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Sonic Laboratory

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.

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 in 4 layers:


8 x Meyer UPM-1P

Dolby Atmos configuration, arranged in two rows front to back.  The loudspeakers hang from six of the nine overhead adjustable ceiling panels.

15 x Meyer UPJ-1P
3 x Meyer UMS-1P subwoofer
Dolby Atmos configuration. The loudspeakers are suspended from the technical gantry approximately 7m above the ground floor.

4 x Genelec 1038B
4 x Genelec 1037B
2 x Meyer UPJ-1P + Meyer UMS-1P sub
The Genelecs are in an octophonic configuration plus two Meyer UPJ-1P/UMS-1P front centre and rear centre.  

8 x Meyer UPM-1P
2 x Meyer X-800 subwoofer
At lower ground level (4m below the grid floor).   

The loudspeaker system is managed using a QSC QSYS system (2 x Core 510i) with Dante input and 48 analogue outputs.   

A Studer Vista 5 console is located at the rear 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. Also attached to the Studer console is an Apple Mac Pro hosting a ProTools HD 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-DZ780LBEJ DLP projector provides high definition video from multiple input sources including a Blu Ray player, HDMI and VGA connections.  

Projector spec: 7000 ANSI lumens, WUXGA 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio.



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



The loudspeaker coordinates of the Sonic Lab can be found in the document below.  These can be used with ambisonic decoders to playback audio in the full 360 degree loudspeaker array.

Sonic Lab Loudspeaker Layout and Numbering (pdf)

Sonic Lab Loudspeaker Coordinates (pdf)


Sonic Arts Research Centre
Tel: +44(0)28 9097 4867  Email:

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