Technomad Upgrades Chicago River Sightseeing Boats

Shoreline Sightseeing of Chicago on the waters of the Chicago River

Technomad LLC, a leader in weatherproof loudspeakers and audio systems since 1995, announces that its Vernal weatherproof loudspeakers are providing audio for narrated tours by Shoreline Sightseeing of Chicago on the waters of the Chicago River.More than 80 Vernal loudspeakers are installed on 18 boats, broadcasting clear speech with supplemental background music on boats ranging from 15 to 50 feet in length.

Shoreline White Technomad Installation


Shoreline Sightseeing is the premier boat touring fleet in Chicago, operating tours on the Chicago River and the Great Lakes that give visitors a historical overview of nearby architecture and other attractions.According to Chad Rice, Director of Fleet Management for Shoreline Sightseeing, the live and pre-recorded audio narrations are significant to the tours, and the audio is intelligible from the shoreline as boats pass through the center of the Chicago River.

“We take up to 300 people out at a time, and audio is the most dominant aspect of the experience,” said Rice.“Our customers pay to hear exactly what is happening, whether they are receiving live narration on the Chicago River tours or pre-recorded audio on the Great Lakes tours.The Vernals also provide great musical quality based on our special weekly tours with fireworks, which is the only time we use the loudspeakers for background music.”


According to Scott Voorhis at Tri-Electronics, a systems integrator for professional sound, video, communications and security systems, the owner of Shoreline Sightseeing wanted to replace their existing loudspeakers with systems that could withstand the harsh elements of the Chicago climate.

“This is a year-round operation, and they needed equipment that could survive the humidity, moisture and extreme hot and cold weather that comprises the Chicago climate,” said Voorhis.“The owner had installed ‘weather-resistant’ loudspeakers from another vendor prior to our involvement, and they were forced to repair components on a regular basis.The Technomad Vernals were implemented for their reliability to survive these conditions, in addition to their compact size and outstanding audio performance.We have had zero problems with the Vernals in this capacity: zero failures, zero replacements and zero complaints.”

Voorhis and his team designed the layout of the loudspeakers specifically for each boat, adding two Vernals to the smaller taxis and up to 15 on each of the larger boats.Mounting locations were carefully considered to ensure clear speech intelligibility, even pattern coverage, and to maintain exceptional audio quality.

Rice added that the weatherproofing aspect was a significant factor in Shoreline Sightseeing’s decision to upgrade to Technomad.They have slowly converted most of their fleet to Technomad for audio, with only one boat to go.

 “We constantly had to replace the older loudspeakers, which simply couldn’t handle the rain or moisture even though they were touted as weather-resistant,” said Rice.“We operate tours from March through November, and can run the Vernals year-round.They can also withstand the direct UV rays, which say a lot about their durability.We don’t even remove them in the winter months.They sound great, and their durability is very impressive.”

Each boat has between one and 15 Vernals depending on its size, as well as a dedicated mixer, amplifier, microphone and processing equipment for live narration and PA announcements.The clear speech emanating from the loudspeakers is also ideal for life-safety related announcements in the case of emergency.


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