University of Cambridge

The ability to cope with challenging acoustics and flexible routing requirements were chief among the factors that led to the recent specification of a Xilica Neutrino A0808 digital signal processor in the Dining Hall at Jesus College.

Part of the University of Cambridge, Jesus College has more than 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and a list of alumni that includes poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and playwright Sir David Hare. But although its provenance might be long and distinguished, the College maintains a technological infrastructure that is the very definition of cutting-edge.

For one of its most recent upgrade initiatives, it decided to overhaul the audio infrastructure in its Dining Hall. For some time it had been felt that intelligibility – or lack thereof – in the room was a major issue, and with the hall hosting numerous prestigious functions this wasn’t a state of affairs that could be allowed to continue. Working in close cooperation, integrator About Sound and distributor Audiologic devised and implemented a replacement solution designed to deliver a significant improvement to the venue’s audio performance.

Whereas before the PA had been located at one end of the room only, the new design prioritised more localised positions, with K-array speakers situated at different positions throughout the hall. Along with K-array amplifiers and Sennheiser wireless microphones, among other core equipment, an Xilica Neutrino A0808 DSP provides the centre of operations for the revamped system.

As Audiologic Sales & Marketing Director Andy Lewis explains, the factors behind the specification of the Neutrino A0808 – which has been installed in conjunction with a single wall-mount Touch control – were relatively straightforward. “We needed a transparent-sounding, easy-to-control DSP with touch-screen operation that was completely customisable,” he says. “And I am glad to say that that is precisely what we got with the Neutrino A0808.”

The primary functions performed by the DSP are within the parameters of conventional expectations – amendment of room EQ, routing of audio inputs, and adjustment of volume levels and presets – although the challenging acoustic of the room means that the processor’s responsiveness is particularly welcome. The same might be said of its reliability, with the device operating seamlessly and without interruption since installation.

This dramatic improvement in the overall audio performance of the Hall has been noted by both the college staff and the wide range of clients who hire it out. “One of the remarks that came from the customer was that the change between the new and old systems was akin to the difference between night and day,” he says. “Comments from visiting clients have been similarly positive.”

For Audiologic, the project constituted a further good result in a long and successful history of using Xilica products. “Xilica currently offers some of the most cost-effective DSP solutions on the market in the Neutrino and Uno offerings, especially with the versions that support Dante. I am sure we will be specifying these for many other projects in the future,” concludes Lewis.