Simmons College Hits Internet With Harris

User Report: NetWave Consoles Handle On-Air and Production Duties
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AUBURN, N.H. During the summer of 2008, Technet Systems was commissioned to work on a project for Simmons College in Boston. The project focused on the design and integration of a new radio broadcast facility to power a new Internet radio station.

Technet was hired as the turnkey integrator, providing technical consulting for room design and construction, equipment configuration and selection, equipment procurement, system wiring, training and initial start-up.

The scope of work required some architectural design and remodeling of an existing space with two distinct offices. New partition walls were added to break the space into two studios (on-air and production) and a sound lock/green room. Technet works with many vendors and after careful consideration selected Harris as the chief equipment vendor for the project.

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The design capabilities of the Harris Pacific Design Center group and the user-friendly, feature-rich benefits of the Harris NetWave digital console were notable in the selection.

Two consoles

Two Harris NetWave 16/12 consoles were installed for the on-air and production operations. The NetWave was selected for a variety of reasons, primarily due to ease of use and durability in an educational facility environment.

Training took place immediately upon completion and required little time, as the NetWave layout is easy to understand and intuitive in operation. The combination of analog and digital I/Os also provides plenty of flexibility for meeting the needs of the college today and in the future.

Both the on-air and production rooms are designed the same to make it easy for students to shuttle operations between the two studios. Students use the consoles in each room, along with the venerable Electro-Voice RE20 microphones on OC White arms, Harris integrated headphone amplifiers, Denon CD players and Broadcast Tools audio switches — all provided through Technet and Harris. Each console accepts multiple live and recorded sources for on-air and production purposes.

Although secondary to the technical operation, the sleek appearance of the NetWave played a role in attracting student interest in the facility. In fact, the studios were well planned in advance to ensure that the appearance would attract student interest.

The Harris Pacific Design Center assisted in the interior design of the studio space, as well as design and construction documentation for the studio build. This allowed the staff at Simmons College to obtain a final view of what the studios would look like prior to beginning construction.

Space limitation required that all of the technical "core" also be contained within the two studios. The minimal wiring needs coupled with the generous cabinet space afforded by Harris furniture design allowed for a clean, easy-to-maintain wiring backbone between the NetWaves and core equipment.

Simmons College Radio is now streaming around the clock and part of the 1,000-member Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. An association with the new IBS/Backbone Student Radio Network has made the station's signal available through Apple iTunes as well as the Simmons College Web site (www.simmons.edu). The station is operated and managed by students, faculty, staff and other members of the Simmons College community.

Len Mailloux, general manager of Simmons College Radio and a member of the Communications faculty, said, "Most of our staff has very little studio training before joining the station and they find it easy to learn and operate. The board is simple, well-designed and the quality is excellent."

He singled out the World Feed I/O connector panel. "It allows us to input from or record to any type of device. Students can use iPods, MP3 players, laptops and other hardware to play music, features and interviews on their shows."

By coupling the Harris Pacific Design Center group's capabilities with the local hands-on service of Technet, the team was able to meet all of the college's expectations. The NetWave has enabled a clean and simple on-air and production operation for the college, also offering enhanced mix-minus capabilities for remote interaction and networkable features for source sharing if the college decides to add network capabilities between the two studios in the future.

Steve Vanni is president of the Technet Systems Group.

For information, contact Harris Broadcast Communications at (513) 459-3400 or visit www.harris.com.

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