Big Ben Chimes in New Year with Soundweb London

Delta Sound Inc. recently deployed a pair of the new CobraNet-compatible BSS Soundweb London DSP devices to enable Big Ben to chime in the New Year along the North Embankment of the Thames at the stroke of midnight.
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The IR transmitter in the Clock Tower

Delta Sound Inc. recently deployed a pair of the new CobraNet-compatible BSS Soundweb London DSP devices to enable Big Ben to chime in the New Year along the North Embankment of the Thames at the stroke of midnight.

Working for event organizers Jack Morton Worldwide, Delta Sound Inc. director Paul Keating designed a system in which a pair of the new-generation Soundweb London BLU-80 devices were used in conjunction with a free-space optic, infrared point-to-point bridge.

Four microphone sources were placed up in the Clock Tower of Big Ben, fed into the first BLU-80, and routed out to the 'sending' FSO IR unit. Meanwhile, the receiving IR unit was situated on the ground some 1300 feet away feeding the signal back into the second BLU-80. This allowed the audio to be distributed along the eight loudspeaker masts located down the Embankment between Westminster Bridge and Jubilee Bridge enabling the estimated New Year's Eve crowd of 80,000 to hear the chimes clearly.

The BBC also used the link as its source for the live broadcast output as opposed to using the standard ISDN circuits from Broadcasting House.

Delta Inc.'s Daren Hirst, who took responsibility for the Soundweb London programming (and interface protocols with the IR link), remarked, "Using CobraNet allowed us to run high quality digital audio in real-time over a standard Ethernet network and it worked incredibly well. In fact, it could be heard audibly across on the South Bank.”

In addition to offering greater I/O reconfigurability, BSS Audio's Soundweb London offers dual-redundant CobraNet audio networking, plus integration of control, monitoring and error reporting (in conjunction with Crown Audio CTs amplifiers fitted with TCP/IQ PIP cards), and, of course, overall control of the system via an Ethernet topology.

For more information, visit www.bss.co.uk.