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Self-powered Meyer Sound loudspeakers for Houston’s George Bush airport

Only opened in 2013, the new $97 million (€70 million) Terminal B at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport features a self powered Meyer Sound loudspeaker set up which offers the facility a number of advantages.

The new Terminal B at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), which cost $97 million (€70 million) to build, has had its south concourse fitted with a self-powered 48 V Meyer Sound loudspeaker system.

IAH Terminal B south concourse was designed by Cheryl Gajeske and Ivan Pire of Houston-based architects PGAL. The facility features 15 active gates for United Express regional flights, with expansion to 30 gates planned by the end of the year.

The system has gone into the south concourse to handle announcements and music after it was selected to counter acoustical issues from ithe facility’s reflective surfaces and tall ceilings.

Both airport management and the concourse’s operator, United Airlines, worked to offer across-the-board improvements in traveller experience. Improving audio quality in the concourse proved a challenge, as the 27ft-high ceiling, the room’s large size, and the expansive glass area presented acoustical difficulties for Houston-based HFP Acoustical Consultants which designed with LD Systems of Houston carrying out installation.

“Self-powered loudspeakers, with amplification and signal processing inside the cabinet, provide inherently better audio reproduction,” explained HFP’s Bill Schuermann. “Without the transformers and long cable runs typical of airport systems, they provide flatter frequency and phase response, lower distortion, and extended bass. The result is remarkable intelligibility with a natural voice quality, and far superior musicality.”

The principal Meyer Sound system comprises 60 UPM-1XP 48 V loudspeakers, 44 MM-4XP self-powered loudspeakers, and two Stella-4C installation loudspeakers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with seven Galileo 408 processors provides system optimisation.

“If conventional systems have to be rezoned to accommodate a new floor plan, you usually have to change wiring in the ceiling,” Schuermann explained. “But with self-powered systems, all the changes can be quickly accomplished inside the equipment room.”