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Installation Magazine November 2017

Helen Goddard - "Once I had discovered acoustics it soon became a calling"
More than two decades on from the start of her career, AMS Acoustics principal and MD Helen Goddard remains a prominent and passionate advocate for the wider understanding of electro-acoustics. And as she tells David Davies, modern architectural practices and increased levels of hearing damage mean that the surrounding debate is set to become even more acute…
Helen Goddard is describing the way that "people just seem to fall into acoustics" rather than deliberately seek it out, underlining her point by noting that "we have a room full of musicians here, with the exception of one team member from a telecoms background, but even he studied the cello." But once people have 'fallen into' acoustics, there is often no stopping them: "It can very quickly become a passion – it certainly did for me."
(With) the looming possibility of an epidemic of hearing damage… it could be that in 20 years' time we have to completely rethink the speech spectrum.
Having determined that a full-time career as a classical pianist wasn't her destiny, Goddard began working as a junior technician at AMS Acoustics in 1995. Thereafter, her ascent through the ranks was rapid; she became the owner and MD in 2000 and oversaw the expansion of the company to its current 10-strong team of full-timers. She is also very active in industry bodies such as the Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers (ISCE), and has been involved in helping the organisation to achieve the right to assess and issue Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) approval for sound engineers – more of which anon. But the starting point for Installation's conversation with Goddard was her own unexpected initiation into the world of acoustics back in 1995…
To read the article in its entirety follow the link

Female Flair at ISCEx 2017

"Coinciding with International Women's Day, it was lovely to see a greater number of women attending ISCEx 2017, supporting the sound industry and ready to celebrate our presence", said Helen Goddard, ISCE Vice-President (pictured left).
The Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers (ISCE) reports increased attendance and much enthusiasm for its annual exhibition and seminar day, ISCEx 2017, a one-day event held at Coombe Abbey Hotel and Country Park.
Open to members and non-members, the ISCEx exhibition and seminar programme was preceded by the Institute’s annual general meeting and networking dinner events, held the previous day.
The ISCEx 2017 seminar programme was kicked off by Alberto Fueyo, Acoustic Engineer from AMS Acoustics highlighting the technical considerations required when designing PA/VA sound systems with digital amplifiers and in particular the expected maximum sound pressure levels (SPL) compared to those traditionally experienced with analogue amplifiers.
To read the full article follow the link https://www.lsionline.com/iscex-2017-a-great-success
Other ISCEx coverage can be found on:



Interview given by Helen at ISCEx 2015


The faces might all look familiar but there is a compelling difference.

Chris Nicolaides.

We are delighted to announce that Chris returns to the AMS fold as one of the company Principals.

When strengthening your team there is no better way of reinforcing the strong principles that underpins AMS Acoustics than the reinstatement of a well-seasoned professional.

Headhunted and tempted away into the wider world of commerce Chris came to realise that the AMS approach offered a level of fulfilment within electro acoustics unmatched by multidisciplinary companies.

At the same time he has gained the admiration and respect for such organisations. Chris was able to draw the distinction between their wider role and where AMS works within a wholly complementary capacity.

With Chris's renewed vision it is quite clear where AMS's formidable team offers an unrivalled added dimension to the electro acoustics market. Collectively the company now has a team that offers distinctive benefits along with proven in house support facilities.

Helen and Tony are equally pleased to recapture the services of a fellow professional whilst Ed perhaps takes a more benign view.

Meanwhile AMS is revving up towards its third decade and beyond!


Known as The Queen's Terminal the eagerly awaited Terminal 2 was appropriately opened by Her Majesty on 24th June 2014.

The arrival of T2 exemplifies the need to offer World Class facilities that can be enjoyed by the global traveller. AMS Acoustics was appointed as the Acoustic and the Electro Acoustic Consultants by the principle design team having previously served in a similar capacity on BA's London hub at Terminal 5.

At the heart of any PA/VA system is the implementation of a design within a public area that puts the passenger first while working in simpatico with the architectural expectations. At a time of heightened security it is particularly important to ensure passenger safety which is of paramount importance. AMS has gained extensive experience within the field of terminal design and during the construction phase the company once again has demonstrated the need to be adaptive to changes encountered during the building of this £2.5bn project.

Also we are mindful to maintain a balance between legislative requirements and the customer experience within the departure area which in essence is a holding bay. This is where practicalities meet with aesthetics and where the traveller is made to feel comfortably at ease within the duty free and the break out shopping areas. Above all of these commercial considerations there is the need to ensure that flight departure are updated, transmitted and intelligibly communicated.

The Queen's Terminal represents the latest Heathrow development phase designed to maintain its position as London's premier airport.

Vietnam Project Completed

By their very nature gymnasiums tend to be highly reverberant areas and the facility at UNIS in Hanoi is no exception.

When considering greater utilisation of the space and transforming it into a multifunction venue UNIS turned to AMS for an optimised design solution. In addition to its daily routine the faculty management considered that the site would be ideal as the centre for two major annual events. Namely - United Nations day and Graduation day.

Whilst the objective was clear the means to achieve a balance between the sports environment and an auditorium presented a number of challenges. Equally important was the need to harmonise the acoustical space such that each of the 500 attendees could listen attentively and comfortably enjoy notable gatherings.

Another significant factor is that the international stature of UNIS ensures the presence of multilingual audiences which places even greater emphasis upon the attainment of superlative speech intelligibility. An essential part of the process was the collection of raw data that enabled AMS to formulate the level of sound absorption required. This determined the platform upon which to build an integrated electro-acoustic system. AMS engineers opted for an imbedded intelligent signalling and routing system to support the front end line array speakers. The ultimate objective is to maximise the flexibility within the site and AMS elected to offset the underlying complexity with the inclusion of a responsive graphical user interface.

The initial design included two, wall mounted, touch sensitive screens strategically positioned to render easy operator control. In auditorium mode the venue shall ensure a comfortable environment with the reverberant effect minimised. The beneficial ambience carries over when the venue is returned to gymnasium mode with the resultant effect of enhanced communication as a teaching area.

AMS Acoustics - Exporter of the Year 2012

At the Enfield Enterprise Annual Awards a hush descended before AMS Acoustics was declared the winner of the prestigiuos award for exports.

A black tie dinner was held at the Royal Chase Hotel Enfield on Thursday 22nd November and the picture shows a delighted Helen Goddard, the company CEO, receiving the award.

In a year when London hosted the Olympic Games, AMS Acoustics' designs were interlaced throughout the rail transport network.  The company was also responsible for activities at designated Olympic sites including Heathrow Terminals and St. Pancras International Station.

Closer to the Games itself AMS Acoustics was also engaged for the ExCel Arena which in effect was the only permanent sports venue.  The Stratford visitor experience culminated in the PA/VA design for the entire Westfield Shopping Mall.

The export award is in recognition for its Middle East activities.  Particularly expansion of Jeddah airport and the new King Abdulaziz Terminal and most significantly the extension of the holy site in Mecca.

As well as activities within the region AMS Acoustics is keenly pursuing other overseas markets further afield within Asia and South America.

London 2012 Olympic Games

Capturing the 2012 London Olympics was just the start...

You have to cast your mind way back to 1948 when the capital last played host to the Olympic Games and the challenges for 2012 are dramatically different.

One comparative is the number of participating athletes, which alone rises from 4,104 to 10,500. Also the pace  and intervention of technology would have been unimaginable with global satellite communications beaming live transmissions of events, ensuring that the next Olympics will shatter all previous audience viewing figures.

The euphoric scenes in Singapore when London was declared the winning host city have since 2005 given way to the daunting practicalities of delivery. Perhaps understandably the public focus has centred upon the building of the sports facilities, media centre and athletes village within the main Stratford Olympic Park.

But beyond some of this architectural magnificence lies the logistics of moving an unprecedented influx of spectators who will be visiting from the four corners of the world. The infrastructure necessary to provide the required support was more deeply rooted when, back in 2004, plans were made to divert Eurostar via Stratford and onward to the centre of London with the creation of the new International Station at St. Pancras.

At a time of heightened security, the safety for all visitors is of paramount importance and AMS has made a significant contribution with its discrete presence throughout the transport network and beyond.  The importance of installing intelligent Public Address and Voice Alarm systems throughout the network becomes all the more acute when one considers that for many visitors, English is not their first language.

It is at the point of arrival for inbound visitors that their journey really begins. Amidst the unfamiliarity and hub bub of the terminal hall, clarity of information must be transmitted visually and audibly. And it is here that the importance of speech intelligibility needs to be most effective with an appreciation that this can only happen by design.

The acoustic output is wholly reliant upon robust system design and one which physically and seamlessly integrates with surveillance teams and the emergency services. It is essential that they can activate the Voice Alarm mode, thereby overriding any regular announcements. Only then can a fully compliant and validated system be delivered that is ready to meet each and every eventuality

For AMS the journey began 25 years ago since which time we have worked consistently with London Underground, BAA and Network Rail in their various manifestations. Beyond transportation the newly extended ExCel Centre becomes an Olympic sports venue and Westfield Stratford emerges as Europe’s largest shopping mall to provide a retail haven for those with sufficient stamina.

Westfield Stratford Arrives

Europe’s largest urban shopping mall delivered on budget and on time.

Unprecedented scenes were witnessed on 13th September 2011 at the inauguration of Westfield Stratford when consumers descended upon the site in their droves.

It threw into stark relief the importance of transmitting clear concise and above all intelligible messages throughout all corners of the complex.

Westfield White City set the benchmark since which time the AMS designed PA/VA system has maintained a discrete omnipresence and performed faultlessly.

The scale and scope of Westfield Stratford raised the bar significantly. Once again AMS Acoustics was called upon to deliver a robust intelligent system and has been equal to the task.

In the run up to the Olympics Westfield Stratford is the latest accomplishment in a long line of projects undertaken by AMS Acoustics particularly the complex Stratford Station intersection.

46-47 Berth Cruise Terminal, Southampton

 AMS Acoustics have been appointed as the electro-acoustic design consultancy for a new cruise terminal on the South coast of England. We were chosen because of our expertise in non-classical acoustic spaces. The terminal is voluminous and has a length to width ratio approaching tunnel characteristics. We are using all of our expertise and experience to generate a mathematical, acoustic model of this space.

Extract from article in: Lloyds List: 

Glasgow Central & Edinburgh Waverley Stations

Building on our reputation of excellence for VA design at major Network Rail Stations, AMS Acoustics have been awarded the design contract for two of Scotland’s premier city stations. 

Glasgow Central station originally opened in 1879 and was extended further between 1901-1906. In 2005 the station won National Rail Awards Major Station of the Year and National Rail Awards Station of the Year 1999 as well as The National Railway Heritage Awards 25th Anniversary Principal Station in 2004. Over 34 million people visit the station each year.

Edinburgh Waverley station was first opened in 1846 and was rebuilt between 1892-1902. It lies between the old town and modern Edinburgh, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens. The station serves over 14 million people each year.

Both stations have sensitive architecture that must be protected when considering the introduction of any modern equipment.

Burnley FC

AMS Acoustics were appointed by Burnley FC to design a compliant Voice Alarm system for 3 of the 4 stands which was installed for the 2008/2009 season. The Clarets have strengthened their Premiership aspirations this season with deserved victories over five teams from the top flight during fine cup runs and strong showing in the league campaign. 

Having successfully completed the first phase, AMS Acoustics have been retained to enhance the VA system to broadcast performance quality music for pre-match and half time entertainment.

Royal Courts of Justice (RCoJ)

AMS Acoustics are proud to have been chosen to design a Voice Alarm system for the RCoJ. The building itself is steeped in history and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1882 and became the permanent home of the Supreme Court. 

AMS Acoustics have designed a new Voice Alarm system. Of particular note is the Grade 1 listed Great Hall. We are currently project managing the sensitive installation of the new system in a condensed 6 week programme.


AMS Acoustics are pleased to announce our involvement in the refurbishment of the iconic Harrods Store, Knightsbridge, London. 

Harrods require both a compliant Voice Alarm System throughout and Public Address system that will be able to broadcast quality background music in key areas. AMS Acoustics is assisting with the choice and placement of loudspeakers to meet this target using our technical knowledge and the latest CAD technology.


AMS Acoustics have been chosen to assist Trinity Fire Protection Services to deliver a compliant VA system for the extension of the ExCel Exhibition Centre in East London. 

The expansion of the venue is ambitious as it will increase the exhibition capacity of ExCel by a third, and will serve as a major venue for the 2012 Olympic Games.

As well as ensuring that the new areas are compliant with the Voice Alarm requirements, AMS Acoustics will also be designing the interface with the large existing system. The Voice Alarm system is key to the safety to all visitors and staff.