Goodbye 1990’s Analog System, Hello Modernized L.A. Metro

Published: November 16, 2015

Editor’s Note: One of the most eagerly anticipated times of the year at Commercial Integrator is receiving and reviewing the submissions we receive for our Integration Awards program. You can find this year’s winners here. Of course, not every entry can win but that does not undermine its worthiness as a project. Case in point, this submission by AVI-SPL in the Best Government Project category. Here’s how the Tampa, Fla.-based integrator described the planning and results.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, designs, builds and operates public transportation for nearly 10 million people in Los Angeles County. Until recently, L.A. Metro has relied on outdated technology to conduct and record the public hearings at its headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

The system, which was analog and dated to the early 1990s, was long overdue for an upgrade. “The technology was older and the only place we could find replacements was on eBay,” says Arlen Sanders, project manager in the Information Technology Services department with L.A. Metro. “It was becoming a nightmare to administrate. The technicians were getting blamed when they didn’t have a lot of control over the whole thing. It was an embarrassment for them to have to deal with that.”

As a result, L.A. Metro was seeking to update the quality of its audio and its ability to send AV signals throughout its headquarters. Our engineers made sure that the solutions we integrated would meet four areas of focus: flexibility, expansion, longevity and functionality.

Our update of their voting technology allows board members to view the voting system and any presentation content on the same display. To improve the audio for audience members, we used Meyer Sound digitally steerable line-array speakers. This satisfied L.A. Metro’s request that the solution be aesthetically pleasing while also eliminating a “best seat in the house.”

Sanders says board members and audience members alike have noted the improved audio.

“They’ll say, ‘Wow, I can just hear everything,'” he says. “The system makes it seem like you’re just hearing people talk, even though they may be a hundred feet away from you.”

Where L.A. Metro’s technicians used to have trouble figuring out which microphone was causing problems, they can now reference a virtual console that has indicators for each mic.

“If we were to get feedback, we can tell where it’s coming from,” says Sanders.

Prior to the integration, translators, technicians and the rear projector shared the same control area. Now, they have their own separate control room spaces. To provide better engagement with attendees, the signals from boardroom camera views and presentation displays can be routed to overflow conference rooms, training rooms and the cafeteria.

In addition to the Meyer Sound speech reinforcement speakers, the project enlisted equipment and systems that included: Biamp Systems audio network, JBL and Galaxy Audio loudspeakers, Shure microphones, AMX control and touchpanels, ProjectionDesign projection, Da-Lite projection screen, Sharp displays, Chief mounts, Panasonic surveillance, Listen Tech assisted listening, Extreme Networks network infrastructure, Middle Atlantic rack system and more.

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