TALLAHASSEE FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 2012: The Florida Senate Chamber is a large, circular room, with desks for the forty senators and lecterns for the Senate President, the Senate Secretary, and invited speakers on the main floor. Visitor galleries surround the chamber. Tallahassee-based A/V integration firm and instrument retailer Music Masters recently renovated the chamber’s thirty-plus year old sound reinforcement system. A new 7.1 surround sound system comprised of Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers rings the floor from above and delivers natural and highly-intelligible sound reinforcement for A/V playback, live performances, and senate business.
Music Masters renovated the Florida House of Representatives Chamber last year, replacing everything except the loudspeakers, which were of a newer vintage. “We installed a 144×16 Media Matrix DSP and tuned everything up so that the system sounds great,” explained Les Stephenson, owner of Music Masters. “However, the Senate’s system needed a complete overhaul.”
“In the Senate, you have forty important people discussing vitally important business,” said Stephenson. “Intelligibility and pattern control were therefore key, and that immediately led me to consider Danley Sound Labs. The center speaker would sit up above the President of the Senate’s desk, but twenty-six feet was the very lowest it could be mounted. Danley’s excellent pattern control could fire from that height and cover the floor without energizing the glass and rotunda above. Moreover, Danley’s transparent sound would naturally allow the Senate to have intelligible conversations. I wouldn’t have to fight with the processing for a week to make it sound good.”
Music Masters mounted a Danley SH-46 sideways for the center channel, which delivers a 60-degree horizontal by 40-degree vertical pattern. A pair of Danley SM-60s provides left and right channel coverage. Four Danley SM-100s serve as side and rear channels. A Danley TH-118 subwoofer fills out the low end from inside the projection room. Stephenson ordered all but the SM-100s with self-power, and the fact that none of the units require bi- or tri-amplification added an element of simplicity to a system that was otherwise not very simple. Therefore, each speaker is a fully independent sound system unto itself, allowing very complex sound field imaging.
Music Masters installed a new Shure Beta 87 microphone at each of the senators’ desks, Shure MX418 on the podiums, and AKG CK47s on the President’s rostrum. Those microphones, together with new A/V inputs (suitable for musical accompaniment!), feed a 56-input/Peavey Media Matrix NION processing system. At some point in the 1990s, each desk was wired for its own DSP channel, and Stephenson recognized how valuable that would be in a fully time-aligned system. Thus, the DSP contains 64 outputs, enough for every individual desk, where new five-inch OAP loudspeakers reside, as well as for the Danley 7.1 system. Biamp amplifiers power all of the small loudspeakers and QSC powers the Danley SM-100s.
Stephenson used the power of the Media Matrix NION system, together with the fact that the Senate conducts business in an orderly fashion, to time-align all of the system’s many loudspeakers. “When a senator is recognized,” he explained, “he or she is given the opportunity to speak. When that mic is switched on, the Media Matrix automatically calculates appropriate delays at every loudspeaker, like ripples from a pebble dropped in calm water. Even the output from the Danley loudspeakers shifts so that listeners spatially locate the origin of the person speaking to his or her actual location in the chamber. It makes a tremendous difference in the transparency and impact of the system.”
Everyone who has heard the system agrees, “It’s an excellent sounding system,” Stephenson concluded. “Which will enhance the Florida Senate Chambers for many years to come. It is a system befitting so august a body.”
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.