Lectrosonics Gets Heard in Federal Court

The newly introduced ASPEN Series digital audio products are making things clearer.
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The newly introduced ASPEN Series digital audio products are making things clearer.

Federal courtrooms are such secret places that cameras and tape recorders in the gallery are prohibited, and anyone trying to live-Tweet a case better have their affairs in order and know a good lawyer.

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Michael Bartee, audio-video systems engineer for Quantum Technologies, with Lectrosonic gear including an ASPEN Series digital matrix mixer The newly introduced ASPEN Series digital audio products from Lectrosonic are making hearings more clear in one such court, identified by the company as "a major Western U.S. Federal Courthouse."

Wherever it is, Lectrosonic says the audio products were deployed with "resounding success."

Working from a blueprint by Spectrum Engineers of Salt Lake City, Huntsville, Ala.-based Quantum Technologies installed, configured, and programmed the new equipment as part of a massive audio upgrade to accompany a recent refurbishment of the facility’s video infrastructure.

Michael Bartee, audio-video systems engineer for Quantum Technologies, was directly involved in all aspects of the installation, including the configuration and programming of 14 courtroom systems, each with a Lectrosonics ASPEN Series SPN1624 Digital Matrix Mixer, SPN16i Input Expander, and SPNConference Interface unit.

“Each of the 14 systems required automixing and mix minus matrix mixing for both different zones throughout the courtrooms as well as for multitrack recording (documentation of court proceedings) purposes,” said Bartee. “Further, automatic feedback elimination on every microphone input was another important consideration. While the courtroom deputy and judge both have the ability to recall multiple configurations— such as a bench conference—at the touch of a button via an AMX control system, the system is for all intents and purposes unattended.”

Employing sophisticated proprietary algorithms developed by Lectrosonics and the latest in high-speed DSP hardware, the new ASPEN series processors feature unlimited input expandability, real-time clock, a 48-channel matrix bus, a 1 Gbps expansion port, and true 48-Volt phantom powering for all inputs. Further, the Proportional Gain Algorithm (PGA) for auto-mixing—without the use of gates—results in transparent audio and increased gain before feedback.

“I was extremely impressed with the ASPEN system’s DSP processing power,” Bartee said. “Whatever we needed—be it EQ, delay, limiting, feedback elimination, and so forth— we were able to set up processing without any fear of running out of processing power or sacrificing system performance due to DSP limitations. This is, unquestionably, one of the ASPEN system’s major advantages. Similarly, the SPN16i is extremely beneficial. Each courtroom uses roughly twenty-four inputs and this unit provided the additional input capability without having to use two mixers and their redundant outputs.”

Installed during the early part of 2010, the new federal court sound system became operational in March.

“Everything has been working wonderfully," Bartee said. "The sound quality is excellent and everyone is very pleased. The teleconference unit’s performance is superior to any product we’ve previously used. When I first received teleconference test calls, I thought the client was pulling my leg—I honestly believed they were on the phone rather than on a microphone. The new system’s performance is exceptional."

Want to learn more about ASPEN? Check out the video:

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Web Streaming Court Proceedings

That case, the State of Florida vs. Casey Marie Anthony, has attracted so many media outlets, that the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida is “doing a lot of stuff for this trial that aren’t done for most trials."