NEWS

AVL Designs Inc. Featured on ProSoundWeb

NY-Based AVL Designs Inc. Deploys Yamaha AFC On Numerous Projects Over Several Years

Acoutical designers and engineers at Ciminelli Recital Hall  at Buffalo State University
Audio engineers working with performers in Ciminelli Recital Hall at Buffalo State.

Reprint from ProSoundWeb article April 23, 2020

Company principal/owner, Seth Waltz, reflects on the evolution and application of acoustic room conditioning technology on a range of projects.

Seth Waltz, a principal and owner of AVL Designs, a Penfield, NY-based firm specializing in A/V system design for performing arts, theater, worship, and several other applications, has worked closely with every version of Yamaha Active Field Control (AFC) acoustic room conditioning technology for more than 15 years.

He’s seen numerous changes in each of these applications, with traditionally high-end technologies being applied to smaller environments.

“Auditoriums with a few speakers and a microphone were once considered high-end A/V rooms,” he notes. “Now these same venues are being outfitted with million-dollar technology. The digital era has created a whole new mindset where a performing arts center, even at the school level, is looking for a higher level of everything: acoustics, sound quality, video quality and streaming. It’s all tied together.”

His first experience with AFC and its ability to configure and condition a space came in 2004 when he and his associate Geoff Nichols were invited by Yamaha to a system demo.

“We walked into what looked like a large office space with drop ceilings,” he explains. “A pianist backed by a string quartet performed for us with AFC applied to the room. If you closed your eyes, you would swear you were in a 500-seat theater. It sounded extremely natural. We got to play around with the system and we soon realized this is the future of room acoustics as far as having the ability to modify a facility as needed.”

AVL Designs Inc. first implemented the AFC system on a design project in 2005, turning a “plain Jane auditorium” into what sounded like a completely different sonic environment and drawing rave reviews from the project owner as well as the musicians who performed there.

Waltz points out that AFC technology has improved greatly over time, especially in terms of its processing and responsiveness. He’s also suggested new system developments such as an “orchestra shell”, allowing him to configure the stage as opposed to just the seating areas.

“With most of our jobs now, we’re simulating the performance of orchestra shells as well as covering the seating area and early reflections,” he says. “Now that the processors have become so powerful there’s no limit to what type of space AFC can fit. We don’t have to even think twice about metallic edging or other factors. It sounds so smooth that nobody seems to know it’s there.”

Waltz noted the only challenge to a successful AFC installation is a room with a high degree of mechanical noise, more common on projects that are updates to an existing space.

“You can’t have background noise or anything that creates echoes,” he said. “You won’t hear the nuances of the reverberation. Plus, the microphones pick up the noise and cycle it back through the system.”

Waltz looks forward to future versions of AFC incorporating new features and capabilities suited to a diverse range of applications. These include using the system as an effects device or controlling it via a mobile device. AFC4 can be controlled using the Yamaha ProVisionaire Control app on a PC or Windows tablet as well as ProVisionaire touch for iPad. These two software tools allow customers to create customer user interfaces to control various Yamaha equipment to simplify system operation for non-audio professionals.

Whatever changes are ahead for Active Field Control, Waltz is already confident in the technology’s ability to handle any project challenge. “Often at the tail end of a bid, someone changes the seating and suddenly the space is absorbing a sound we didn’t expect,” he concludes. “Or, something may happen during construction where you end up with different frequencies or there’s some other problem you wish you could do something about. AFC fills in the holes and helps compensate for these factors.

I tell clients, ‘I can give you one room that does one thing really well, or I can give you a room that does several different things well.’ Accomplishing this with physical construction alone is limiting, but AFC is extremely flexible and able to make one room do the job of many. It’s such a great tool.”

/
Yamaha Pro Audio

Read More

University of Rochester Recording Studio at Gavett Hall


Popularity has its challenges. The University of Rochester, for instance, offers an audio and music engineering program which already had a couple of recording facilities on campus. With a vision for the future of the sound industry, and under the leadership of Grammy Award winning audio engineer Stephen Roessner, this rapidly growing major of study at the university needed new space.  

New recording studio in U of R’s Gavett Hall.

To accommodate the growth and development of the program, the U of R planned to install a new recording studio with larger live rooms, multiple mix rooms and a large control room for instructional purposes.

The building that was selected was Gavett Hall. The team of experts hired to carry out the task were AVL Designs Inc., SWBR architects and Bergmann Engineers working in conjunction with the U of R decision makers.

The greatest challenge in utilizing Gavett Hall for the studio is that the location put the live room directly above a computer lab in an existing building. Live rooms can have sound pressure in the 104dB + range when used for live bands. It was critical that these sessions could occur without the computer lab hearing it.

Source University of Rochester photo J. Adam Fenster

AVL Designs Inc. was contracted for acoustical design as well as creating an infrastructure for equipment to be added at a later date. Working with SWBR’s architect and their structural engineer, we had to find a way to assess what options we would have for controlling transfer between floors. A floating slab system was designed but it was being installed upon a substrate that was not the standard for this type of system.

Utilizing custom software, an estimate of field STC (Sound Transmission Class) for this assembly was derived. Walls were designed to isolate the live room from the main control room as well as from hallways and adjacent mix suites. High STC doors from industrial acoustics corporation were selected for all of these spaces as well. Final field tests confirmed that the floor to floor isolation was within two decibels of design standards, which with a custom assembly is exceptional.

Mechanical noise in the spaces needed to meet very low levels, in the RC 20 range. We also had to make sure duct runs and conduit did not create sound breaks in the wall construction which was designed to high STC levels.  This required specialized mechanical design and electrical.  Our AV design team worked with mechanical and electrical engineers from Bergmann Associates to achieve the desired results.

The university has since outfitted the spaces with their own equipment and have installed wiring to the infrastructure that was designed in the project and the project went online very recently.

Read Bergmann PC’s article here

Read University of Rochester’s article “The Art and Science of Sound” here

/

Copyright AVL Designs Inc. 2020+

Read More

New Television Studio Facility at Edison Tech

As part of an expanded program to teach high school students production in the news and television arena, Edison Technical High School in Rochester, New York has added a new 4k-capable television studio facility.

New television studio facility at Edison Tech in Rochester New York.

AVL Designs Inc. created the design for acoustics, video systems, lighting, curtains and rigging.

The soundproof studio allows observers to watch the on-camera action through adjacent windows. An attached computer classroom with video editing CPU’s is available for students to edit and modify the content produced in the studio. See more =>>

Read More

LeMoyne College – Grewen Hall

Grewen Hall at LeMoyne College Syracuse NY

Grewen Hall at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York is the oldest – and largest – building on the prestigious campus. Built in 1948, the 86,500 square foot Grewen Hall boasts 17 classrooms, numerous administrative offices and lecture halls.

Acoustical and audio visual designs by AVL Designs Inc for Grewen Hall

AVL Designs Inc. has been working with Le Moyne College for a number of years on many successful projects including classrooms, medical wings, science buildings, performance spaces and other parts of the campus. This most recent project was a renovation of a large lecture hall in Grewen Hall.  AVL Designs Inc.  created the acoustical, as well as audio visual,  designs. 

Pictured here:  assorted wooden acoustical panels  – some absorptive, some reflective-  chosen for their excellence and unique functions. The extensive AV system features a Crestron control system and Panasonic projectors.       

Read More

State University of New York at Cobleskill

AVL Designs Inc. recently completed a multi-faceted project at the State University of New York at Cobleskill.

The project consisted of a renovation of a lecture hall and a gymnasium field house. The lecture hall space is now being used for more multipurpose events including music, standup comedy, small theater presentations and video conferencing.

SUNY Cobleskill auditorium renovation #acoustics #audio #lighting #rigging #design

AVL Designs Inc. was contracted by the architect to provide acoustic design, audio system design, stage rigging, curtains, lighting and controls as well as video presentation capabilities for their new lecture hall.

Before and after photos show you the extent of the renovation, which was substantial.  In essence, it was a “full gut” of the space.

The gymnasium/field house had two issues. One was extremely live acoustics making the room unsuitable for many uses. Graduation and other events are performed in the gymnasium and the sound quality was quite poor. The primary reasons for this were twofold. One contributing factor was the acoustical condition of the room and the other was the sound system itself.

The old system suffered from poor intelligibility due to comb filtering. This was a result of a poor design not poor devices. The new design includes Danley loud speakers which are used for both bleachers and general court area audio. A fully distributed system over the court is used for events such as graduation. Acoustical treatment has been added throughout the gymnasium to reduce reverberation time and to minimize first reflection energy from the sound system.

Both spaces were ready for use early this year and have been well received by the clients and their guests.

Read More

University At Albany PDP Studios

The Professional Development Program, part of Rockefeller College at the University at Albany, supports and enhances the public policy mission of the State of NY through training, research, and evaluation studies. PDP operates a video studio that creates content to support PDP’s goals and activities.

The prior studio was located off campus in a business office building. Recently the Campus decided to relocate the studios to the U Albany campus, and move it adjacent to U Albany’s media facilities studios. PDP typically serves over 25,000 participants through approximately 3,500 instructional activities on an annual basis. This relocation involved total renovation of some aged existing studios in the U Albany subbasement.

The architect Hyman Hayes Associates contracted AVL Designs Inc. to provide acoustical, audio, video, lighting, and rigging design for the new studios.

SUNY Albany studios video shoot #broadcasting

There are two primary studios each with multiple shooting areas. A combination of ground cycs, green screens, curtain backdrops and photo backdrops support the ability to move a variety of projects through each space daily.

SUNY Albany broadcast studio pic

The primary PDP space has five 1080 P broadcast cameras and a tracked lighting grid, making the space very flexible. A white corner cyc, green screen, and curtains provide multiple looks for programs they create. A cloud based on line broadcast system (LTN Global) allows content to be directly aired on major new networks when required.

University at Albany media is next door to PDP with somewhat different tasking. Media is primarily for on campus needs for video, interviews, still photography, and also has an LTN global link to connect to network. Media is a 4K studio.

U Albany PDP broadcast studio

Read More