The new Tribunal de Paris complex includes 55 courtrooms equipped with networked AV systems based on Symetrix Prism DSPs and co-designed by Axente, Bouygues Energies & Services, and Audiovisuel Solutions.
The complex covers more than 400,000sqm of buildings on 106.25 acres of land, and brings together the core activities of the Parisian justice system, previously scattered across 30 sites. Once completed the complex will house, among other spaces, the 90 courtrooms of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (Court of Justice).
"This was a big project because of the number of courtrooms," said Axente director of audio Alain Hercman. "Networking 55 courtrooms required 37 Symetrix Prism 4x4 DSPs, 18 Prism 8x8 DSPs, and 130 Attero Tech unDIO2x2 interfaces. Each courtroom is handling a different case, so we did not need to send audio or video between rooms, but all 55 AV systems are connected to the network at a central technical room, from which they are managed."
To enable an efficient and manageable AV system in a big building where courtrooms are often located far from the technical room, the design team specified a Dante network. Hercman stated: “Dante allows us to easily move and control audio across long distances using fibre and CAT6 cables. And with Symetrix Prism DSPs and Attero Tech Dante interfaces, the Dante network is flexible, reliable, and easy to use."
Recording capabilities and security are extremely important factors in a courtroom. "We need to keep things as confidential as possible, so there are rules that are very specific to a court of justice," noted Hercman. "For example, the court has to be able to record to video and recall everything in case an advocate needs to prove that someone said something at a specific time. The video has to be secure yet easy to play back. So the installation has to meet certain standards."
Although the 55 courtrooms are similar, they are not identical. "Some rooms can accommodate more attorneys than others, and some have secure boxes for the accused, with glass everywhere," explained Hercman. "So we needed slightly different equipment in those spaces. But the way we use the Symetrix Prisms is basically the same in all rooms. Analogue signals go to and from the unDIO2x2 boxes, which route Dante streams over CAT cable and fibre to and from the Prism DSPs."
A long-time Symetrix user, Hercman explained further: "We've used Symetrix DSPs in other projects, and we have found them easier to program than other DSPs. The Symetrix Prism has a very high quality engine. Since each courtroom system is used independently and has a different design, the programming of 55 different matrices for TGI should have been challenging and time consuming. But thanks to Symetrix Composer software with its logic-based processing modules, it proved to be fast and easy."
Hercman emphasises that the networked AV system was the result of a co-operative effort. "The integrator was Bouygues Energies & Services of Montigny le Bretonneux, and Audiovisuel Solutions (APE) of Nanterre was a subcontractor installer."