In an effort to upgrade the audio quality in their administration building’s main conference room, the Silsbee Independent School District (ISD) reached out to the education AV specialists at Southwest Building Systems. Silsbee is a town of under 10,000 in southeastern Texas that operates four public schools.
“This is the school district’s main conference room, where they hold their monthly meetings,” notes Brent Thornhill, General Manager of Southwest Building Systems. “Their needs had evolved over the years, but the technology in the conference room had not. We discussed how a proper system approach could eliminate feedback, improve sound quality and add new capabilities. It was a much-needed change, and they were ready for it.”
Thornhill based his system design around equipment from Bosch and Electro-Voice. A Bosch PLENA matrix digital sound system serves as the core of the solution, configured to precisely address the room’s various requirements. The PLM-8M8 eight-channel DSP matrix mixer combines multi-zone flexibility with high-fidelity audio to accommodate board meetings, training sessions and presentations; a pair of Bosch PLM-WPC wall-mounted control panels make adjusting the system simple. Sound quality in the room was upgraded with three EVID C6.2 two-way ceiling speakers from Electro-Voice.
For school board meetings, Thornhill installed a Bosch CCS 1000 D digital discussion system with 12 tabletop discussion devices distributed around the large U-shaped conference table. Straightforward setup is a system hallmark, with configuration via an integrated web browser and plug-and-play daisy-chain wiring between devices. Each device integrates a gooseneck microphone and small loudspeaker, and the system includes automatic Digital Acoustic Feedback Suppression for superior sound quality. Features such as built-in recording to internal or removable media adds further user-friendly functionality. The school board chose an open-mic approach, with priority override and muting capability for the superintendent and board president. The compact design of the discussion devices also allows them to be rearranged easily to meet current social distancing requirements.
Southwest Business Systems specified an Electro-Voice RE3 wireless microphone system to provide vocal sound reinforcement during public meetings, eliminating the need to run cables. A PolarChoice Satellite-18 gooseneck mic is at the main podium, while a PolarChoice Boundary mic can be deployed for tabletop pickup. Both house RE3 bodypacks neatly within their bases. A third RE3 bodypack and a CL3 cardioid lavalier mic are also on hand for speeches and presentations. The final audio source is the room’s laptop PC, used for presentations.
All the above audio sources are connected to the PLENA matrix for flexible routing across both audio zones – the ceiling speakers and the discussion system. Audio from the discussion system is sent to the ceiling speakers for the public attendees, and sound from the wireless microphones and laptop PC feeds into the discussion system, ensuring that all board members hear everything, effortlessly.
With the ease of use engineered into the system, Southwest Building Systems only needed a single in-service training session with the superintendent’s secretary and the district’s IT director to bring the system online. “This was a huge upgrade for Silsbee school district,” notes Brent Thornhill. “It looks great, sounds great and it’s not intimidating to use. They already had their first meeting with it, and everyone loves the system.”