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Before room design could truly go under way, audio and video monitoring and studio furniture had to be chosen for the Conrad Control room. Both became challenging aspects in design of the control room primarily because of its physical size. As with any studio, finding solidly constructed studio furniture that allows for optimal ease of use of the control room is crucial. Sound Construction and Supply, who produce solid and elegantly designed studio furniture, had a pre-existing design for the DM2000 that could be easily modified for the Conrad Control Room. However, monitoring took more finesse. In other control rooms, CIM utilizes precision-grade monitoring from ATC. However, the physical size of those monitors makes them difficult to use given the dimensions of the control room (approximately 16'7" L × 13'8" W × 11'8" H without acoustic treatment). Thus began the quest to find accurate and transparent mastering quality surround monitoring that could physically fit in the control. After listening to a wide variety of monitors, Lipinski Sound monitors and matching amplifiers were chosen. However, Lipinski's monitors had not been tested by THX, a process required to ensure studio performance and precision and provide their performance characteristics so to accurately plot how their acoustic properties would interact inside the room. This led to another fantastic collaboration where all components from Lipinski Sound, including the L-707 monitors, L-150 subwoofers and monoblock amplifiers were tested and THX approved. For video monitoring, professional JVC monitors were used as well as THX approved Sharp LC46D62U HDTV.
With the primary furniture and components chosen, it was time to finalize the interior room design. Steven Martz and Andrew Poulain of THX went to work outlining where the components should reside for optimum use. Every aspect was examined by the THX team, who primarily focused on room design and acoustics, equipment performance, integration and speaker placement. Eventually, studio plans were drafted, finalized and approved for installation.
The interior acoustics utilize RPG Modex Broadband plate absorbers, Abflector acoustic panels and an array of their diffusion products. The products transformed the room into an exceptionally comfortable studio space. With acoustic treatment complete, the studio furniture and monitoring was installed appropriately. The Yamaha DM2000VCM and other key components were connected to what CIM production employees have affectionately nicknamed “the brain”. A narrow and confined room, it is a machine room designed in tandem with the Conrad Control Room and Mixon Hall, but that is not all. The machine room is also the central point through which all the audio and video interconnectivity throughout CIM passes including the pre-existing control room for CIM's Kulas Hall, Pogue Lobby and the student lounge. The room is also connected to CIM's Kulas Center for International Education and Patrick Audio Recording Center, which provide distance learning and audio instruction respectively. The brain also houses the majority of audio and video systems including wireless microphones and amplification systems for Mixon Hall. Wiring consists of thousands of single pairs of Belden or Gepco digital audio cable, high-definition coax cable along with CAT 5E and CAT 6 (all terminated through digital-grade ADC patch panels). Non-terminated (dark) fiber has also been installed throughout to ensure that as new technologies become available, they could be easily integrated.
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