CINCINNATI, OHIO - FEBRUARY 2011: The nearly two million residents of Cincinnati, Ohio and its greater metropolitan area rely on the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) for timely, comprehensive bus service. To meet its obligation, SORTA maintains a rigorous program of bus maintenance and inspection in its huge central facility. Until recently, communication throughout the facility hinged on an intermittent, semi-functional paging system that, after thirty years of daily use, operated poorly. SORTA hired American Sound & Electronics from across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky to gut the old system and replace it with something that would work well and reliably. Trey Arrowsmith, systems designer with American Sound & Electronics, specified a Symetrix Jupiter 12 to form the heart of the new system based on its generous input/output count, low cost, and ease of programming.
The Symetrix Jupiter series
is inspired by the "app" paradigm of smartphones. The Jupiter hardware, which comes in three input/output configurations (4x4, 8x8, and 12x4), takes on radically different personalities based on the app that a user chooses to run on it. The free apps are available on the Symetrix website and encompass a wide (and growing) range of common sound applications. Tweaking the parameters of an app to match the needs of a particular installation is so easy that even the uninitiated can do it without cracking the manual. Significantly, the Symetrix Jupiter series provides a comprehensive range of quality DSP resources that far exceeds other processors in its class.
Arrowsmith met with representatives from SORTA to determine their requirements. "Apart from wiring up a lot of loudspeakers, which was not insignificant, the basic requirements were very simple," he said. Ten separate Shure 450 Series II push-to-talk microphones populate the facility at strategic locations. Based on its location, SORTA could predict which combination of three output zones a microphone would logically output to, obviating the need for output selection at the microphone. The three zones are a division facilities management office, the maintenance and inspection shop, and a large area where busses are parked when not in use.
Because the SORTA facility is 1500-feet long and subject to a lot of RF traffic, Arrowsmith relied on Intelix CAT5 microphone runs to bring clean signal to the Symetrix Jupiter 12. In addition to the ten microphone inputs, Arrowsmith integrated an existing Viking tone generator for calling break times. Three of the Jupiter 12's four outputs feed a rack of Crown CDi 000 amplifiers for distribution to a huge number of loudspeakers. One hundred sixty-eight Bogen SPT15A horns and fifty Bogen S86T725PG8W in-ceiling loudspeakers throughout join four Atlas explosion-proof horns in areas with combustible materials.
"Installing the Jupiter was super easy," said Arrowsmith. "My tech did it. He used one of the 'Sound Reinforcement' apps and, despite the fact that he had little experience with Symetrix technology, said the whole thing went smoothly and quickly. He's a pretty picky guy, so if it had gone otherwise I'd have heard about it. That's a big endorsement." Arrowsmith recently returned to visit the facility and reports that, in stark contrast to unpredictable performance before the retrofit, the new system is working perfectly.
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