LONDON, United Kingdom – In a multi-phase, multi-year undertaking, TG Baker (Sound) Ltd. recently completed an upgrade to the audio system at the London Waterloo station with HARMAN’s JBL Professional Intellivox loudspeakers.
After the successful completion of several other major station projects throughout the United Kingdom, TG Baker Sound was approached by Network Rail framework contractors to put a design together for the London Waterloo station. With the goal of improving system intelligibility throughout the station (beginning with the concourse area for the 2012 London Olympics, followed by the rest of the train shed and ancillary station areas after the games), TG Baker Sound faced a number of challenges.
London Waterloo is the UK’s largest and busiest railway station and like many large railway stations it provided the sound system designers with a significant challenge. Designing a system that can deliver clear and intelligible messages to the passengers in a station with a high reverberation time and high levels of background noise is never easy. For this reason, TG Baker chose loudspeakers from the Intellivox DDS (beam shaping) range to enable them to aim the sound where it was needed, at the passengers.
“In addition to the hostile acoustic environment of the station, there was also a number of other projects going on in the station simultaneously, which not only dictated the heights at which we could install the loudspeakers on the concourse, but also affected the general layout of the system,” said Scott McLucas, Senior Project Engineer, TG Baker Sound. “The design on the main concourse changed several times due to advertising and retail balcony projects.”
The final design on the concourse includes 21 JBL Intellivox DS180 loudspeakers mounted in pairs at a height of 7.4 meters, with a single unit filling in the access route to platform 18. The main train shed has 50 Intellivox DSX280 loudspeakers spread across 18 platforms. “This design for the concourse is unique in that the ideal mounting height of the beam-steering loudspeakers in this environment is typically 2.1 to 2.5 meters,” McLucas noted. “However, with the pressure from the other projects, we have the concourse loudspeakers mounted much higher.”
To overcome this challenge, TG Baker worked to develop the unusual design that would not only meet the architectural challenge, allowing the loudspeakers to be mounted at 7.4 meters, but would also do so while delivering an acceptable level of acoustic performance and intelligibility of the system. “We have worked with Duran Audio on a stadium project previously in Dublin and have since been appointed the preferred Intellivox partner for the UK rail market,” McLucas added. “We continue to work closely with them on other major station projects and also tunnel projects which is a new market sector for us.”
According to McLucas, returns on the new Intellivox system at Waterloo have been nothing but positive. “We have received comments that the intelligibility has been greatly improved and the system is now performing as it should be for the UK’s busiest rail terminal,” he said.
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HARMAN designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKGA®, Harman KardonA®, InfinityA®, JBLA®, LexiconA®, and Mark LevinsonA® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,800 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.7 billion for the last twelve months ended December 31, 2013.