Albany Pool - Distributed audio in a challenging environment

Albany Stadium Pool

Designing and Installing a Distributed Audio System in a Challenging Environment

Albany Stadium Pool, an exciting new leisure pool, opened in January 2017 to cater for the growing population in the North Auckland area. The Albany Stadium Pool was specifically designed to focus on fun and recreation, unlike other pools in Auckland's leisure network. The facility includes a lap pool, a splash pad for toddler's and a shallow kid's pool with inflatables, water cannons, a large play structure and an over-the-pool climbing wall. There is also a spa and sauna and fitness and group exercise area.
AAE were tasked with designing and installing the distributed audio for the background music system and the public address system. Distributing audio around swimming pools poses a certain set of challenges. The system needs to be able to withstand high levels of moisture and humidity, and be resistant to the chemicals used in the pools. The equipment must be low maintenance to avoid service disruption as Council facilities have minimal downtime. Above all, swimming pools are difficult acoustic spaces with large, flat, reflective surfaces creating a harsh acoustic environment. Recreational pools, in particular, with a lot of 'crowd' noise present additional challenges.

AAE resolved the challenges posed by this tough environment by utilising durable and reliable speakers specifically designed for outdoor use. The speakers installed in the aquatic area have a protective screen over any openings and are highly rated for water and dust protection. These omnidirectional speakers also countered the acoustic challenges. They deliver a more powerful sound system for environments where clear voice announcements and high-fidelity music at high sound pressure levels are required.

Four years from start to finish and part of a consortium, AAE worked closely with the Auckland Council's Facility Management Team to ensure that the multi-zone Public Address system was fit for purpose and simple to use and maintain. The PA System was designed to enable all areas in the building to operate independently with speech and music, yet when required, be contactable from the main reception. For simplicity the PA systems runs 24/7 and the volume levels for each area were all pre-set with the appropriate volume clearly marked.

The installation and commissioning of the scheme was carried out on budget and by the final completion date to the total satisfaction of the client and the contractors. Daniel Peak, Principal Project Manager, Pools & Aquatic Centres, Community Facilities Operations Division reflected that, AAE delivered the project without any issues. It was a straightforward installation. He adds, We have since had a scheduled shutdown of the children's pool and AAE did what they needed to do to the equipment within the first week of the four-week shutdown. They were very prompt and efficient.

Leisure centre staff were pleased with the systems which they found to be simple to operate, yet comprehensive enough to meet all their operational requirements.