Osaka / Japan,

Ritsumeikan University Explores New Technologies with Shure

Ritsumeikan University Explores New Technologies with Shure

Osaka Ibaraki Campus Installs MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone For Sound Reinforcement In State-of-the-art Seminar Room

Osaka, May 17, 2017—Opened in 2015, the Osaka Ibaraki Campus (OIC) is the newest satellite of Ritsumeikan University, one of western Japan's four leading private universities. The campus is home to the College of Policy Science, College of Business Administration, College of Comprehensive Psychology, and four Graduate Schools. With “Gateway to Asia,” “Urban Co-creation,” and “Community and Regional Collaboration” as its academic concepts, the Campus facilitates collaboration with industry, government institutions and citizens, and is also publicly accessible to encourage interaction with local communities.

The Colloquium is a state-of-the art seminar and conference room at OIC and a pilot facility for implementation of latest audio visual solutions. Mr. Kengo Kurashina of the Office of Information Infrastructure, Information System Department at Ritsumeikan University describes it as “a classroom where we always try new things.” Earlier this year, the Microflex™ Advance™ MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone was introduced in the Colloquium. Shure talked to Mr. Kurashina about the reasons for selecting this microphone and his impressions from using it.

“The Colloquium is not only used for our usual classroom sessions, but we sometimes rent it to people outside the university for events such as academic meetings and conferences. We have a wireless handheld microphone available, but operating the large touch panel display in the room is not easy when you have a microphone in your hand. We considered a lavalier microphone as alternative, but they sometimes pick up noise if they are not attached properly and they can easily cause feedback,” explains Mr. Kurashina. “Ever since I took charge of the system design for our classrooms, I have been interested in a hands-free sound reinforcement system that uses a ceiling microphone. I tried many different products, and with Microflex Advance I’ve finally found a microphone I can be satisfied with.”

Ritsumeikan University installed the ceiling-mounted MXA910 at the front of the room, just above a whiteboard and large touch panel display used by teachers and speakers. The microphone captures speakers’ voices by utilizing Shure’s proprietary Steerable Coverage™ technology which allows to aim 8 discreet lobes at the presenter area. The individual lobes are automatically activated as the presenter moves around, ensuring consistent sound quality. At the Colloquium, the MXA910 is mounted at 4 meters height and covers a distance of 9 meters between the whiteboard and student seats.

Mr. Kurashina comments on the sound quality, “When a speaker turns his back to the microphone to write something on the whiteboard, the sound does change accordingly, but you are still able to hear the speaker. In the coverage area, spoken voices are amplified just as they are and sound very natural. Of course, this is also a result of our fine tuning of loudspeakers, but even recorded voices sound just as lifelike. It feels a bit strange even to me, but the audio you hear now doesn’t sound like something that has been amplified by a loudspeaker.”

As a result of Mr. Kurashina’s tuning techniques that come from his knowledge of facility acoustics, and increased clarity owing to Shure IntelliMix™ DSP Suite that reduces unwanted noise, the new audio setup gives the impression that words spoken in front of the whiteboard are louder, yet still clear and natural. “We had to adjust the maximum volume of the loudspeakers to avoid feedback,” explains Mr. Kurashina. “You may feel the sound is very faint, but it still makes a significant difference. If the microphone were turned off, your voice could not be heard across the room.”

Adding to the sound quality, Mr. Kurashina is also highly satisfied with digital transmission via Dante network using Ethernet, and the ability to configure the microphone via PC. “It is good that it’s browser-based. Permanently installed software sometimes becomes less stable depending on the PC and the version. The browser-based system allows us to quickly switch devices if a problem occurs on a PC used for control. It is also really helpful and convenient that the microphone can be monitored from a remote site, a feature common to all Shure products. Moreover, the control software of the MXA910 is also intuitive and easy to use. Our facility AV systems are often operated by people who may be less familiar with acoustics, so this is a big advantage.”

Convinced by the performance of the Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone, the University has also decided to introduce the MXA310 Table Array Microphones in video conferencing rooms of Ritsumeikan Primary School. “We like the MXA310 because the array technology makes it easy for attendees to speak without worrying about the microphone. The directionality also avoids noise like the shuffling of papers, and voice clarity is very high.”

Considering the university’s IT infrastructure, Mr. Kurashina adds, “Another reason for choosing the MXA310 was also the high degree of freedom associated with the installation, as it connects via a single Cat5e Ethernet cable and uses Dante audio networking. Especially for video conferencing systems, more and more audio devices will be networked. I think ease of operation and system stability are very important, and I intend to learn more about networked audio systems.”

For more information about Ritsumeikan University, visit

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