Legislating Audio

Legislating Audio
  • The Oregon State Capitol recently installed a Biamp AudiaFLEX in each of six hearing rooms and two Nexias for smaller hearing rooms after having originally bought three Biamp AudiaFLEXs for three hearing rooms years ago.EUGENE, OR-The Oregon State Capitol facility selected Biamp Nexia digital signal processors and Audia digital audio platforms for audio in the hearing rooms, in the House and Senate chambers, as well as out in the field for remote locations. The installations happened in three stages, with Biamp gear used more extensively at each phase.
  • The Oregon State Capitol's media technician system administrator, Ken Lewetag, worked together with Smeed Communication Services of Eugene, OR and relied on Biamp again recently for the installation of a Biamp AudiaFLEX in each of six hearing rooms and two Nexias for smaller hearing rooms, after having originally bought three Biamp AudiaFLEXs for three hearing rooms years ago. "In the initial installation, we had to replace the equipment that was rather old," said Lewetag. "The considering factors were primarily that they were easy to operate with few controls and that they seemed to be very dependable."
  • For the most recent installation, the basic operation running in each hearing room involves between 10 and 20 microphones-all of which are active simultaneously. The challenges in these rooms are to present audio to the committee, present audio to the presenter or the witness, and then to present audio to the audience. "Using the previous systems," said Lewetag, "they were serving two masters." Sound reinforcement needed to be provided for the room, and it is required by statute to have a recording of the proceedings. "Those two jobs usually conflict with each other," he continued.

The Biamp system in these hearing rooms provides for as many microphone inputs as are required. It allows for five audio outputs-four of which are going to dedicated speaker systems and one that is just presenting witnesses to the committee. "In addition, tele- or videoconferencing audio is brought in which adds complexity, along with presentations requiring audios that have to be mixed in to that system. This does a very good job of it," said Lewetag. "If you know anything about installing audio sound systems, this is like a kid in a candy shop. You can put whatever piece of equipment you want inline to make it work up to the maximum capacity of the system."

The Nexia CS system has its own feedback cancellation and provides the recorded copy as the legal record. "They have now done well over 150-200 remotes and we have yet to have one failure," said Lewetag.

Biamp AudiaFLEX processors are also being put to use in the House and Senate chambers. "With this recent purchase, it's kind of like using a Rolls-Royce to haul hay," said Lewetag, "in that we're using the Audias as a substitute-in the House and Senate chambers-for feedback suppression, equalization, time delay. I'm only using 10-15 percent of the capacity of the Audias."

Lewetag reasoned that buying them still made sense, because they will eventually replace the equipment on the House and Senate floor with AudiaFLEX processors. "It's a huge project if we decide to do it, it would be roughly 90 microphones in and 90-plus outputs," he said. "Each person having his/her own individual speaker."

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