 DSP control amplifiers, six dbx 640M Digital Zone Processors and eight Soundcraft EPM-8 rackmount mixers — all supplied by Harman Professional’s UK and Eire distributors, Sound Technology Ltd. Having won a competitive bid, Roche AV’s Martin Clay was responsible for producing the technical specification (interfacing with some of the University’s own recommendations).

The three large lecture theatres and eight medium and small sized rooms are the main focus of the audio technology, while smaller rooms were simply fitted with projection screens

“This project was ideal since we were handed an empty building and were able to plug into the new cabling infrastructure,” he said.

Of his product choice, Martin Clay stated, “I had used dbx processing in the past, and with six inputs and four outputs it’s a flexible tool at exactly the right price point, with the matrix element that we really needed.” The device routes inputs from the various playback devices and mics to any output, including PA and induction loop system in the larger theatres.

The Roche AV technical director had also worked previously with the JBL CBT 70J, and is a big fan of the Constant Beamwidth design. “They look extremely modern,” he said. “We needed something with good quality output that would throw the sound across the large area of the group study room and this was ideal. Also there is an adjustment, enabling it to be tuned for music or voice — which is another benefit.

”Deployment of the various Harman Pro tools includes three large lecture theatres and three medium theatres, using Crown XTi 1002 amplification for playback audio and dbx ZonePro 640M for all audio processing; three MBA lecture theatres fitted with Crown XTi 1002 amplification for playback audio and Soundcraft EPM-8 8-channel multipurpose mixer for all audio processing; four small lecture theatres, fitted with a pair of JBL CBT 70J, Crown XTi 1002 amplification and Soundcraft EPM-8 for audio processing; four IT labs, each with a pair of JBL Control 1 Pro’s, and a group study room featuring a pair of JBL CBT 70J (either side of the projection screen) — along with a Crown XTi 1002 and Soundcraft EPM-8 for all audio processing.

The University itself had specified the Crown amplifiers and the Soundcraft EPM-8’s; these sit on a sliding tray at the bottom of each of the TeamMate AV racks. With their 60mm high-quality faders, the EPM’s are ideal — particularly for handling the induction loop requirements — while Martin Clay also praises the quality of the GB30 mic amp.

The entire installation operates under Crestron master control, which was programmed by Clay and his co-programmer Paul Nicholson, while the day-to-day project management was under the direction of senior engineer, Craig Pickard.


  • Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
  • New £75m business school at MMU

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