tannoy1D-Tools MVP member Tannoy contributed this audio solution for Montana State University.

Located in the Health Sciences Building on The College of Technology campus, ‘The Great Room’ is the campus’ primary large gathering space for lectures, convocation and receptions, but also hosts outside events, conferences and seminars.

Jeff Sanderson of On Point Designs calls it simply ‘The Octagon’. The comment can’t help but call to mind images more readily associated with Ultimate Fighting than with higher education. But thanks to Tannoy technology no one will have to fight to hear, or be heard, in this freshly built, 300-seat multimedia space at Montana State University Billings, MO.

For Jason Scherer, owner of Still Water Networks, installer on the build, the compact, ‘all in one’ nature of the Tannoy fixtures On Point specified made his job much easier. “I didn’t have to deal with installing other parts and pieces,” he says. All for the better considering the necessity of having to work around MSU’s scheduled use of the room to get the job done. “Working around the school schedule was kind of crazy,” Sanderson agrees. “It was a bit of a challenging environment, but it was critical that they had a system that provided good speech intelligibility and, at the same time, had some musicality to it.”


Featuring large video screens evenly spaced on four of its eight walls, the room can be divided in two, by means of a central divider wall, or used as one large space. As the design progressed the client’s needs evolved as well, based on MSU’s desire to hold an ongoing ‘movie night’ in the room. Correspondingly, to enhance the experience for students, they requested that On Point adapt the original design to incorporate a full surround sound system.

“That proposed an interesting challenge,” Sanderson says. Physically the ceiling worked out to what he refers to as 4 pieces of pie, each representing a speaker zone and containing 9 Tannoy CMS 601 BM’s and 4 Tannoy 110 TB-P sub. “We ended up using Zone 1 and 3, opposite to each other in the octagon, as our left/right surrounds. Then we had the subwoofers in the ceiling, centered toward the point of the pie – one in each quadrant – to supply low frequency energy throughout space. Then we placed 3 Tannoy V12’s in the front, surface mounted above one screen to act as an LCR configuration. We set it up so they could push one button, labeled ‘movies’, and reconfigure the system so they could play DVD 5.1”

In addition to the challenge of implementing a workable surround system the room was fairly lively, says Sanderson. And though MSU did ultimately opt for the addition of acoustic treatments, it was important, he explains, that the audio system be effective without them. “That was certainly a factor in choosing the Tannoy speakers,” he adds.

For Sanderson, the long-term success and continuing functionality of the products he has specified are vital to his reputation. Generally speaking, faulty product is a rarity, he stresses. With Tannoy it happened just once in all the projects he’s taken on, and their warranty and response time is another reason he and On Point regularly spec Tannoy in their designs. “It’s phenomenal, which of course, as a consultant, at the end of a project, is really important.”

At MSU, the result speaks for itself. “When you sit down and listen to a presentation in there,” Scherer adds, summing up, “there’s really not a bad seat in the entire place.”