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Flexible, Scalable Digital Intercom Systems For A Wide Range Of Applications

Digital intercom systems provide a foundation for point-to-point and group multi-connections

By Gary Zandstra July 15, 2011

In addition, this system offers text messaging from a keypad loudspeaker station to any other user(s).

In working with digital intercom systems, it’s useful to have a solid understanding of audio and signal flow as well as good working knowledge of networking, telephony and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

The key to successfully setting up a system is to have a clear plan as to how the system is to be implemented (i.e., using existing wiring, using a facility’s structured cabling, establishing new cabling, and so on).

Further, there needs to be a thorough understanding of any additional connections (like connecting an existing legacy 2-channel partyline system or connecting in a remote location) that need to be made.

Really, though, many of the same principles for designing and implementing a legacy system apply to designing and setting up a digital one.

Here’s a glossary of terms it’s good to be familiar with when working with digital intercom systems:

DTMF – Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency signaling, used for telecommunication signaling over telephone lines in the voice-frequency band between telephone handsets and other communications devices and the switching center.

MADI – Multichannel Audio Digital Interface, an industry-standard electronic communications protocol that defines the data format and electrical characteristics of an interface carrying multiple channels of digital audio.

SIP – Session Initiation Protocol, a signaling protocol widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP).

TCP/IP – Internet Protocol Suite, the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks

AES3 – The digital audio standard frequently called AES/EBU used for carrying digital audio signals between various devices.

Star Topology – In its simplest form, a star network consists of one central switch, hub or computer, which acts as a conduit to transmit messages. Thus, the hub and leaf nodes, and the transmission lines between them, form a graph with the topology of a star.

Daisy Chain – Connecting each device in series to the next. If a message is intended for a device partway down the line, each system bounces it along in sequence until it reaches the destination.

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About Gary

Gary Zandstra
Gary Zandstra

Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade.


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