WEST POINT, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 2012: The United States Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) provides critical academic training to promising students who aspire to be admitted to the US Army’s prestigious West Point Military Academy. Although the core institution of USMAPS has been around for nearly a century at various locations throughout the country, only recently did it commit to new construction in the town of West Point, New York, adjacent to the military academy. A multi-purpose lecture hall/ auditorium is the largest room in the new building (excepting sports-related facilities) and seats approx. 325 students. USMAPS hired New York-based Pro Sound Associates to integrate the room’s audio and video components, many of which were already purchased. Company owner Dominick Campana relied on an Ashly ne24.24M modular processor to tie the disparate pieces together in a way that would be reliable and easy for the school’s staff to operate.
“When I came on board, they already had Crestron control equipment and all of the video gear on hand,” Campana said. “They had some good stuff, but they weren’t in a position to make it all work harmoniously. In addition, they had committed to purchasing Crown amps and JBL loudspeakers and subwoofers. Although the Crown amps had on-board DSP, I wasn’t comfortable tying together the entire system with it.” Under the direction of Campana, sister company Pro Sound Alliance (a division of Live Sound, Inc.) handled the audio installation, and Adwar Video handled the video and system control installation.
“The West Point Military Academy has top-notch A/V staff that I knew would be available to operate the system for more involved productions,” said Campana. “But on a day-to-day basis, the interface and operation had to be very simple. A lecturer would want to be able to speak into a wireless mic, display a PowerPoint, and control both from a wireless tablet. I have years of successful systems and happy clients with Ashly-based processing. The Ashly ne24.24M is easy to use, flexible, and robustly accommodating of third-party control systems. Moreover, it networks without requiring a bunch of proprietary protocols or code… and it sounds musical, unlike a lot of its decidedly digital-sounding competition.”
An Extron video switcher paired with a Christie 9500-lumen projector forms the heart of the room’s video system. A combination of AKG and Shure wireless and wired mics join a comprehensive array of line-level inputs at the audio system’s front-end. An 8x8 Ashly ne24.24M routes them in coordination with the video system. Three Crown XTI-Series amplifiers power JBL VRX subwoofers and bi-amped line array components. Self-powered QSC K8 stage monitors and Fostex 6301B reference monitors complete the output stage. For more involved productions, a Yamaha 01v96vcm digital mixing console provides comprehensive, real-time control over all audio inputs. However, most of the time a Crestron CP2E processor and TPMC-8x wireless touch panel provide simple volume control and selection of four presets: speech only, live music, multimedia, and movie presentation.
In addition to its prescribed roles as routing logic navigator, control system integrator, and loudspeaker conditioner, the Ashly ne24.24M has an additional duty at USMAPS. “The room itself was finished with a concrete floor and sheet rock walls and ceiling,” explained Campana. “It has a big, boomy sound that can actually do a pretty good job with an unamplified voice. But the sound system naturally wants to energize the howl that resides between 400 and 630 Hz, and we had to get creative with Ashly’s comprehensive equalization modules to even things out.”