Digital Intercoms supplied a Cronus Digital Matrix to England’s 700-year-old Glyndebourne Opera House as the centerpiece of a new integrated communications and paging system. The system provides paging to multiple zones and integrates production communications and 85 radio beltpacks covering the entire site. The system is controllable from any PC in the complex via the AZedit software interface.

Simon Yapp, head of AV and sound at Glyndebourne Opera House and his colleague Keith Benson, head of lighting, needed to find a solution to replace the Opera House’s old paging system which had become unsupportable. The new system had to not only replace the original paging system with 16 zones, but also offer increased flexibility without throwing away the existing cable infrastructure and speaker system, all of which were still serviceable.

Due to the support issues with the old system, a key factor was that the new system would have ongoing support for the future. “Glyndebourne is famous for high quality productions and we required a solution to our communications problems of equally high quality. As a long-term user of the RTS® two-wire intercom system, Glyndebourne had experience with both RTS products and the support RTS offers. RTS is an established company we have come to trust, so naturally we turned to them to see if they could provide us with an appropriate solution,” says Yapp, who contacted Adrian Richmond, UK sales manager for RTS Digital Intercoms. Yapp adds, “I had already priced a replacement analog paging system but the costs were considerable. However, I soon realized on talking with RTS that their solution of using a 24-port Cronus digital communications matrix was not only cheaper but would offer much more flexibility than the existing system.”

The new installation had to provide the switching necessary for the paging and artist calls, relay closures, plus five user stations. It also had to accommodate two channels of RTS TW beltpacks for the production loops and interface with a Motorola radio system.

Yapp details the connection requirements: “The main task I had was to design a simple, semi-permanent patch connection box which could adapt the Cat 5 RJ12 solid core cables over to either the existing older 25 core paging point cables or the multi stranded audio cables running to a new 16 way XLR loom connection to the amps.”

He continues, “You can see on the left here early progress during wiring of the new connection box. The 16 black cables on the left are already connected to the amps. More cables were then connected to the five paging panels and the six audio lines from the 2/4wire converters (SSA-324) for stage comms. Below this new box are the existing relays required to send 24VDC to over 300 relays in different offices during every paging call. They are controlled from the UIO256 1U Relay Unit. To make the installation easier I had the loom and terminal box manufactured offsite ready to be installed onsite in under two hours.”

The switchover was achieved in only one week and Glyndebourne now enjoys the benefits of a fully integrated communications system with improved sound quality and over 30 rack units of space saved.