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State-of-the-art AV for Epsom College, with autographed audio

Epsom College is an independent co-educational school in Epsom Downs in Surrey for pupils aged 11 to 18. Originally founded in 1855, she obtained royal patronage from her Majesty Queen Victoria in the same year and the royal ties continue to this day as her patron and her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The college welcomes day pupils with boarding schools in five of the 13 houses in the older part of the school.

Autograph’s relationship with Epsom College dates back to a few years ago, when they were initially asked to supply some subminiature microphones and later a new EM Acoustics amplification system for Big School. In due course Autograph was invited to return to discuss AV distribution solutions as it became apparent that the College’s existing systems needed to be upgraded to stay in line with the needs of a leading independent school. Those discussions continued and it eventually became obvious that a centralized AV control and integration system was needed as well as a new PA in the main room. The Big School also needed “college” and “performance” modes based on its various uses, whereas at the time the Chapel was the largest individual space with a PA installed but had no AV facilities.

Before construction began, Autograph’s engineering team introduced and demonstrated numerous new technologies to the customer, as well as bringing a new technical perspective to what was possible with modern equipment. Autograph subsequently designed, installed and commissioned a bespoke site-wide networked audiovisual system that not only meets the school’s current needs, but also allows for easy expansion as its needs continue to grow.

Three separate venues are now networked for AV purposes: Big School, primarily the college’s main auditorium, Main Hall which is a smaller, multipurpose auditorium, and The Chapel, historically used only for services but which has found increasing use as additional space When required.

The integrated AV system uses QSC’s Q-SYS controllers and their customizable touch screens that allow school staff to operate and change modes from anywhere. There is a QSC Core unit in each room, connected by a fiber network using Netgear switchers. Autograph also provided eight channels of Shure’s latest SLX-D wireless digital microphone systems for use in all three locations.

Autograph’s design for the Chapel includes eight Panasonic screens mounted on motorized and automated arms that hold them flat to the walls or extend them outward so that all in large numbers of viewers can clearly see a 4K resolution screen. During the COVID pandemic, social distancing requirements meant that the Chapel (as the largest space) was used for other events where more needed to be safely housed. Centralized control via custom touch screens also means the College’s full-time AV team is free to run things like live streaming events.

Epsom College AV Engineer Mark Bishop commented, “After using Autograph for a previous PA installation, we were very keen to use them again when planning a new College-wide AV system. Our layout for three spaces – Main Hall, Big School and Chapel – had become unreliable and we needed a modern, up-to-date system to deliver much higher quality AV for the growing demands of College events. Autograph quickly understood the specific needs of each room, so they designed and installed a system that has already made an incredible difference to each event throughout the year. “

“The new networked system using Q-SYS in each room allows us to quickly organize events at short notice, with the confidence that each space will perform as expected every time. Q-SYS touchscreens mean operation is simple for all staff to use, but with the ability for our AV team to make more detailed configuration changes when needed.

He continues: “The Big School is a particularly crowded space with multiple uses in a single day. Adam and his team designed the system so that you can quickly go from a morning assembly to a visiting lecturer with their own equipment that needs to be integrated with ours, ending with an evening concert. This is a huge improvement and has given us our main focus of audio and video quality, along with the reliability expected from all College staff. “

“The new system in Chapel with 8 screens on motorized arms and a new lectern with touchscreen and video capabilities has allowed the College to increase the number of events it can host that require AV. Again, Autograph’s design and installation gave us AV’s highest standards, while still being in tune with the historic nature of the building. “

Mark concludes: “The new PA in the main room, along with an all-new rack containing a media player, Shure portable and lapel microphone systems and a touchscreen, means the room is much more flexible than before and the best sound quality was instantly. evident. “

“We look forward to working with Autograph again soon on a number of projects!”

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State-of-the-art AV for Epsom College, with autographed audio

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