Nestled in the Highlands neighbourhood of White Plains, New York sits Bet Am Shalom Synagogue – a vibrant, egalitarian congregation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, bound together by a shared belief in a thoughtful and progressive approach to Judaism.

In 2016, systems integrator Shadowbox Design Management installed a Prism 12×12 at Bet Am Shalom as the heart of a public address/reinforcement system with four main zones — the main synagogue, chapel, multifunction room, and library.

Years went by with exceptional audio that provided the soundtrack for hundreds of gatherings. In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic caused historic changes to common gathering spaces necessitating strict social distancing rules. This unexpected event imposed new rules and restrictions on how the synagogue could utilise their floor space and ultimately resulted in a mandatory halt in services and activities for their congregants.

Leaders of Bet Am Shalom reached out to Shadowbox Design Management to find a way to upgrade the audio system throughout the facility so the synagogue could continue their services while following the new CDC guidelines. They needed to expand the system’s ability to combine the spaces and route audio from anywhere on demand — allowing the synagogue to continue serving their congregation and community.

Although new standards of social distancing forced adjustments to the usage patterns of the facility, the thoughtful system design by Shadowbox in 2016 powered with a Symetrix Prism 12×12 DSP was well-equipped to adapt to the synagogue’s evolving connectivity and system control needs.

With the Symetrix Prism 12×12 DSP, the necessary functionality for additional audio routing within and between common spaces was already built into the system. Relatively minor tweaks to the system’s existing SymVue page simply needed to be harnessed, labeled, and written to a Windows touchscreen. SymVue by Symetrix is a system control GUI authoring tool available as part of the Symetrix Composer software package.

Leveraging the SymVue GUI authoring tool, buttons were added to the system control screen so that a user could easily recall presets for room combining, simplifying the task of adding or subtracting primary and overflow spaces for any type of service or function.

Taking it a step further, Shadowbox then automated certain routing options by deploying the Symetrix Remote Event Scheduler functionality in the Symetrix Composer software package. With the Event Scheduler, users can schedule changes in system settings, such as audio switching of one or more local microphones to Internet streaming services. This allows facility managers to concentrate on more immediate aspects of the production and not worry about recalling presets to start and stop web stream audio broadcasts. Once scheduled, these events happen on time and in the background.

The adjustments to the system allowed volunteers and staff to concentrate on their preparations for events, services, and activities without needing to configure the audio system. Scheduling events happen with to-the-minute accuracy and rooms simply take on the desired functionality at the appropriate time.

“They are still discovering how much capacity and functionality has been built into the system.  The improved sound and capabilities of the system is very appreciated by Bet Am Shalom,” said Joseph Ondrek, Vice President of Shadowbox Design Management.

The Symetrix Prism, still running reliably over the past four years, easily integrated the minor adjustments needed to accommodate the major changes in the practices and routines of this very successful synagogue, and Shadowbox has been there with them all along.

“The high quality of the audio, at a great price point, is one of the reasons why we use Symetrix and the customer support has always been fantastic,” said Joseph. “We are always looking for custom solutions for our clients’ needs, and the Symetrix staff have always been there to help out when we can’t figure out a solution on our own.”