• Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union
  • £10m refurbishment of MMU's student union building

Project Team

Adlib has carried out a sound and lighting installation for Manchester Met Student Union (MMU’s) new SU Hall — designing a flexible and integrated HARMAN Professional solution for a multitude of audio reinforcement duties.

Adlib was awarded the contract for the new £10 million MMU SU Building, which is situated adjacent to the Union’s Salutation pub, based on their design recommendations, and the relationship that has developed since the company first started supporting MMU with equipment rental and sales.

Overseen by Adlib’s Ian Nelson, the design concept is aimed to maximise multiple use of a building involving a bar, multipurpose entertainment space, admin offices, a shop, café and conferencing facilities. The system will cater for student union events, from comedy and club nights though to conferences and exhibitions, and be able to cope with numerous room layouts.

JBL’s AM5212 and 5215 were specified to define the required coverage patterns. “The AM Series was chosen as it provided the best combination of performance and price when compared to a number of competitors’ products,” said Nelson. “As the majority of the control and amplification system were HARMAN products it made sense to keep all of the audio equipment under the one banner to allow for ease of system integration and processing.”

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The six dual 18in ASB6128 subwoofers are positioned at the sides of the room in three rows of two — one at each side of the room (in ‘Club mode’). Each line is delayed back to subs at the ‘stage end’ of the room, and in this mode it is used on a day-to-day basis for background music and also for club nights.

The second mode is ‘Stage Subs’, where the ASB6128s are stacked either side of a portable stage at one end of the room for live events, when the room is polarised through the use of a portable stage.

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Switching between the two modes is handled via a BSS BLU-160 DSP through the use of parameter presets, and also via Ethernet control messages sent via the HARMAN HiQnet network which causes the Crown iTech 9000HD amplifiers running the subs to change presets to reflect the different delays required for each sub position.

A third mode is also employed which allows the system to be run without the subs, when a parameter preset in the BLU-160 mutes the subs and changes the frequency response of the AM Series boxes to allow full range operation. Assigned to the AM enclosures are Crown’s XTi 6002 amplifiers, while BSS BLU-10 remote touch screen displays also provide local control.

With all eight analogue inputs and eight analogue outputs of the BLU-160 accounted for, Adlib added two BLU-BIB Break-In Boxes and a BLU-BOB Break-Out Box for a total I/O channel count of 24 inputs and 16 outputs.One BSS BLU-BIB allows for small scale conferencing and presentation events to be staged without the need to bring a mixing desk while the second, located in the main control rack, allows for a mixing console to be patched into the system via the cabling infrastructure as well as Sky TV and a feed from the bar audio system to allow the bar and SU Hall to be linked.

Meanwhile, with the BLU-BOB is located in the main control rack the outputs and expander drive the entire loudspeaker system.

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The main signal distribution is also handled by the BLU-160 through the use of Matrix blocks within the software design, and controlled via the BLU-10 remotes (variously located in the Tech booth, in a lockable steel cabinet in the SU Hall itself and at the stage end of the room, to allow local system control when an event is held that use the BLU-BIB inputs located in this same rack.

All the equipment was supplied by Sound Technology Ltd, Harman Professional’s UK distributors for the UK and Eire, with Ben Todd and Hugo Burnard from their Project Team supporting the installation.

Ian Nelson is satisfied that this well thought out implementation now provides the facility’s Digital Media Coordinator, Tom Maurice, with all the necessary tools and system versatility to reinforce their entire work roster.

“The system has been performing extremely well,” Nelson confirmed. “The AM series speakers sound great and the feedback we have had from the MMU staff and visiting engineers has been excellent.

“The decision to install a complete suite of HARMAN products has proved to be a good one as any late requirement changes have meant we have been able to change the system design and operation without the need to expand the hardware spec.”

He added that the integrated approach of the HiQnet architecture had been a great advantage, with many of the items in the design talking to each other when required to change the format of the system to suit different types of event.”

The new system has allowed the MMU SU to plan and host a much greater variety of events than was previously available in the old building.

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Tom Maurice was effusive in his praise. “The JBL system is fantastic and sounds great in the space. It’s given us brilliant sound on all events from club nights, awards ceremonies, live acts and bands and can really shake the room when we need it to get loud!

“It’s also been a pleasure to work with Adlib over the last year, Installing a system that ticks all the boxes and allows us to host a variety of events with ease. All the staff from Adlib have been fantastic and incredibly helpful every step of the way and we’re looking forward to working with them on more events in the future.”

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