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Library of Birmingham - Major Public Address / Voice Alarm Installation


PEL Services completed the design, supply and commissioning of a Public Address & Voice Alarm (PA/VA) system at Europe's largest public library, the £188 million, 31,000 sqm Library of Birmingham.

The Library of Birmingham provides a showcase for the city's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books; other facilities include performance spaces and a recording studio.  There are more than 1.8 million visitors to the Library each year.


Download Library of Birmingham PEL Case Study


Bosch Praesideo - perfect for public address and voice alarm needs


Unlike traditional PA systems, Praesideo uses a network configuration rather than having all system elements connected to a central controller; this architecture gives real freedom in system design.  The 'daisy-chain' network topology means system elements can be connected to virtually any point and any type of equipment to be located wherever most suitable in the building (e.g. power amplifiers closer to loudspeakers).  What's more, by connecting the network ends together, a 'redundant' loop is created so any break in the cable doesn't affect operation - an important consideration in an emergency system.


A thousand sets of professional loudspeakers

The Praesideo system was specified by PEL to drive the top of the range Electro-Voice EVID C8.2HC High Ceiling full range loudspeakers in the double height entrance and foyer, with ceiling and wall speakers throughout the rest of Library, along with horn and projection speakers where required. In total, over 1000 speakers have been used in this project

As part of the specification, the VA system was extended by PEL to work in the adjacent Birmingham Repertory Theatre, to which it connects and with which it shares some facilities including a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people.

The Rotunda - an acoustic challenge


The unusual design of the Library, including a Rotunda book wall which extends 

up through a number of the Library's ten levels, presented some acoustic challenges. PEL Services used acoustic modelling to design the most effective system for
these areas. As a result, Bosch XLA (Extended Listening Area) Line Array speakers were specified by PEL. These speakers were considered ideal for this environment, not just because of their performance, with a clear, fuller sound, distributed more evenly over a wider are, but also because their chic, slim design made them an attractive but unobtrusive addition to the stylish space.


A flexible public address and voice alarm system was required, able to relay both information and safety messages and to also play in-store music when and where required, reliably and with clarity, across the entire Library.  To accommodate this, PEL Services specified Bosch’s Praesideo digital system.




For over 35 years PEL Services has been a leading UK systems company designing, supplying and installing sound, fire, security & audio visual solutions.  In addition, PEL provides a range of service agreements including routine maintenance and fully comprehensive cover, on third party equipment as well as PEL systems, throughout the UK and Eire.

To find out how PEL can help your organisation's public address and voice alarm needs, please contact us.

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