For acoustical and physical appearance reasons, we installed a new ceiling below the existing 18' high plaster ceiling with the new ceiling ending at the 12' elevation level. Based on the new window's 7' tall dimension, the acoustician designed and specified a custom header wall to fill in the space between the top of the new windows and the 12' ceiling height. A custom, made-for-the-project George Koch brand composite steel 4" thick acoustical wall was ordered and installed in the header space with a mineral wool insulated, carefully designed wall construction filling in the rest of the new front-of-room wall space.
To create a space for four guests in a tight space, the practical solution was a table in the middle of the room.
A second layer of 1/2" laminated plate glass was installed in the existing 8' tall window frames of the north and east walls to provide additional noise isolation between the new studio and the existing common space. High-density mineral wool was blown into the north and east wall cavities and a layer of dense barium vinyl was layered over the entire existing common space side drywall surface. Thereafter, an additional layer of 5/8" drywall was added over that surface. The south wall, which is located adjacent to the building's main entry corridor, did not require additional acoustical isolation because of its high mass construction, which is typical of older buildings. The ceiling tile products were chosen for specific acoustical reasons with some being absorbent and others reflective. Dense mineral wool insulation batt 12" thick was installed above the ceiling to form an effective acoustical barrier. The acoustician chose a total of 12 ESSI brand rock wool cloth covered acoustical panels for specific location placement on the walls and two MPC brand fiberglass cloth-covered acoustical panels for adding acoustical isolation to the door. An automatic acoustical drop seal with mating threshold was added to the bottom of the door along with an acoustical seal on the sides and top of the door jamb to further reduce noise transmission into the studio from the common space area. Fabric covered vertical blinds mounted on the north and east facing internal windows provide variable acoustic control and minimize sound reflections between the glass surfaces. However, because of the resultant precise and very carefully designed acoustical parameters of the room along with the accurate cardioid pickup pattern of the Audio Technica AT-4050 /LE microphones, we have not experienced any room reflection problems - even when operating with the vertical blinds fully open.
The common area is used to produce programming for WKYC-TV and Western Reserve Public Media.
On the broadcast side, much time was spent working with Cabinetworks Unlimited to design the broadcast table and dual rack bays. Our goal was to accommodate the Axia Element 28 module work surface along with the announcer/show host position and four guest positions. The team created a design that met all of the requirements including an under-counter support structure, which served to eliminate the need for support legs. Our equipment selection was easy because of the goal to emulate the main WKSU on-air studio at its Kent State University main campus facility. WKSU's announcers and reporters can easily transition from the Kent to Akron facility because of the common physical and technical configurations. While the Akron News Bureau's newly constructed Main Street Studio is primarily used for regional news gathering and production, it is also set up to be WKSU's primary on-air studio should the need for evacuation of the station's Kent facility become necessary. A 100Mb/s fiber optic data path obtained with cooperation from the State of Ohio and the University of Akron provides us with the ability to transmit 8 streams of uncompressed 48kHz, 24-bit audio with data bi-directionally between Akron and Kent. The facility also has ISDN connectivity allowing for emergency connection to WKSU's main transmitter site in the event broadcasting does not become possible from the Kent located primary on-air studio facility.
The Akron Main Street Studio's location being close to local, state, and federal government offices makes it highly convenient for news gathering by the WKSU news team for the creation of news reports that air over WKSU's six-station regional network as well as frequently airing on National Public Radio newscasts.
Acoustic Equipment List
AeroSonics HP-60 duct silencers
Air Concepts PPD-12-LI, PRG-16-RP
Armstrong #1775 due beveled Tegular AC ceiling tile
ESSI cloth-covered 2” thick rock wool panels
Flexmaster USA Type 6B insulated flexible air duct
George Koch composite steel header wall
MPC SW500 cloth-covered fiberglass panels
Overly #559511 acoustical window assembly
PAC International RSIC-1 sound isolation drywall clip
TEC Damping Sheet acoustical barrier material
ZERO #367AA #63A
Broadcast Equipment List
Audio-Technica AT-4050/LE, ATH-M50S/LE
Axia Element, xNodes, Pathfinder, Powerstation
Cabinetworks Unlimited furniture
Krown Phone Flasher
Masterclock 2.3” 6-digit slimline clock
Tascam 500B, MH-8
Telos VX Engine, Vset12, VX Producer, Zephyr IPORT MPEG Gateway
Bartlebaugh is director of broadcast engineering, the WKSU Stations, Kent State University, Kent, OH.