imgMalaga, Spain (July 2, 2013)—As part of the new metro/subway rail network installed in Spain’s historic Malaga was a Renkus-Heinz Iconyx system to provide station announcements for commuters, residents and tourists in the city.

The main economic and financial center of southern Spain, Málaga thrives on tourism, construction and technology services, while other sectors such as transportation and logistics are beginning to expand, with the growth of the Andalusía Technology Park (PTA) setting a fine example.
But what Málaga also has in abundance, like any modern city, is road traffic. From its suburbs to the historic old town, its streets are crowded with vehicles. That's why it's about to follow the example of Spain's other large cities with the opening in 2014 of the MetroMálaga, a light metro train network that will eventually see six lines built, radiating outwards from the city centre where the lines are in tunnels, the rest being overground. It's Andalucía's largest infrastructure investment in history.

Málaga-based LDA AudioTech was brought in to provide all audio systems for the first phase, covering 22 stations around the city, of which 12 are underground in the center, the rest at street level. The company's experience includes audio integration for the metro/subway networks of Bilbao and Seville.

Currently being installed, the design will include 52 separate sound systems, in 67 zones. Based on a CobraNet network over a dedicated VLAN, everything is supervised from a central control station 20km from the city centre. The network's central station is integrated with train and bus terminals, and each station on the network is divided into three different zones: the booking hall, platforms and an interior zone.
Renkus-Heinz Iconyx systems form a key part of the project, as LDA marketing manager Diego Velazquez explains. "At every underground station at platform level, facing the passenger entrance, is a single Renkus-Heinz IC24, equipped with an LDA STE21 device for Ethernet control, and to monitor the array with LDA's SIME software at the central control room. So the close integration between Renkus-Heinz's and LDA's technology provides station managers with a combination of centrally coordinated announcements, and assurance that everything is working correctly, in real time. There's also complete control at local level, with microphones in some stations, mostly LDA MCA microphones, an 8 zone microphone, with LDA STV series multichannel amplifiers and an LDA ZES-80 digital multi-zone matrix system."
Each platform measures 230ft (70m) long by 25 ft (7.5m) wide and 32ft (10m) high, and with multiple horizontal concrete beams at 16ft (4.9m) above platform level. "Iconyx modules, both the digitally steerable IC24 with its multiple individual beams, and the 37 mechanically steerable IC7s that we installed in the 160ft (49m) long by 164ft (50m) wide booking halls, offer great audio quality and intelligibility in covering large areas," Velazquez said. "So, by using just one IC24 for each platform, it was possible to achieve even sound pressure distribution along the area, avoiding acoustic shadows that could be created by concrete beams and columns.”
"Also challenging in this type of environment is extreme variations in background noise with the arrival and departure of trains and the sudden influx of people. To solve this issue, we used LDA Dynamic Sound Adjust technology, which automatically monitors and adjusts the volume level of each IC24 in every zone, so that it's delivering a few dBs above the ambient level, without being too loud or too weak. Our SIME system also has the ability to detect if an announcement might not have been intelligible, and in this case the system will automatically repeat the message after a few seconds,” Velazquez said.

As he notes, "Delivering pure announcements is very important to every passenger. And in the Metro Málaga it's remarkable to be able to say that in every zone the STI is approximately 0.6 or higher, so it has speech intelligibility of a quality similar to that found in most concert halls."