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Lighting & Electrical

Big and Bold! – PEL Services designs sound system for Library of Birmingham


PEL Services Ltd. has completed the design, supply and commissioning of a Public Address (PA) and Voice Alarm (VA) system at the striking new £188 million, 31,000 sqm Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest public library.

The Library of Birmingham provides a showcase for the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books; other facilities include performance spaces and a recording studio. More than three million visitors are expected to the Library each year.

A flexible PA/VA system was required, able to relay both information and safety messages and to also play music when and where required, reliably and with clarity, across the entire Library. To accommodate this, PEL Services specified Bosch’s Praesideo digital system.

Unlike traditional PA systems, Praesideo uses a network configuration rather than having all system elements connected to a central controller; this architecture gives real freedom in system design. The ‘daisy-chain’ network topology means system elements can be connected to virtually any point and any type of equipment to be located wherever most suitable in the building (e.g. power amplifiers closer to loudspeakers). What’s more, by connecting the network ends together, a ‘redundant’ loop is created so any break in the cable doesn’t affect operation – an important consideration in an emergency system.

The Praesideo system was specified by PEL to drive the top of the range Electro-Voice ZX1i full range cabinet speakers in the foyer, with ceiling and wall speakers throughout the rest of Library, along with horn and projection speakers where required. As part of the specification, the VA system was extended by PEL to work in the adjacent Birmingham Repertory Theatre, to which it connects and with which it shares some facilities including a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people. In total, over 1200 speakers have been used in this project.

The design of the Library, including an atrium which extends through a number of the Library’s ten levels, presented some acoustic challenges. PEL Services employed acoustic modelling to ensure the most effective system design for these areas. As a result, Bosch XLA (Extended Listening Area) beam speakers where specified by PEL for the atrium wall. These speakers were considered ideal for this environment due to their ability to create a clear, fuller sound which is distributed more evenly over a wider area; their chic, slim design also made them an attractive addition.

For over 35 years PEL Services Limited has been a leading UK systems company designing, supplying, installing and commissioning sound, fire, security & audio visual solutions. In addition PEL provides a range of service agreements including routine maintenance and fully comprehensive cover, on third party equipment as well as PEL systems, throughout the UK and Eire.

For sales information please contact PEL Services Ltd on 020 8839 2100 or go to www.pel.co.uk and www.pelav.co.uk