WFCR exposes more than news in its new studio
Facility Showcase, Nov 2009
Chrobak lined up the office, studio and control room in a row, with a corridor running along one side to connect them. The low HVAC ductwork was re-routed away from the studio and control room to run over the corridor, so the broadcast rooms could open up to the full height available.
The studio and control room have a raised floor sitting on small blocks of fiberglass isolators. Double walls provide acoustic isolation, with the side corridor serving as an additional buffer. Acoustic panels were applied to all new walls in the studio and control room. The acoustical ceiling has extra sound-absorbing fiberglass backing each panel.
The old posts and beams were left partially exposed to preserve the historical qualities of the building. Instead of burying the posts within new walls, the wallboard was placed between them so the posts are visible between the acoustic panels. Instead of burying the beams behind an acoustical ceiling, the ceiling was hung between the beams, leaving four inches of the old hand-hewn wood exposed.
The brick wall running along one side of the space was once an exterior wall of the old warehouse, but had become an interior wall when a television studio was built on the other side. Demolition of the television offices revealed that the wall's window openings had been filled with unpainted cement block. This was carefully pulled out and the gaps filled with new brick treated to blend with the old.
In selecting equipment and furniture for the Springfield studio, WFCR was thinking ahead to the eventual upgrading of its main studio in Amherst. The control board system, microphones, CD players and studio furniture chosen for Springfield will later be used in Amherst.
The control boards will be the biggest change, taking WFCR from the traditional architecture of stand-alone boards with audio running through their modules to a digital audio engine system. The flexibility this gives will be most valuable in the multi-control room setting of the main studio, but for consistency the same brand was installed first in the single control room of Springfield.
WFCR uses Neumann U-87 microphones in the main studio, but needed something less expensive for the Springfield studio. After careful auditioning — because the microphone has more to do with what listeners hear than most other elements of the project do — the station chose one that is much less expensive than a U-87, but good enough to use beside them — the Shure KSM44.
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