Extron AV Control System Helps Syracuse University Auditorium Convert to Multifunctional Space

Published: March 16, 2023

Syracuse University, in central New York, boasts a 744‑seat auditorium in its new 115,000‑square foot National Veterans Resource Center at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building. The new building was designed to support a wide range of activities, from a large lecture theater to a community or government agency event space. Similar to the other rooms within the center, the auditorium and its AV system had to be ADA compliant.

The AV system had to be flexible and dependable. System requirements included high-performance AV signal switching and routing, exceptional sound, intuitive system control and remote management. Images and sound had to be crystal clear at each standard and bariatric seat. The space had to offer alternative ways to communicate with vision and hearing impaired persons. To facilitate lectures and panel discussions, the stage needed to offer multiple points of AV connectivity and system control.

The Extron AV Control System Solution

Syracuse University brought in New York-headquartered Theatre Projects to design an innovative AV system that supported vibrant imagery and exceptional sound, all within ADA guidelines. Teamed with the university ITS Learning Environments and Media Production department, Theatre Projects selected XTP Systems, along with audio and control systems from Extron.

The K. G. Tan Auditorium seats 744, with a two-tiered design that provides unrestricted visibility throughout the space. Multiple floor boxes on the stage provide AV connectivity and flexible placement for a portable lectern. Gooseneck and lavalier microphones are available for the instructor, presenter or moderator and panelists alike. The main display is a videowall that is nearly 32′ wide. Two smaller videowalls installed on either side of it are dedicated as secondary monitors. Located within this room are eight PTZ cameras that are for use with web-based video applications, including Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom.

For the hearing impaired, the installation incorporates an Assisted Listening System and support for Communication Access Real‑time Translation – CART. The AV system enables captions to be displayed on either or both smaller videowalls.

The control center is located between the tiers at the back of the room. Multiple monitors and a bank of windows enable support staff visibility into the auditorium.

XTP High Performance and Reliability Ideal for Live Events

An Extron XTP II CrossPoint 3200 modular matrix switcher provides instantaneous switching among various installed and BYOD sources. It is configured to support 3G-SDI sources and extension of uncompressed HDMI video resolutions up to 4K/60 at data rates up to 18 Gbps. The XTP II matrix switcher frame features a 50 Gbps digital backplane that supports signals up to 8K by upgrading the input and output boards. A redundant power supply ensures continuous operation, which is critical during live events such as a panel discussion among scholars or a presentation by Veterans Affairs.

To compliment a separate SDI routing system, four XTP HDMI outputs feed Extron signal processors that convert HDMI signals to SDI. The signals are then passed to a 32×32 SDI matrix switcher. When the SDI sources are upgraded in the future, the modular nature of the XTP II CrossPoint matrix switcher will allow the current 3G-SDI input board to be replaced with a 12G-SDI version. Additional XTP HDMI and twisted pair I/O boards support the other devices. Audio, video and control signals are extended from the matrix switcher to XTP transmitters and scaling receivers using a twisted pair cable infrastructure.

Four outputs on the XTP II matrix are connected to an Extron MGP 641 multi‑window processor. This provides high performance scaling and windowing capability for the main videowall. This display can show up to four windows over a live or static background, and the windows can be independently arranged across the single canvas.

Professional-Grade Surround Sound

In addition to high-performance AV switching with the XTP system, clear, echo-free sound from local and remote sources is vital within this large space. The integration team installed an Extron SSP 200 processor to decode and process 7.1 surround sound from various sources. The processor provides individual trim level and delay for each channel, along with internal Dolby noise and full-bandwidth pink noise to sequentially calibrate each speaker. Then, they directed audio signals to specific speakers using the included software to verify sound coverage at each section of the auditorium.

Streamlined System Control with Extron

For intuitive AV system operation, the installation offers multiple points of control within the auditorium and the adjacent control room. Extron TouchLink Pro toauchpanels are located in the control room and the front wall of the auditorium. Floor boxes in the stage also offer several connectivity points for a touchpanel. A touchpanel and display in each green room enable visibility of events taking place within the auditorium. The touchpanels work in conjunction with an Extron IP Link Pro control processor to provide complete system control. Using an iPad running the Extron Control app, instructors and presenters can use the GUI on the tablet to control all system operations from anywhere in the room.

When the auditorium serves as a large lecture hall, the instructor can present and control the system using a standard university teaching station connected to one of the stage floor boxes. The station is a Steelcase Airtouch height‑adjustable table that includes a micro-computer running Microsoft Windows and the University’s Registrar Classroom Software, as well as a variety of AV devices. An Extron Cable Cubby enclosure provides connectivity for HDMI, USB, network, and power. An Extron 10″ tabletop TouchLink Pro touchpanel provides user-friendly AV system control.

Extron SMP and Kaltura Ensure Pristine Lecture Capture and Streaming

For live and on-demand lecture video capture with content management, the installation includes an Extron SMP 351 streaming media processor with the LinkLicense SMP Enhanced Kaltura Features upgrade. The processor integrates directly into the Kaltura video platform, working in concert to facilitate media capture and video content delivery to remote locations. Some of the features include the capability to schedule recordings from Kaltura and to stream live media ad-hoc or for a scheduled webcast or lesson to Kaltura using RTMP and RTMPS. This was extremely helpful with distance learning during the pandemic.


Housed within Syracuse University’s NVRC, the K. G. Tan Auditorium and multi-media center serves all students, specifically those who are or were members of the U.S. military and their families. The facility has been in constant use for lectures throughout the pandemic. Now, as the pandemic continues to wane, it is being used for an ever-expanding range of presentations. The university and various third-party entities are hosting successful community activities, public information presentations for the residents of central New York, and national convening events and conferences.

Another version of this article originally appeared on our sister-site My TechDecisions on March 14, 2023. It has since been updated for Commercial Integrator’s audience.

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