Sonic Laboratory Specifications

  • Sonic Laboratory Specifications

Sonic Laboratory Specifications

The Sonic Laboratory is a unique multi-functional concert hall / research laboratory. It can accommodate an audience of up to 150 and features a 48-channel sound diffusion system with large projection screen.

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

1.1 The Structure

The lab measures 17m L x 13m W x 14m H. Audiences and researchers enter the lab at ground floor level and walk out onto an acoustically transparent, modular grid floor suspended 4m above the structural floor of the lab located at lower ground floor level. Approximately 7m above the audience area is a technical gantry spanning the perimeter of the lab and nine motorised ceiling panels which can be independently lowered to ground floor level. The ceiling panels are rectangular aluminium box trusses (2m x 1m) from which loudspeakers, stage lights and/or microphones can be suspended.

The lab can be configured for a wide range of acoustic responses e.g. at 1kHz the reverberation time of the space can be made to vary from 0.4 – 2.3 seconds. This is achieved through a series of 48 acoustic absorbers which can be raised or lowered to expose or cover each of the walls. There are two mechanical pulley systems per wall and each pulley controls 6 absorbers. Finally a series of theatre black style curtains span the perimeter of both the technical gantry and the lower ground floor allowing for sections of theses walls to be covered or exposed as required.


1.2 Sound Diffusion

During construction of the Sonic Laboratory, 112 loudspeaker tielines were installed at strategic points in the space - 40 at ground floor level, 20 at lower ground floor level, 16 at gantry level and 4 per ceiling panel. This provides considerable flexibility in the positioning of loudspeakers for a variety of sound diffusion scenarios. Currently there are 48 loudspeakers in use in the lab. The house configuration is arranged as 4 layers of 8 channels plus 6 discrete subwoofer channels. Layer 1 at ground floor level consists of 4 x Genelec 1038Bs and 4 x Genelec 1037Bs in an octophonic configuration plus two ATC SCM50A speakers situated front centre and rear centre. Layer 2 consists of 8 x Meyer UPJ-1Ps also in an octophonic configuration suspended from the technical gantry approximately 5m above the ground floor. Layer 3 consists of 8 x Meyer UPM-1Ps which hang from four of the nine overhead ceiling panels in an octophonic configuration. Layer 4 is a second cluster of 8 x Meyer UPJ-1Ps at lower ground floor level (4m below the grid floor). The lower ground floor level also houses the 6 discrete subwoofers - 4 x Meyer UMS-1P subwoofers located in the four corners and 2 x Genelec 7071A subwoofers located centre left and right. Finally, an additional 8 x Meyer UPM-1Ps are located in the eight corners of the room - four at high level front and and back and four at lower ground floor level front and back.

The loudspeaker system is controlled by a Studer Vista 5 console located in the centre of the lab. The console is fitted with 3 I/O racks - one at the stage, one in the centre of the lab beside the console, and one at the basement level of the lab. The stage rack provides 32 mic/line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the centre rack provide 40 line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the basement rack provide 48 analogue outputs to feed each of the speakers. Also attached to the Studer console is an Apple Mac Pro hosting a ProTools HD3 Accel system. Connectivity is via an SSL Delta Link MADI interface for ProTools and an RME HDSPe MADI card.


1.3 Lighting

The stage lighting system for the Lab is all LED powered and consists of an Avolites Titan Mobile console controlling 6 x Robe Robin moving head lights, 18 x Chauvet Slim Par Pro LED Pars and 8 x Chauvet SlimPar 56 Pars.
There is also total of 102 15A dimmers are available in the Lab - 6 per ceiling panel, 16 at ground floor level, 16 at technical gantry level and 12 at lower ground floor level.


1.4 Video

A large 7 meter-wide retractable acoustically-permeable screen is installed at the front of the lab. A Panasonic PT-RZ970 laser projector provides high definition video from multiple input sources including a Blu Ray player, HDMI and VGA connections. 



By raising and lowering the acoustic absorbers in the Sonic Lab reverberation times between 0.4 - 2.3 seconds can be achieved. Some impulse recordings of the space can be downloaded below.

Acoustic absorbers down (low reverberation time)  wav 1.5MB

Acoustic absorbers half up (medium reverberation time) wav 1.5MB

Acoustic absorbers fully up (high reverberation time) wav 1.5MB

Recordings are made using a DPA4006 microphone at 96kHz


Sonic Arts Research Centre
School of Arts, English & Languages, Chloreen Park, Belfast, BT9 5HN
Tel: +44(0)28 9097 4867  Email:

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