World Wrestling Entertainment completed a major
upgrade and expansion to its technical
operations center here recently that included
HD ingest and edit rooms, QC and
transmission, core router replacement and
upgrade, and Audio Post 3, the newest 5.1
surround sound audio suite in the facility.
The 375-square-foot Audio Post 3 took
over space previously occupied by a
voiceover booth, machine room, and a
small audio control room.
WWE commissioned Francis Manzella
Design Limited of Mahopac, N.Y. to design
the acoustics, noise control, ergonomics,
“WWE brought me in to do my thing,
within the budget, not to give them more
than they needed, but not undershoot either,”
Manzella said. “They gave me complete
freedom in the design of the new
room. I was told not to duplicate the old
room [that Audio 3 replaced] nor the
other audio post rooms in the facility.”
The only exception was to keep the
equipment layout the same as the other
rooms since this was what people were
A ROOM WITHIN A ROOM
Audio Post 3 is adjacent to an online editing
suite, so sound isolation was a must.
“We built new walls adjacent to the edit
suite, and Audio Post 3 itself is a room
within a room, “Manzella said. The new
room includes a floating floor and is completely
isolated from the building.
For the interior acoustics, Manzella took
a classic reflection free zone approach
that he uses in his control room designs.
“I use a lot of absorption and trapping in
the front of the room so that early reflections
from the loudspeaker are controlled,”
he said. “This keeps the [sound] imaging in
the front and prevents destructive comb
filtering caused by early reflections.” The
front absorbers vary in depth to cover a
wide audio frequency range.
|The 375 square-foot Audio Post 3 took over space previously occupied by a voiceover booth, machine room, and a small audio control room.
Towards the rear of the room, reflections
that are farther out in time (and distance)
are carefully introduced, with the
back wall being composed of RPG diffusors.
These later reflections are steered towards
the diffusors, which spread out the
sound in time and space to help provide
sound enhancement and sonic envelopment
for the listener.
Reflection control ws applied to the
floor and ceiling as well. Manzella designed
an absorptive ceiling for Audio Post 3. “In a
smaller room like this, we used the perimeter
of the room with deep soffits to carry
the air conditioning and lighting,” he said.
Bass traps are also designed into the ceiling.
Acoustically lined HVAC ducts that
made extra turns helped attenuate HVAC
noise and crosstalk between other rooms
that shared the same HVAC system. Low
air flow velocity within the room helped
keep the ambient noise very low.
Manzella’s design paid close attention
to ergonomic details. “Where the door
goes is an important thing in relationship
to where the engineer and clients
are sitting,” he said. “You have to carefully
consider how one enters the room, so
the door has to be in the right place for
smooth workflow and traffic flow, to not
interfere with the engineer.”
In Audio Post 3 the Euphonix System
5 Console is placed towards the front.
“Here a mixing theatre approach [where
the console is more towards the rear]
wasn’t really applicable,” he said. “If they
need a mixing theatre they can go to Audio
2 which is the biggest [audio] room
in the facility.”
Audio Post 3 has a raised client area in
the back. With a one-step riser, people in
the back can look over the head of the audio
engineer to the program monitor.
Placing equipment in a smaller room,
especially in the front is a challenge, with
computer monitors, flat screen monitor,
and loudspeakers are all vying for prime
real estate. With Audio Post 3, the Euphonix
console made this easier because it
has a lot of metering and monitoring built
in. So it was easy to incorporate the controls
for a Fairlight Xynergy digital audio
workstation with minimal sight-line interference
to other gear up front.
The surround system includes Neumann
O410 loudspeakers front and rear
which are mounted on stands, and a
Under the console, a rolling rack houses
TC Electronics DB-Max, Oram Sonics
HD-EQ35 equalizer, Empirical Labs EL8
Distressor audio compressors, and Langevin
DualVocal discrete mic preamps
with electro-optical limiters and EQ.
The rear of the back client desk serves
double duty as rackmount space for more
outboard processing gear that the audio
engineer can easily
access by turning
here are units from
TC Electronics, Lexicon,
Audio, Art, and Dolby.
The back deck also
has a Sony DAT and
Tascam CD units.
On a separate
stand is a MIDI keyboard
with its monitor
and small loudspeakers.
The Systems Group
of Hoboken, N.J. provided
wiring and equipment
Audio Post 3 as well as
other areas of the overall
within and without
the room included
MADI, AES, analog,
and file transfer. The
electronics and terminal
Audio Post 3 were
housed in the nearby
Red Rack Room, where squeezing everything
in was a challenge. “Multi-pair cable
between the patchbays and the equipment
helped,” said Jeff Rivera, senior systems
engineer at TSG. “Equipment had
to be shifted up or down with minimal
service interruption. We could not keep
everything for Audio Post 3 in one rack
so we spread across contiguous racks in
the Red Rack Room.” John Meusel was the
project manager for TSG for this project.
The aesthetics of the room with wood
finishes and soft lighting provides a warm
feel. “I wanted to get them into color and
earth tones,” Manzella said. Adding to the
décor are color-changing LED strips that
are mounted around the ceiling acoustic
cloud in the middle of the room. “When
the lights are low, it gives a cocoon-like atmosphere,”