Project Profile: HSM StoneCrest

Thorburn Associates recently partnered with Hilliard Studio Method (HSM) to provide the acoustical design of their new HSM|Core fitness studio at StoneCrest in Charlotte, NC.  HSM features classes with a unique approach to resistance training.  As more and more people fell in love with the intense workouts and great results, they expanded to accommodate the growing demand. The StoneCrest facility is the third location they have opened.

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TA took a hands-on approach to the design.  We visited both of their existing locations to measure sound levels from different classes.  This was followed by surveys of their adjacent tenants at StoneCrest to better understand the new environment into which they were moving.  With this data in hand, we were able to construct details tailored to their exact needs – no guesswork here.

Our analysis and input was integral in negotiations with the landlord for the lease, and allowed all parties involved to be at ease with the arrangement.  Conducting a thorough investigation and presenting clear results and practical solutions made this project a success.  The initial wording in the lease was not enforceable and did not protect either party.  It seemed to be a collection of snips from the internet, backed up by hearsay from a contractor on a past project.

Leah Williams, HSM Studio Manager stated “HSM|Core StoneCrest is very appreciative of TA’s willingness to patiently explain and demonstrate their sound expertise to us laymen.  We were very pleased with their support in our lease negotiation process by being on a conference call with the potential landlord and then coming to do a field test to demonstrate their recommendations. They listened to both sides and provided something fair and livable that met the intent of each party. Ultimately, it was Steve Thorburn and Philip Zumbrun that allowed us to feel confident to stand firm with our proposed acoustic language in the lease.  And Steve’s demonstration and straight talk put our landlord at ease too.”

Thorburn Associates recently partnered with Hilliard Studio Method (HSM) to provide the acoustical design of their new HSM|Core fitness studio at StoneCrest in Charlotte, NC.  HSM features classes with a unique approach to resistance training.  As more and more people fell in love with the intense workouts and great results, they expanded to accommodate the… Read more »

THROUGH THE YEARS… Celebrating 25 Years of Design Excellence! 1995-1997

Thorburn Associates is proud to have worked on a variety of projects throughout our first 25 years!

 

 dome 95-97

1995: Children’s Museum, Indianapolis,Indiana. The CineDome is the United States’ first iWERKS domed 15/70 theatre. TA designed the 7-channel cinema audio system layout; background music/paging system for theatre queue area; acoustics review; and IMAX performance standard testing of the theatre.

 

Spider Man 95-97

1996: Universal Studios Spider Man, Orlando, Florida. The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man is a hybrid ride combining a special roving motion vehicle with 3-D projection, elaborate physical sets, and tactile effects. TA developed the acoustical criteria for each ride zone; provided recommendations to control and contain sound from one scene impacting the next scene using wall selections, show action door specifications, and the selection and placement of acoustical treatments.

 

 

sap 95-97

1997: SAP Technology Showroom, Palo Alto, California. The Showroom encompasses 3 different systems/areas. TA worked closely with the client to identify the performance and equipment criteria they valued most: the theatre area incorporates a 2×4 video wall with 3 plasma display panels on each side; a large monitor allows clients to get a hands-on feel for the software; the video conferencing space has a horseshoe-shaped table facing a 60-inch rear projection screen and a document camera mounted above the table. A multiple source show control system controls all aspects of the systems.

To see our favorite projects from 1992-1994 click here.

Thorburn Associates is proud to have worked on a variety of projects throughout our first 25 years!     1995: Children’s Museum, Indianapolis,Indiana. The CineDome is the United States’ first iWERKS domed 15/70 theatre. TA designed the 7-channel cinema audio system layout; background music/paging system for theatre queue area; acoustics review; and IMAX performance standard… Read more »

Steve’s Top Takeaways from Infocomm 2017

Sony’s Crystal LED display literally stopped me in my tracks.  The large image they showed was just stunning.  At 9 feet high by 32 feet wide it was a tiled image that had such great color depth and contrast.  A common comment I overheard was “it is like you are there”.  No one in the booth from Sony would tell me what the price was.  Like other large direct view tile walls, if you have to ask… you cannot afford it.  My guess, based on other display prices that it is in the low four figures per square foot.  So it is not for everybody, but for that knock out display it sure is.

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https://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/assets/files/cat/mondisp/latest/Crystal_LED_Brochure_Web.pdf

This is the year of LED walls, it seemed like 10% of the show floor had some part of an LED wall system.  They ranged from low pixel count displays commonly seen as back drops for stage events to the Crystal LED wall from Sony.  China has figured out the technology and is bringing it to market.

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Yamaha’s commercial audio division has come out with a number of loudspeaker systems that will be useful when working on those special interior spaces. Their small line arrays (VX1L Ultra Compact Column Array) that are about 2 inches wide and start at 12 inches tall, had a sonic quality and clarity that also made me stop each time my travels on the floor took me close to their booth. I am looking forward to listening to them in our Lab.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/northamerica/en_us/news_events/newsrelease/2017/40_20170614_VXL1_Speaker_and_VXS3S_Sub_Make_Expo_Debut.jsp

Polycom’s new audio processor.  Not out on the market yet but, what I heard in the demo will help bad rooms with bad microphone and loudspeaker systems provide more gain before feedback (you should be able to hear what is said better).  This is a beta product (still under testing and not available yet to buy) that will be nice to have when it becomes something that can be used.

There were a lot more products that showed steady improvements.  Many of which were the nuts and bolts such as mounts and AV electronics. 4K display (2x HDTV in resolution) is clearly here. The source to drive these displays will take a while to catch up.  However if you want to look at that E-size drawing on screen and be able to see the whole sheet and read the text just like you would on a blue print as you mark it up, you do not have to wait any longer.

Sony’s Crystal LED display literally stopped me in my tracks.  The large image they showed was just stunning.  At 9 feet high by 32 feet wide it was a tiled image that had such great color depth and contrast.  A common comment I overheard was “it is like you are there”.  No one in the… Read more »

THROUGH THE YEARS…Celebrating 25 Years of Design Excellence!

 

Thorburn Associates is proud to have worked on a variety of projects throughout our first 25 years!

 

On Lok cropped 3-625x1-75
1992: On Lok Larkin Senior Housing, San Francisco, California. TA provided analysis and recommendations to control traffic and HVAC noise impacting a 30+ unit senior housing and community center building which overlooks a busy SF intersection. The facility includes dental and hospital services for the residents.

 

Chiryu cropped 3-625x1-75

1993: Chiryu Street Scene, Chiryu, Japan. Concept development and design of a multi-media presentation system which integrates the lobby of three special effects theaters into a large nighttime entertainment venue. System design included computer interface to a SGI generator, 3 camera video production systems, 5×5-screen video wall, 7 laserdiscs, SVHS, 2 cable tuners, background audio, and stage production/public announcement system. The system design was the basis of a new themed destination/cinema attraction located in various malls and shopping complexes throughout the world. Finally we spent a week on site commissioning and testing the systems.

 

Lombard Street cropped 5-125 x 3-5

1994: Lombard Street – Private Residence, San Francisco, California.
Sound levels were measured during the tourist season for a private residence on Lombard Street to document the isolation provided by the front porch façade. This was followed up with recommendations for isolating the interior of the home from noise made by late night tourist visits as they continued their party activities down the street.

 

  Thorburn Associates is proud to have worked on a variety of projects throughout our first 25 years!   1992: On Lok Larkin Senior Housing, San Francisco, California. TA provided analysis and recommendations to control traffic and HVAC noise impacting a 30+ unit senior housing and community center building which overlooks a busy SF intersection…. Read more »

Interactive Collaboration- Easier and More Productive?

Presentation products for interactive classrooms (some call flipped classrooms) and collaborative spaces (may be called huddle or team spaces) have seen some new systems to help with the group interactive learning process in the last year.  SMART or other electronic white boards lead the process but new products that support the use of your personal device or BYOD and personal web conference capabilities are making collaboration even more dynamic.

Here are just a few of the devices Thorburn Associates is reviewing to see if they really do make interactive collaboration easier and more productive:

Mersive Solstice – Wireless BYOD: Link
This has the best combination of features and cost-effectiveness you can find in a BYOD wireless device currently in the marketplace.  At its base it is a BYOD wireless sharing device, but it has capabilities like those in the video link above that make it a fantastic tool for classroom or collaborative meeting spaces.  The down side is you have to put it on the campus network, or it lives on a private BYOD network that will need to be approved by the IT department.  However, there are tricks to place it on wired internal networks for secure sharing while allowing guest users access to the device’s access point.

Microsoft Surface Hub: Link
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a giant, table-sized Microsoft Surface tablet which also has Xbox cameras, added white boarding/annotation, and web conference abilities?  After many delays in production, this is now the leading edge of interactive displays for all kinds of spaces.

There are also some interesting ideas as to how best deploy these so that people use them properly.  This link has some good examples of ways furniture and collaboration can complement each other: http://on.mash.to/2n5iBON .

Huddlewall Interactive Projector System: Link
You say that your group needs to interact with and view up to 20 feet worth of desktop at one time?  If so, then this is a great tool for larger scale collaborations.  It is run from a PC that can also be used to connect to web conferences, wireless BYOD endpoints, and other tools to expand its capabilities.  The pen writing on paper is a neat trick too!

T1V ThinkHub: Video Link
You like the larger space offered by the Huddlewall solution, but you want to impress everyone with image quality (and your expendable income)?  Then the T1V ThinkHub solution on a video wall may be right for you.  The same software package may be used on individual displays as well for any number of applications.

These are just a few of the latest products, but they are part of a larger industry trend to incorporate as many people sharing and interacting as possible.  These products can be found in classrooms, corporate brainstorming spaces, public displays, and many other locations as more and more end users discover their benefits.  This trend is here to stay and if we do say so – it’s pretty awesome!  But do not blink this is a photograph in time, these will all be surpassed /replaced next month with something new!

Presentation products for interactive classrooms (some call flipped classrooms) and collaborative spaces (may be called huddle or team spaces) have seen some new systems to help with the group interactive learning process in the last year.  SMART or other electronic white boards lead the process but new products that support the use of your personal… Read more »

Norway’s Changing Airwaves: A Foreshadowing of the United States’ Shifting Radio Channels -Why You Should Care

The change to digital radio in an entire Scandinavian country is a reminder of changing regulations governing the telecommunication airwaves across the world. These changes can impact how well your wireless audio equipment works into the future!

Norway will officially begin switching radio stations to digital-only this year.  This will cause some listeners to purchase new digital radio equipment, just as people in the U.S. had to when our TV channels were converted to digital.  Norway, which has less than 300 FM stations, is a relatively small case study when compared to the U.S. where there are over 10,000 FM Stations.  However, there are still lessons to be gleaned from the transition:

  • In the U.S., the FCC has been auctioning off various frequency bands of the radio spectrum since 2010. Chances are you access the radio spectrum every day.  If you tune your radio to 101.9 FM, you are receiving a signal at 101.9 megahertz (MHz).  Your cell phone also uses the radio spectrum to send and receive data.  A large portion of the frequencies made available from the digital TV transition was auctioned off to consumer wireless corporations such as Google and Verizon and partially reserved for public safety services.  The FCC now prohibits the operation of wireless microphones and similar devices in that frequency band (700 MHz).  The auction is ongoing, and the proposed frequency ranges for auction have made various changes.  The projection is that by 2020, much more of the formerly available airwaves will become prohibited for non-emergency wireless devices such as microphones.
  • The way equipment transmits specific radio frequencies is highly regulated nationwide and globally. Traditional analog FM and AM radio transmissions should remain intact here in the States for the near future.  S. Television on the other hand, has said goodbye to analog broadcasting, making way for new changes to the how users can operate in the radio spectrum.  The volatility of regulations to the radio spectrum leads to the need for new equipment that will function in these new frequencies.
  • Unfortunately, much of the wireless audio equipment in use today will soon have to be replaced to work in an FCC authorized space. This especially affects systems in use in densely populated areas with lots of wireless activity.  Various manufacturers are producing new wireless systems that operate in the updated list of available bands of radio frequency.  Wireless systems operating in dated frequencies will face the same sad ultimate fate of Norway’s analog radio equipment.
  • Where listeners in Norway have the simple task of ensuring that new radio equipment has a digital receiver, buying the right wireless audio equipment in the U.S. takes a little more knowledge and insight to ensure a future-proofed system. Proper radio frequency coordination is vital to maintaining a working wireless audio system.

It has been a complicated and sometimes flawed process for the FCC and their reallocation of the radio spectrum over the past years. President Trump just recently designated Ajit Pai as the new Chariman of the FCC. According to Pai’s profile on the FCC webpage , it states that the FCC must free up more licensed spectrum for use by wireless carriers and more unlicensed spectrum for things like Wi-Fi. Pai’s profile also states that consumers benefit most from competition, not preemptive regulation, which is a philosophy that could lead to a new direction for how the FCC operates.  It’s hard to know what changes the new chairman will put in place affecting wireless audio systems, but it is likely that the way we can use the radio spectrum will continue to change.  As we look further into the future of the busy airwaves, detailed wireless equipment research needs to be paired with a strong education of available and FCC-legal products before investments are made in new systems.

The change to digital radio in an entire Scandinavian country is a reminder of changing regulations governing the telecommunication airwaves across the world. These changes can impact how well your wireless audio equipment works into the future! Norway will officially begin switching radio stations to digital-only this year.  This will cause some listeners to purchase… Read more »

Creating a Functional Multi-Function Room

Technology has continued to evolve rapidly in the last few years, and much of it is being streamlined into small compact equipment. Meeting rooms no longer need to rely on multiple pieces of huge equipment; fewer smaller pieces are needed to create a fully functioning room.  While technology is a necessary aspect of the space, it is the design and quality of installation that is critical in order to make the space functional.

The physical design is also an important aspect. If the design of the room is poor it adversely impacts the functionality.  When an AV consultant designs the systems, they need to think about the function of the room and the ease of its use. Size matters – a small conference room has different needs than a large auditorium.  The best rooms are those that support how a client will be using the room 95% of the time. Form must follow function. If an AV consultant disregards what the main use of the space will be, then the space will not be functional.

The specific equipment that the designer picks is also critical.  Just because a piece of gear is the latest and greatest does not mean it is a perfect choice; many times it will not support the function of the space.  Various pieces of equipment can’t just be thrown into a room together and be expected to work properly. We spend tireless hours vetting new technology to better understand how it works, and how it will help with the function of the room.

The KISS principal lets us focus on the user experience – AV consultants are necessary to ensure that presenters have the best and easiest user experience possible.

Technology has continued to evolve rapidly in the last few years, and much of it is being streamlined into small compact equipment. Meeting rooms no longer need to rely on multiple pieces of huge equipment; fewer smaller pieces are needed to create a fully functioning room.  While technology is a necessary aspect of the space,… Read more »

InfoComm 2016, Steve Thorburn’s rAVe Interview with Joel Rollins

This year at Infocomm 2016 , Steve Thorburn was interviewed by rAVe Publications Joel Rollins. He talks about the challenges facing AV designers and meeting the expectations of clients.

 

 

 

This year at Infocomm 2016 , Steve Thorburn was interviewed by rAVe Publications Joel Rollins. He talks about the challenges facing AV designers and meeting the expectations of clients.      

The CatchBox

At InfoComm 2016 there was a nifty microphone that caught our eye, it was called the CatchBox, a soft colorful cube with a built in microphone. This design allows for the CatchBox to be tossed into the audience or between team members and helps increase audience participation and engagement.

catchbox-throwable-microphone

 

Microphones have been a staple at events, large and small, for years. They are used so an audience member’s question or opinion can be heard easily. However they are often placed stationary in the aisles making audience members move if they want to speak.  If the mics are handed to audience members they have to be passed along physically. Conventional microphones are often made of metal, so it’s not ideal to toss them into audiences. If not caught the microphone could hit an audience member or they could dropped on the floor .  Mics are also sensitive; tossing a live mic can create loud disruptive static. To avoid this you have to turn it off , and rely on someone turning it back on.

The design of the CatchBox looked to specifically address these issues. The CatchBox is a soft and lightweight cube; it can be tossed with ease. If the CatchBox is dropped, the microphone inside is protected by the padding of the cube.

The microphone in the CatchBox was engineered to automatically mute when the mic is being tossed and un-mute when caught. This stops the unwanted noise from happening, and it doesn’t rely on the receiver to turn the mic back on. The “look” of the CatchBox can also be customized for any event or company.  Our own Max Kopsho used the CatchBox during his presentations at InfoComm, and he loved the way it got the audience participating.

You can learn more about the Catchbox at their website: eu.getcatchbox.com

At InfoComm 2016 there was a nifty microphone that caught our eye, it was called the CatchBox, a soft colorful cube with a built in microphone. This design allows for the CatchBox to be tossed into the audience or between team members and helps increase audience participation and engagement.   Microphones have been a staple… Read more »

HCAHPS Survey and Acoustics

The main goal of healthcare is to promote healing and recovery for patients. Recent studies have found that a poor acoustic environment can drastically affect the recovery of patients. However, on the most recent HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey result acoustics is one of the lowest scored categories by patients about their hospital experiences.

According to the results from the October 2014- September 2015 survey, published in July 2016, the average score for quietness for hospitals at night across the U.S. was 62%, the second lowest score on the HCAHPS survey.  No state individually scored over 75%, and the lowest ranked states all held steady in the 50’s with the lowest at 52%. While there could be a number of reasons as to why many hospitals scored so poorly, the more likely culprit is the acoustical environment.

The FGI has over 14 different guidelines about the acoustical requirements for hospitals, yet it seems most of them are implemented.   Environmental noise, HVAC system noise, and poor facility planning can all contribute to an unpleasant acoustical environment. Acoustical consultants can help fix these issues early in the design process and throughout construction.  The earlier the design team consults with an acoustical engineer the easier it is address any acoustical issue. The acoustics within a hospital are something that should not be forgotten or thrown to the back burner. It is important for hospitals to address these issues, not just for how a hospital scores but for their patient’s health.

HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a patient satisfaction survey required by CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for all hospitals in the United States. The Survey is for adult inpatients, excluding psychiatric patients. This survey helps to determine the quality of care and the hospital environment. It is used to determine the ratings of hospitals and identify where improvements are needed. The HCAHPS also helps CMS decide which hospitals will receive federal funding.
To learn more about the FGI(Facility Guidelines Institute) check out our previous blog post.

To learn more about the effects of a poor acoustic environment on patients, check out this blog post.

The main goal of healthcare is to promote healing and recovery for patients. Recent studies have found that a poor acoustic environment can drastically affect the recovery of patients. However, on the most recent HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey result acoustics is one of the lowest scored categories by patients… Read more »