Genelec Employed For A 25.4 Channel Sound System At RISD

25 Genelec 8050B studio monitors and four HTS4B subwoofers constitute the sound system at the Studio for Research in Sound and Technology (SRST) at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

The Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) Studio for Research in Sound and Technology (SRST) offers a space dedicated to exploration, technological advancement and learning within the realms of sonic arts and sound design.

Established in 2018 under the name Spatial Audio Studio, SRST boasts a meticulously designed space equipped with a 25.4 channel Genelec sound system (composed of 25 Genelec 8050B studio monitors and four HTS4B home theater subwoofers), an adaptable seminar/work area, an array of digital composition tools, and a collection of hardware synthesizers such as Serge modular and GRP. As a hub for research, the studio facilitates experimentation for faculty, staff, and students, aiming for outcomes suitable for peer-reviewed publication, presentation at conferences and festivals, and other forms of dissemination. The SRST hosts guest lectures and workshops led by designers, artists, and technologists, offering a dynamic platform for engagement with industry professionals and cross-institutional research networks.

The main feature of the space is that it houses a Genelec 25.4 channel sound system in a hemispherical dome configuration. It’s an acoustically optimized room, with the array being about 20 feet wide and 14 feet high. An interesting part of the design challenge is that this is located just steps away from the Kennedy Plaza bus terminal in Providence. In order to achieve a suitable acoustical environment in the space, RSID worked with the acoustics consulting firm Acentech, who did an excellent job with the acoustic isolation.

The space itself is divided between an Ambisonic speaker array, which are the Genelec speakers, and another side of the room, which is a flexible seminar area.

Unlike some schools that hold courses that are one hour long a few days a week, RISD’s curriculum is structured differently - each course session lasts for a good portion of an entire day. For example, the ‘Spatial Audio’ course is held Mondays from 1 to 6pm. There is a lot of time in the space working with faculty. And students can also book the space outside of class, so they can work on their projects independently.

When asked why they chose Genelecs for the Spatial Audio Studio, it was due to the audio quality of the Genelec speakers, but it’s also that they can be installed in so many different ways. They’re built very robustly and are flexible for mounting. When you want to create a dome of speakers, Genelec is an excellent choice. Regarding the audio quality, they have a very flat response and offer an honest rendering, which is a real asset for focussed and careful listening. They have a ‘neutral-ness’ about them, and they give you exceptional fidelity to what’s in the source audio.

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