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Revitalizing the Denis Arnold Hall for Multichannel Electroacoustic Sound Diffusion and Recording

The Denis Arnold Hall, the flagship lecturing and performance space in the Faculty of Music, Oxford University, has recently been the beneficiary of a complete refurbishment, including dedicated design and specification for the performance and diffusion of electroacoustic composition and multichannel sonic art. The new configuration includes acoustic absorption and insulation, low frequency management, and eight flexible full range satellite loudspeakers. This diffusion system is complemented by a full range of playback formats (from 1/4" reel-to-reel, to Blu-ray, with line level patching for discrete or "stemmed" multichannel performance/playback), as well as 16 small diaphragm capacitor microphones, hung in 8 stereo pairs from the ceiling on an integrated winch system. The design and configuration of the space necessitated a lengthy consultation with composers, acousticians, electricians, and audio-visual specialists, and lessons learned along the way might be useful for those interested in adapting their own space for similar purposes.

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