3 Things You Didn’t Know About Airport PA Systems

Communication within an airport is critically important for travelers and personnel alike. Airports are hectic places with people rushing about. Some are trying to find their gate while others are searching for a place to grab a bite while they wait for their flight to board. Some are behind schedule and at risk of missing their flight while others have plenty of time on their hands. 

Every message played over the PA system must reach everyone in the airport. A weather event can set off a chain reaction of delays and cancellations that can affect everyone in the airport. Someone could have been separated from their group and staff are working to locate them on the premises. An emergency could arise, requiring every person in the space to follow the same instructions simultaneously. 

Airport PA systems are relied on to ease stress in a chaotic environment. What about their design allows them to accomplish such a difficult task with ease? Here we will break down some interesting aspects of their design and assembly.

Design in Full Effect

There are two important ratios to remember when outfitting an airport PA system: direct-to-reverberant (D/R) and signal-to-noise (S/N). Direct-to-reverberant measures how easily sound moves from its source to your ear. Each time the signal is reflected (reverberates) before reaching your ear is subject to degradation in comparison to the signal straight from the source (direct).

Airports are designed in a way that creates as few reflections for sound to travel as directly as possible to travelers so that the message can be received clearly.

Be Heard Loud & Clear

The Speech Transmission Index (STI) measures the intelligibility of speech against the environment it is in. As we all know, airports are noisy places. All of the movement and chatter of people added to the sound of airplanes taking off and landing adds up. However, the messages being shared over the intercom are important and must reach everyone.

By measuring against the STI and adjusting as needed, airports can confidently broadcast updates and information. 

Hardware Matters

Of course, even the best-designed PA systems will struggle if constructed from less-than-ideal hardware. You must select speakers that have the power to support the coverage and strength an airport will need. 

The level of precision required to properly execute an airport PA system is far greater than your average sound system. While many of the same basic principles are in play, optimizing for the unique challenges of an airport requires specialized knowledge. If you are considering an upgrade to your airport PA system, be sure to work with audio specialists who are familiar with the nuances of installing equipment in such an environment.

We’re Here to Support You

At EDC, we have experience installing PA systems in all sizes of airports. From full PA installations to intercom systems upgrades, we handle the work with the utmost care and attention to detail. We have proudly served the Twin Cities since 1955, keeping audio solutions online with our 24/7 support. Reach out today to begin your airport PA upgrade.