Just before the academic summer recess, the Roeselare Vives University College campus installed a Shure Microflex Wireless system in its main auditorium and four lecture rooms. PSNE’s Belgium correspondent Marc Maes takes us inside...
The Vives University College is the biggest university college in West-Flanders, with more than 13,000 students, 1,200 staffers and some 1,000 expert-lecturers. The college has campuses in major cities such as Bruges, Ostend, Kortrijk, Torhout and Roeselare.
“The use of microphones during lecture sessions had rapidly evolved, from the early handheld and lavalier microphones, headset microphones to the new wireless systems,” says Andres Clauw, IT and technical engineer at Vives Roeselare. “But with investments spread over the years, we had an inventory of different brands and models – interference of wireless frequencies was the main problem. Alongside our educational mission, we also noted an increasing demand for our auditorium and lecture rooms from external organisations. We needed an absolutely failsafe system combining pristine sound and intelligibility, without interfering frequencies – in the same move we wanted to deal with the problem of low batteries with the transmitters.”
Earlier this year, Vives contacted system integrator Deltavox, a Bruges-based full service A/V solutions provider, who carried out a first assignment for Vives Roeselare two years ago.
“The main problem of the campus was indeed the multiple frequencies, very often used in adjacent lecture rooms,” echoes Johan Missault, CEO of Deltavox Projects. “So when we were asked to supply and install a new configuration to avoid the interference, we rapidly agreed that the Shure Microflex Wireless system would be the perfect solution.”
In a first step, Deltavox Projects installed a Shure Microflex Wireless (MXW series) set-up in the new, 300 capacity theatre. The auditorium was equipped with a Shure MXWAPT4 Access Point Transceiver and a set of transmitters, consisting of an MXW2/SM58, an MXW1/o body-pack with a WL185 lavalier cardioid microphone, a Clockaudio CMH2000 headset and a matching MXWNCS4 charging station.
“The lecterns were fitted with wired Microflex MX418/s gooseneck microphones. By using a DECT based wireless system, resulting in interference-free operation (as opposed to a typically congested UHF spectrum) and the option of future expansion of the system, the Microflex system meets our demands,” says Clauw.
“The main problem of the campus was indeed the multiple frequencies, very often used in adjacent lecture rooms, so when we were asked to supply and install a new configuration to avoid the interference, we rapidly agreed that the Shure Microflex Wireless system would be the perfect solution.”
Johan Missault, CEO of Deltavox Projects
Also, from the end-user’s perspective (lecturers and professors), reactions were positive across the board - using a wireless microphone is a simple matter of picking up a transmitter from the charging station and pressing the push-to-talk button.
In the second phase of the project, Deltavox upgraded four existing seminar rooms, each with a capacity of 50 to 60 students. Each room has now been fitted with a Shure MXWAPT2 Access Point Transceiver, a handheld Shure MXW2/SM58 and an MXW1 bodypack with a Clockaudio headset and a MXWNCS2 networked charging station.
“MXW’s automatic frequency coordination ensures continuous use of clean, interference-free RF,” says Michel Baars, Shure Benelux Systems Group marketing specialist. “Transmitters with flat batteries are also a thing of the past with MXW’s advanced Lithium ion rechargeable batteries, which have an operating life of up to nine hours’ continuous use, and can be fully charged in two hours, with the charging status visible at all times on the charging station.”
To ensure optimum user-friendliness of the systems, all of the system-settings are controlled via Shure’s dedicated browser-based MXW GUI.
According to Clauw, the upgrade also had positive effects on the interference in other campus lecture rooms thanks to the MXW technology, allowing a more precise distribution of the available frequencies. “The new system is a huge step forward but it’s quite an investment for a campus like ours, working with strict annual budgets. The system may be somewhat ‘overkill’, and today we’re not using all of its functionalities, but we will in the future,” concludes Clauw. “The other Vives campuses are closely monitoring this upgrade and we’re currently setting up a trans-campus A/V team looking into the matter of audio and video projection in the seminar rooms and auditoria.”
In the same move, Deltavox also upgraded the speaker system: a set of Bose Panaray MA12 Modular line array speakers was put in place with every new Shure Microflex system.
“We continued the path of ‘easy-to-operate’ with a Bose CC64 Control Space panel in the auditorium and CC16 controllers in the class rooms,” explains Missault. “We have calibrated the systems to fit the aula and room’s acoustics and requirements – options like sound colour, compression and gain are set in the controller’s main menu, leaving just an Extron touch-screen volume control for the user of the system. Both the Shure wireless signal and the wired lectern microphone are routed via a ESP88 processor using the Dante protocol, and then channelled to the respective Bose Powermatch PM8250N amplifiers.”