Multi-zone PA System for Auckland Zoo

Edwards Sound  designed and installed a multi-zone PA system to enable zoo staff to communicate simply and clearly with large numbers of visitors, educating them about the animals and their habitats in one extended and four new enclosures.

This was the culmination of four months of planning by Edwards Sound who were brought on board to design and install the multi-zone PA System. Edwards were approached due to their standing with other attractions such as the Maritime Museum and MOTAT, plus their successful track record for the installation of public address systems across Auckland.

The Brief

The Zoo staff provide frequent ‘encounters’ with the animals for visitor groups. These are very informative and interactive presentations requiring high quality audio. The Zoo was enlarging the existing giraffe enclosure to include an additional viewing platform where group encounters would take place. Plus there were to be three new zones which would also be ‘encounter’ locations: a meerkat enclosure, an aviary and a tortoise enclosure.

David Hardie Neil, Edwards Commercial Sales Manager details the brief, “Each of these zones was to have a dedicated local audio system so that zoo staff could simultaneously run different presentations in each area using wireless head microphones, without disturbing the session in the adjacent zone.” He adds, “It goes without saying that the equipment had to be camouflaged and blend in with the surroundings as much as possible, as well as capable of running 24/7. It was also a fully outdoor system, totally exposed to the elements so needed to be waterproof.”

Discrete installation


Integral to the Zoo’s mission of raising visitor awareness was the need for high intelligibility and quality sound. Visitors needed to be able to hear every word and as audience numbers vary considerably at each encounter, the system had to cater for potentially large crowds. Additionally, the system had to be connected to the Zoo’s LAN so the ‘Code Red’ alert system could provide “Audio over IP” emergency paging through the speaker system in the event of an animal escape or other public address warning.


The three months of planning and design got underway last year, “There was a lot of coordination involved. Other contractors had substantial earthworks and building to complete and we had to work around them. We couldn’t just go in and hang up the speakers.” explains David.

Rather David ensured that the Edwards’ installation team, not just the sales consultants were involved from the beginning of the process and attended any briefings with other contractors, to guarantee smooth communication. “The installers also had several site meetings with the client to develop the custom audio solution plan. Installation crew involvement is a crucial element to any job. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and the guys actually doing the physical installation work hear firsthand from the client what is required, not via a sales consultant.”

Pride in Pridelands

The client feedback has been fantastic, not only on the job but on Edwards' “amiable, efficient and friendly installation crew.” The system has been described as "great sounding and very clear - staff could hear the speakers from 100m away in their offices during testing," reports David.

And Edwards get to continue to do their bit for the planet! David takes pride in the fact that Edwards are going to be involved in stage two of the project, “We’ve been invited back to work on their upcoming project. Compliments don’t get any better than that in our game.”

Next up – a $40 million Southeast Asian rainforest…


Interested in a PA system installation? Contact David

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