Designing sound systems for courtroom applications presents a host of challenges: acoustical, electrical and application-specific requirements make courtroom systems the most mission critical audio installations in the marketplace. After four subpar audio installations at the Payne County Courthouse in Oklahoma, Judge Worthington and the courthouse administration approached Aspen Custom Electronics with a special request to upgrade the courthouse audio system for good. Using an arsenal of AKG equipment which includes the WMS450 Wireless body pack, a DMM 4/2/2 Audio Mixer and two GN30 Goosenecks, Aspen Custom Electronics was able to do what four companies before it could not: install a clear and powerful audio system that exceeds everyone's expectations.
According to Matt Hall, project manager for Aspen Custom Electronics, the courthouse's audio system required so many revisions because of its many acoustical anomalies. Built in 1917, it was designed to provide optimal voice projection without the use of a PA system, so even the smallest sounds reverberate throughout the room, and a good portion of the front is covered in marble. What's more, the witness is able to turn up to 180 degrees while on the stand, looking from judge to jury, and many of the times their voice is very low and withdrawn.
It was clear to Hall that the audio system needed to be clear and focused. After reviewing the layout of the courthouse, Aspen Custom Electronics decided on a GN15 Gooseneck at the judges desk, one GN30 Gooseneck at the attorney's lectern and one at the witness stand, a WMS450 wireless body pack at the attorney's lectern and a DMM 4/2/2 Audio Mixer for the whole courthouse. Each mic – for the judge, attorney and witness – uses a ST45 stand and a CK80 Mic Module.
"Unlike entertainment installs, people's lives hang in the balance in a courtroom installation," Hall said. "As a result, our systems need to be powerfully accurate and clear, and with AKG, we get everything we are looking for and more."
The performance of the audio system has exceeded expectations of both Aspen Custom Electronics and members of the court. The witness stand microphone, which was the biggest problem before the installation, delivers clear, intelligible sound no matter which direction they are looking and the judge and court reporter can now hear everything without fail. In addition to the AKG components, the system features a dbx AFS224 processor and a Crown 180A amplifier.
"AKG has a wide range of products, and because of that, we were able to choose the right microphone for the right applications," Hall continued. "Their products are very affordable as well, which made them easy to recommend to our customer. The pick-up patterns and the variety of shotgun capsules gave us a lot of microphone options, the DMM 4/2/2 is a perfect fit for the application we had in the courtroom, setup was easy and the product worked exactly as we had anticipated."