With the growth in popularity of the Underwater Observatory, tour presenters were finding the small personal PA’s they had been carrying during presentations were no longer effective in delivering good quality sound to tour participants. It was time for a fully installed sound system with radio microphones for tour presenters and the ability to play background music. Another interesting requirement was the need for an existing underwater microphone (Hydrophone) to be amplified through the installed system. For those of you who have not visited this amazing attraction, the observatory starts at the jetty level and winds down through t lower circular floors via stairs. As you walk down through the levels there are large windows providing opportunities to view the world beneath the ocean.
Having been involved with other small projects at the Underwater Observatory, Derek was initially contacted to provide ideas for what might be possible in the space. Such a unique venue required a detailed site survey and discussion with stakeholders to ensure the specific desired outcomes were achieved.
System Spec for the Underwater Observatory (UO)
The UO is a very Live and challenging acoustic environment – it is essentially a huge concrete tube. In order to achieve good intelligibility, we chose to install a ‘point source’ of sound at each level to reduce the early reflections and reverberation. This has been implemented in the form of 4 sets of 2 x Quest HPI5 speakers on each level, mounted on custom brackets to provide even coverage at each of the 4 levels of the UO. We chose cardioid pattern headsets, again to reduce ambient sound through the PA. To avoid dropouts of the RF, which was a risk with the thick concrete floors, we installed omnidirectional antennas on the second and third levels. As a result, the RF from the Mipro radio mic system is rock solid.
The system is controlled from 2 wall mounted panels – one at the top and one at the bottom of the UO. The guides can control the configuration of the system by recalling presets to suit the particular use of the UO. There is also mobile tablet control available for additional adjustments where required.
Finally, a Bluetooth receiver enables music to be played through the system during functions and events if required.
It was wonderful to be invited to the opening of the upgraded Busselton Jetty Experience Underwater Observatory. Many improvements through refurbishment had been made and there were new clever interactive experiences for children (and adults!) on the lower levels. We became tourists on the day, arriving on the Jetty Train with local fish and chips in hand. We got to experience a full tour which was enjoyable, educational, and most importantly from our perspective…the tour guide’s commentary was crystal clear and easily heard on all levels. We appreciated the thanks received at the opening and were pleased to have been part of such an interesting and successful project.