After a major revitalization project, the city of Eau Claire, WI, reopened Barstow Street last fall. It’s the site of numerous retail stores and restaurants, as well as a theater, churches and the Eau Claire Children’s Museum.
Joining the new brick-lined sidewalks, attractive street lighting, trees and other greenery is a new distributed sound system with Community Professional Distributed Design Series loudspeakers to provide music and announcements for the city’s frequent parades, fairs and holiday celebrations.
Designed and installed by Audio Architects of Chippewa Falls, WI, the new system replaced an aging system offering poor sound quality and uneven coverage, even lacking a convenient way to plug in a microphone for announcements.
Nancy Carlson and Andrew Pierson, sales engineers at Audio Architects, designed the new system. Carlson says the city sought a user-friendly system that could play automated background music as well as provide live announce audio.
Other requirements of the project were zone level control and sound that would cover the street and sidewalk areas but avoid the upper levels of buildings, which house professional offices and apartments.
The system incorporates Community DS8 loudspeakers to cover the street area and smaller DS5 loudspeakers for the sidewalks. “The Community loudspeakers sound great, they’re weather-resistant and they complement the street’s new appearance,” Carlson says. “And, they’re very cost-effective which helped us meet the city’s budget.”
The designers added a processor that could store MP3 music sources and play them at scheduled times and powered the system with 70-volt amplifiers that allow flexible zone level control. By carefully aiming the loudspeakers at the street and sidewalk areas and away from the building faces, they were able to minimize sound levels in the upper floors of the buildings.
Carlson notes that the city’s project manager has received multiple positive comments from people who attend Barstow Street events and also from local apartment dwellers.