Skip to main content

All-weather Speakers Enhance Sound Systems at Seattle Aquarium


The exciting world of marine mammals is being enhanced at the world-famous Seattle Aquarium with a new sound-reinforcement system made up of One Systems Model 112IM/70 all-weather loudspeakers supplied by Morgan Sound. 

“In the past our guests had difficulty hearing our tutorials and commentaries over the noise from nearby Puget Sound and the street adjacent to  the aquarium, ” explained  Robert Anderson, the venue’s facility manager. “With these new One Systems loudspeakers, our animal-care staff on the animal side of the glass can be heard clearly by our guests. We also have better reliability, better articulation and better flexibility compared to our old system. We couldn’t be happier.” Seattle Aquarium is an aquatic educational center built in 1977 on Pier 59 at the edge of Puget Sound’s Elliott Bay. Open daily, the aquarium serves 750, 000 visitors a year, including 40, 000 schoolchildren.

Working with system designer Stephen Weeks, Lynwood, WA-based Morgan Sound specified a replacement sound system for the Aquarium using 10 Model 112IM-70 cabinets. “We suspended seven of the speakers on PT-70 Pan and Tilt brackets at various locations around the venue, ” explains company founder Charlie Morgan. “Two of the 112IM cabinets fire down into the seal pool, another upwards towards an upper observation area, two more cover a walkway between the exhibit areas, while the final pair cover the biologist’s section.” The latter configuration enables aquarium guests to send questions via tour guides that are then answered in real-time by animal-care staff working directly with the Aquarium’s marine mammals. The new system also replays background music.

“The remaining three Model 112IM cabinets are mounted on U-brackets above the exterior Harbor Seal Pool, ” Morgan continues. “Since this area faces directly into Puget Sound, the speakers need to handle heavy rain and sea spray. We spent a long time looking at the materials that One Systems uses in the construction of its cabinets, including stainless steel, composites and driver protection, and they perform extremely well.” Morgan Sound has extensive experience with marine installations, in addition to outfitting cruise ships. “We know intimately what is needed from sound systems to work reliably in these hostile environments. One Systems’ all-weather designs are rugged and withstand the elements – plus they sound great!” All One Systems bracket components are constructed of high-quality stainless steel.

The Model 112IM comprises a single 12-inch I/O (Inside Only) LF driver and a large-format HF driver coupled to a fully rotatable ET (Equivalent Throat) high-frequency horn. The unit is designed for use in both indoor  and outdoor applications where high vocal intelligibility and accuracy are required. The unit’s woofer utilizes a unique wind on the inside of the voice-coil support structure. Such a design allows for both high magnetic system displacement as well as increased thermal transfer, and results in reduced power compression and higher reliability. The patent-pending ET driver allows the unit’s HF radiation pattern to be controlled by the phase plug summation plane rather than the conventional exit diameter. A large-format titanium diaphragm and a close-spaced circumferential ring phase plug insure extended high-frequency bandwidth. The enclosure also is available with a 150W three-tap line-matching transformer, that can be supplied with a 100V or 70.7V primary.

A total of six sound-coverage zones are provided at the Seattle Aquarium, using a Rane RM88 Programmable Controller and an SR3 Smart Volume Control. The loudspeakers are powered via a 70-volt network from a rack of four daisy-chained Crown CDi 2000 two-channel amplifiers rated at 800W/channel. Morgan Sound’s Steve Gregory installed and rigged the new sound system, in addition to programming the Rane systems.

“The new systems solved a lot of the Seattle Aquarium’s sound problems, ” Morgan concedes. “Previously, the PA was inconsistent and visitors had difficulty hearing the aquarium staff and animal-care biologists. Now, these new One Systems loudspeakers provide clear, even sound coverage of speech and music throughout the venue.”

“The Seattle Aquarium provides fun and exciting ways to see, touch and explore the underwater world of the Northwest and beyond, ” Traci Belting, Curator of Mammals & Birds, considers. “Previously, it was hard for our visitors to hear what the biologists working with the exhibits were telling us about the marine mammals under their care. We like our presentations to be fully interactive with a dialog between our interpreters and inquisitive visitors – particularly the children – since that helps them to connect more intimately with the sea animals. The new system works very well.”

“The 112IM is optimized for outdoor applications where permanent installation is required as well as a direct weather exposure, ” offers One Systems president Doug MacCallum. “The system is also well suited for outdoor general public address or vocal-intensive applications. The enclosure is a copolymer optimized for high UV exposure and long life in harsh environments. All internal and external rigging and suspension hardware, as well as the metal grill, are fabricated from stainless steel or high-strength aluminum. A three-layer rain-shield grill will minimize direct rain contact with the systems transducers; a unique vent design allows for easy moisture drainage from the interior.” The enclosure and grill design are rated to IEC 529 IP45 – solid object penetration to 1 mm (0.04 inches) and water jets from any direction.

About One Systems Inc 
Headquartered in Nashville, TN, One Systems, Inc. is a high-quality manufacturer of direct-weather loudspeaker systems. Established in 2006, One Systems, Inc. is the developer of Equivalent Throat Technology (patent pending), which creates wider sound dispersion and beam width than conventional driver designs, and the Inside/Only Voice coil (patent pending) which, for the first time, provides consistent thermal conductivity regardless of voice coil height.



More from this author

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update