Several months after it marked its 50th anniversary with an extensive renovation that included new acoustics and sound system, the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary added a new state-of-the art paging system based on the digital signal mixing, routing and processing capabilities of Symetrix's SymNet.
"When the bulk of the renovation was complete in September 2005, the funds weren't available to upgrade the 10-year-old digital paging system," Craig Spallin, the facility's house audio technician, says. "So we had to reopen this beautiful Alberta provincial government-owned entertainment facility with the old paging system in place."
When the paging system became unreliable following the reopening, the auditorium's decision-makers looked to SymNet to build a highly capable method of handling the complex signal processing and routing needed for the 196,000-square-foot facility with a 2,500-seat theater and more than 12 ancillary spaces.
"As a professional theater and government facility, our requirement for a reliable, flexible, yet simple-to-use paging system was of the highest importance," Spallin adds. "There were quite a few specific demands that we needed to place on the paging system. Although the new system emulates many of the functions of the old one, SymNet allowed us to improve it quite a bit in terms of paging-priority capabilities, discrete zoning and the flexibility to move freely between all of the zones."
Built around five SymNet 8x8 DSP units, three of which were redeployed from the main sound system in the theater, the facility's paging system comprises 16 separate zones and eight paging panels and one audio matrix panel that incorporates a total of 33 SymNet Adaptive Remote Control (ARC) units. Currently configured to handle 38 inputs and 24 outputs spanning all of the zones, which use ceiling-mounted, 70-volt speakers powered by various QSC CX-series amplifiers and eight dynamic gooseneck microphones at each paging station, the system allows messages and other audio to be easily relayed to the proper areas.
"We needed a system that had very specific zone control: When we're running a show, the front-of-house manager needs to be able to page lobby announcements to the public, but without the same announcements being heard in the backstage area, where they need their own set of announcements," Spallin explains. "The nice thing about the SymNet system is that each zone has a Super-module built-in. One of those functions is a paging-priority selector. The system also ties into the fire alarm system, and two microphones are provided—one at the main door and one at the stage door—to allow for fire department evacuation of the building."
Another feature of the system is the deployment of ambient noise microphones in the public paging zones. The microphones monitor the noise level in its zone and relay the data to the system, enabling the volume level to be adjusted up or down as needed to maintain full intelligibility.
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