It’s a problem almost every museum faces – whether in a listed historic building or in the most modern of museum architecture – most exhibitions are not suited to the use of sound-absorbing fittings such as carpets or curtains. Therefore smooth surfaces and materials often mean bad acoustics.

This poses a problem for group tours and museum education. When the guide is talking, the hard surfaces cause an echo that has a negative effect upon speech intelligibility. This effect is then magnified by the noise level caused by the other visitors, meaning that even very small groups can only understand a fraction of the tour. It has been proven that it is much easier to learn if one can clearly hear what is being said.

The solution is the use of a tour guide system with which speech can be discreetly but clearly transmitted to the group. This is the reason why, for example, the Kunsthalle Vogelmann art museum in Heilbronn is now using the beyerdynamic Synexis Tour Guide System. The plain, appealing architecture of the modern museum cube required just that: “We observed the situation for a while and simply had to react”, says the museum’s Director Dr Marc Gundel, “the guide had to talk really loudly for the group to hear everything. That in turn disturbed the other visitors – particularly if we were taking several groups through the exhibition at the same time.”

The decision was made to use the Synexis system with beltpack transmitters and neckworn microphones; now the guide can show exhibits and carry documents without restrictions. The microphones have special characteristics that block out background noise and make for optimum speech transmission to the headphones. Guest can understand everything clearly, can concentrate more on what is being said and, thus, learn more easily. The system can be operated intuitively and is always ready for use in its practical transport and charging case.

Using the Synexis system has an additional advantage too: the situation is even more acute for the hard of hearing, as they have more difficulty filtering the pure speech signal out of the hubbub around them.

Wearers of hearing aids can now simply use the induction neckloop instead of the headphones, and thus get the signal sent directly to their hearing aid (T-position). This means organizers can offer their tours as barrier-free for the hard of hearing.

“It’s a useful addition as we often have older museum guests”, says Curator Dr Rita Täuber happily.

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