The Louisiana House of Representatives Chamber, located on the ground floor of the historic Louisiana State Capital building in Baton Rouge, recently received a long overdue sound system overhaul.
The project was part of an extensive electronics upgrade that recently took place in the capital building. NBTA Engineers, Inc. of Baton Rouge, an engineering consultancy that designs audio-visual, telecommunications, and security systems, was contracted to handle the design and specification of the upgrade. Ford AV, headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and one of the top audio-video integrators in the country, was tapped to handle the installation of the new systems.
The House chambers, an ornate room boasting marble and stone walls, bronze fixtures and carved wood furnishings, provides desks and microphones for 105 representatives when the house is in session. The focal point of the room is an ornately carved, raised wooden bench where the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader and assorted officials preside when the house is in session.
Because of the size of the chambers and the materials that dominate the room, vocal intelligibility had long been an issue. After multiple system demonstrations, the NBTA engineers agreed that a self-powered Tannoy QFlex 40 digitally steerable array speaker system would provide the ideal solution for the room.
“In a situation like the House chambers, vocal intelligibility is of utmost importance,” explains Jason Wehrle, project manager for Ford AV. “The QFlex 40 steerable array not only has excellent sonic quality but the ability to focus the acoustic energy where it is desired was invaluable. It was imperative that we keep the sound off of all of the hard surfaces while providing the vocal clarity that the situation demands.”
The Ford AV crew mounted two Qflex 40 arrays to the left and right of the Speaker’s bench approximately 12’ from the ground. A painter was commissioned to paint the boxes to match the marble so that they would blend into the background and not detract from the grandeur or purpose of the room.
Each QFlex 40 incorporates 8 4-inch and 16 3-inch low frequency drivers along with 16 1-inch high frequency drivers. QFlex uses multiple channels of advanced amplification and DSP to produce beams of acoustic energy, which are directed on user defined target areas. With this ability to focus acoustical output in target areas where needed, comes better speech intelligibility in highly reverberant spaces, as was witnessed in the house chambers.