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SymNet Keeps House and Senate Chambers Connected at Alabama State House

Mar 7, 2007 8:33 PM


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A substantial quantity of SymNet DSP and expansion devices have been installed at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, where they provide processing, auto-mixing, matrixing, and distribution functionality for the legislative spaces. This installation is part of an AV upgrade at the State Legislature building which was designed by special systems engineering firm NBTA Engineers, of Baton Rouge, La.

"We worked very closely with the owner to develop a system tailored to their specific needs. The project was well executed and on budget, and will meet their needs for many years to come," says Trez Traylor, a professional mechanical and electrical engineer who is president of NBTA Engineers. The company, which has been in business for 40 years, typically handles large-scale audio/visual, telecommunications, access control/CCTV, houses of worship, and theatrical projects.

The House and Senate chambers are each identically outfitted with a SymNet 8x8 DSP hardware module together with 12-channel BreakIn12 and BreakOut12 expansion devices. Principal inputs into each DSP matrix include microphones for the president and secretary (Senate) and speaker and clerk (House). There are provisions in the House for eight additional mics to be introduced into the SymNet system.

The House/Senate Joint Briefing Room includes a similar complement of SymNet devices plus an additional BreakIn12 unit for external audio sources such as CD, tape cassette, broadcast, and digital subscription radio, a 2-channel wireless as well as lectern and debate microphones.

"The SymNet devices process all the audio inputs and outputs inside the House and Senate chambers. It provides all the parametric EQ, filters, delays and auto-mixing functions, and also provides all the feeds to a separate CobraNet distribution system. The CobraNet system feeds back into each space and can be selected as various auxiliary inputs through a touchpanel controller," Traylor says.

The DSP and I/O units are interfaced with the CobraNet distributed audio network through a series of seven SymNet CobraLink audio and control data bridge devices located in the House, Senate, House/Senate Joint Briefing Room, Ways and Means and Finance and Taxation Committee Rooms, an eighth floor computer center, and at the distribution system head end.

"The CobraNet distribution system also feeds their existing analog distribution system which delivers audio from the chambers and committee rooms to the offices, hallways and other spaces. We added this SymNet digital head end to the legacy system," Traylor says.

Outputs from the system feed the chamber speakers as well as the press feeds, assisted listening system feeds, tape recorder, transcription system feeds, and a feed for the Lieutenant Governor's office. "During final project closeout, the user/owner frequently desires modifications to the system. Accommodating the owner on these changes is significantly easier with a DSP-based audio processing system," reports Traylor.

The State House in Montgomery was originally opened as the Alabama Highway Department Building in 1963. In 1985 the Alabama Legislature moved into the upper floors while the Capitol was being renovated and has remained there ever since.





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