The Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) is the supreme instance for non-constitutional public law matters in Germany. The court is located on the outskirts of Leipzig city centre in the former Imperial Court of Justice building. Alongside the Federal Labour Court, the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Fiscal Court and the Federal Social Court, the BVerwG is one of the five federal supreme courts of the Federal Republic of Germany. At the end of 2013, two courtrooms of the BVerwG were equipped with a digital ADN (Audio Distribution Network) conference system from audio specialist Sennheiser.
Studio-Elektroakustik GmbH was given the job of installing the system, as the Federal Administrative Court is a long-standing customer of the Leipzig-based company. The project manager was Andre Scholze.
The existing conference system, which had been in use for many years in the court building, was no longer able to meet today's high demands with regard to audio quality. "The court contacted us and expressed an interest in a new conference system," said Andre Scholze. "As a result, we set up a demonstration with the ADN systems. Even after the initial listening tests, the Sennheiser discussion system was able to prove itself beyond doubt. As far as audio quality and speech intelligibility are concerned, the old components and the new solution were worlds apart!"
Sennheiser ADN conference systems were installed in two courtrooms, where they now ensure excellent speech intelligibility. Courtroom IV and the magnificently ornate Grand Historic Courtroom are each equipped with ten digital discussion units (1 x ADN C1 and 9 x ADN D1) permanently installed in the judges' desks. In addition, there are 15 more discussion units that can be flexibly used when required and which are expertly connected by the court's own technical staff. The gooseneck microphones are fitted with a super-cardioid capsule developed by Sennheiser to effectively suppress ambient noise interference.
The discussion units are connected by Cat 5 cables, with plugs that go into concealed connection sockets. As the cables of the built-in units are laid inside the desks, the optionally available strain relief system (ADN TR1) was not required. A cabled solution was provided in accordance with the explicit wishes of the customer – a wireless system, which is susceptible to tapping, was ruled out for security reasons. "Wireless communication of any kind, including wireless LAN, is not permitted in the courtrooms," said Andre Scholze.
As the Sennheiser ADN discussion units were to be built into the desks, Studio-Elektroakustik GmbH commissioned its own team of fitters to carry out the work. "Providing custom-made solutions is a key part of our service," said Andre Scholze. "For aesthetic reasons alone, the Federal Administrative Court would not have been happy with discussion units placed on top of the desks."
The discussion units communicate in a network with the digital ADN CU1 central unit, which is connected to an ADN PS power supply unit. The external power supply increases the system's reliability against failure, as the two double conference ports provide the opportunity for redundant ring cabling (redundancy rings). The BVerwG uses two central units and two power supplies together with a total of 35 discussion units.
Audio signals are not electronically recorded in Leipzig due to unresolved legal issues. For the time being, two court reporters still record the spoken word in a written form in the conventional manner. However, the Sennheiser ADN "Conference Manager" software offers the possibility of convenient digital minute-taking at any time. A free app called Sennheiser Easy Control is available for the ADN system. The app makes it possible to control and monitor up to 15 discussion units directly via an iPhone or iPad.
The new Sennheiser ADN conference system in Leipzig was officially put into operation on 5 December 2013, and, in spite of the acoustically challenging environment, has since being guaranteeing optimum speech intelligibility whenever judgements and decisions are delivered "Im Namen des Volkes" – "In the Name of the People".
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Vorm geven aan de sound van morgen en voor zijn klanten unieke klankervaringen tot stand brengen… Dat is het doel waarrond wereldwijd alle medewerkers en partners van Sennheiser zich verenigen. De onderneming is opgericht in 1945 en uitgegroeid tot een van ’s werelds toonaangevende producenten van koptelefoons, microfoons en draadloze zendersystemen. Met zijn 21 verkoopfilialen en partnerrelaties van vele jaren is de groep actief in ruim 50 landen. Daarnaast telt hij nog eens eigen productiefaciliteiten in Duitsland, Ierland, Roemenië en de VS. Sinds 2013 staat met Daniel Sennheiser en Dr. Andreas Sennheiser de derde generatie van de familie aan het hoofd van de onderneming. In 2017 genereerde de Sennheiser-groep een omzet van in totaal € 667,7 miljoen.