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London’s Waterloo Station Feels The Benefit of Tannoy’s VLS Series

With over 91 million passenger entries and exits between April 2010 and March 2011, London’s Waterloo is easily one of Britain’s busiest railway station in terms of passenger throughput. After all, it caters for one of the busiest cities in the world, with around 350,000 passengers per day.

Of course, with so many passengers to take care of, it’s important that any announcements made to the public are both clear and concise and can be heard by everyone who needs to hear it, whether it is travel information or emergency information being issued.

Traditional transport hub structures and building materials meant that this station suffered from poor intelligibility, with the reflective surfaces such as marble and glass causing high reverberation times. However, passengers are now enjoying crystal clear audio thanks to a recently completed overhaul of the audio system, which included installation of Tannoy’s new VLS Series. The major upgrade to the PA system was handled by Glasgow-based TG Baker who were brought in by main contractor NG Bailey Rail for the design and commissioning phase. The project was funded by Network Rail.

Comprising of three models, VLS Series represents a potent addition to Tannoy’s product offering in the column array loudspeaker segment, augmenting its already strong offering to the so-called ‘architectural audio’ market – where maximum intelligibility and minimum aesthetic impact are the driving concerns. Building upon the proven commercial success of its flagship QFlex self-powered steerable array system, VLS Series offers AV contractors and consultants an alternative solution in the shape of a passive device offering balance of performance and cost, when active beam-steering may neither be required nor affordable.

With transducer technology adapted from QFlex, coupled with an innovative new passive crossover network design, VLS Series is the first Tannoy product to incorporate FAST (Focussed Asymmetrical Shaping Technology), delivering unique acoustic performance benefits not previously seen across a full range of passive column loudspeakers. Central to this is its asymmetrical vertical dispersion, gently shaping the acoustic coverage towards the lower quadrant of the vertical axis. By the nature of a typical application, an ideal column loudspeaker should be biased in the vertical plane towards the audience and away from reflective surfaces above (like glazed roofing) which are detrimental to intelligibility. FAST also facilitates quicker, easier installation with less need for tilting or specific concern for optimal mounting height.

“We’ve used Tannoy’s QFlex digital beam steering range at other transport projects in the UK, including a major installation at Glasgow Central, but this is the first time we have utilised the technology available in the new passive column range,” said Brian Andrew, head of TG Baker’s Railway Division.

“The VLS was a perfect solution for the space, as it fitted in with the overall architecture and allowed us to use the existing structure to hang the loudspeakers. It also provided the audio coverage that was essential for a busy transport hub like Waterloo. Both the styling and audio quality of VLS Series fits very well with the recently built prestigious retail balcony and the high end stores that it contains. The VLS loudspeakers, once commissioned, provide the balcony area with the same quality and coverage as that of the active ‘intelligent’ loudspeakers that cover the main concourse area.”





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