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Slovak National Theatre Upgrades to IC Live

Bratislava, Slovikia – November 2013… Completed in 1886, the Slovak National Theatre was designed by Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. Since 1920, the ornate, 1,000-seat building has been the seat of the Slovak National Theatre opera and ballet ensembles. The hall has also hosted performances by some of the world’s top opera and ballet talents.

Its acoustics, however, have come under more scrutiny. The room’s very short reverberation time, while acceptable for opera, doesn’t suit orchestral performances. Its narrow stage faces a long auditorium where the rear seats are 75 ft (22 m) away. Uneven sound coverage confronted its numerous balconies.

A subtle sound reinforcement system, effectively invisible to the audience, was needed, and the theater approached MediaTech, Bratislava’s largest pro audio company.

EASE analysis led to them recommending the IC Live digitally steerable system by Renkus-Heinz. Its clear, uncolored musical sound, the ability to steer multiple sound beams into specific areas of the audience offered precisely the solution that was needed. And its slim, low profile design — complete with a custom paint finish – complemented the theatre’s décor perfectly.

The system includes extra reverb for orchestral shows via a TC Electronics M6000, with a Yamaha PM5D console linked directly to the IC Live system via CobraNet. “The audience had to be unaware of sound reinforcement,” says MediaTech’s project manager Miroslav Paciga. “IC Live allowed us to achieve that subtle effect while being visually unnoticeable.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

The Church at Liberty Square Gets a Custom Fit with VARIA

Cartersville, GA – October 2013… In 1936, a small group of 15 faithful joined together to found the first Cartersville Church of God. The congregation grew slowly but steadily, and in 1980 the church moved to a new sanctuary with educational facilities. Since then the church has experienced phenomenal growth, and in January 2003 they moved into their new campus at Liberty Square, rechristening the church to reflect the new facility.

The 1700-seat sanctuary is an impressive, fan shaped auditorium with high ceilings and an open, inviting seating arrangement. But despite its exquisite aesthetics, the room’s acoustics have been an ongoing challenge, and the original audio system had long struggled with inconsistent coverage and poor intelligibility.

“There was a tremendous change in tonality from the main floor to the balcony area,” explains Kent Morris, Principal of Canton, Georgia-based Cornerstone Media Group. “The main floor was very bright — almost excessively so in some areas — while the balcony seats were getting almost no high frequency content. The mix position is located in the balcony area, which made it very difficult for the tech team to mix.” Morris adds that the old system also created a visual impediment for some of the balcony seats.

The new sound system centers on left and right arrays of the new VARIA modular point source line array system from Renkus-Heinz. Each array is comprised of eight VARIA VA101-series boxes, with coverage patterns ranging from 7 to 22 degrees. “We looked at a number of different options, and they were won over by the VARIA system,” says Morris. “Their technical director Nathan Roach and audio head Ben Tomlinson are very astute, and the fact that VARIA enables you to taper the coverage pattern was a key factor for us. It really provided the most consistent tonality, with no harsh spots and no dead zones.”

Lead Programmer Jeremy Alison was able to map out consistent coverage to the room’s most challenging areas. “With the VARIA, we were able to get articulation to the back rows of the balcony, and great coverage under the balcony as well, without having to add near fields or under balcony speakers,” says Morris. VA15S and PN212 subwoofers add low frequency power and punch, and three CF61 compact two-way boxes provide front fill.

“Being able to select among several boxes with different coverage patterns, and particularly being able to choose transitional boxes in between the fixed ones, makes a tremendous difference in designing a system,” Morris observes. “It’s almost as if every box is custom, but you don’t have to wait six weeks or pay top dollar.”

The entire system is networked via Dante over Ethernet, with several manufacturers’ technologies playing nicely together. “We installed a Yamaha CL5 console at FOH, connected via Dante to two Rio stage boxes,” says Morris. “That enabled us to add a monitor console down on the floor and tie it all together with RHAON so they can monitor from FOH. We also added some devices to their existing Media Matrix NION system. Once we worked through the usual clocking issues, the system functioned flawlessly. You expect a lot of hair pulling, but it was so easy. It all worked out beautifully.”

“The VARIA system has really been an ideal solution for the church,” Morris concludes. “It’s a great looking system, and the cost factor and configurability made it a great fit. I just love working with Renkus-Heinz.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Iconyx Tames a Legendary Landmark

Beijing, China – October 2013… An icon of the modern People’s Republic of China, Beijing’s Great Hall of the People is truly a towering architectural achievement. The 1.9million square foot (171,800 sq m) hall, overlooking the city’s Tiananmen Square, was originally constructed in just 10 months, officially opening in September 1959 to mark the 10th anniversary of the PRC. Designed by Zhang Bo, it has since become famous worldwide as the home of the National People’s Congress.

Most recently, the Great Hall was once again on the global stage as the historical 12th National People’s Congress convened in March. But as the world watched Xi Jinping become the new president of the People’s Republic, a small group of audio technicians and specialists were busy ensuring that a very discreet, very special audio system was helping delegates to hear every moment with perfect clarity.

Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steerable column arrays now form the backbone of the sound reinforcement systems within the iconic building. Commissioned by the Management Office of The Great Hall of People and designed by China’s Radio, Film & TV Design and Research Institute (RFT), the new system takes in six large conference rooms and, most impressively, the Great Hall’s famous and striking conference auditorium.

The high-profile, high-pressure project offered a unique set of challenges for contractor Beijing Zhongdahuatang Technology Co Ltd., particularly the Great Hall’s massive conference auditorium. The circular chamber can accommodate an audience of thousands, measuring approximately 130 ft (40 m) in diameter, with a 33 foot (10 m) ceiling. Not surprisingly, the room’s acoustics are less than ideal. As a Beijing Zhongdahuatang Technology Co Ltd. spokesperson explains, “the auditorium has a very difficult acoustical environment, with reverberation problems and reflections.”

With its elaborate and ornate decor recognizable by billions, the room’s aesthetics were also a foregone conclusion. The room would require a system that could deliver clear speech intelligibility and flawless coverage while remaining virtually invisible to onlookers.

A single pair of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC32-R-II column arrays provides the ideal solution. Installed to the far left and right side of the Chairman’s position, each column is made up of arrays of coaxial transducers, each with its own triple tweeter array. The Iconyx beam steering technology makes it possible to achieve even coverage in even the most problematic spaces by focusing sound where it needs to be, and away from reflective surfaces.

“The Iconyx IC32-R-II columns now provide consistent SPL wherever an audience member might be, whether they are in the front of the hall, the middle or at the back of the auditorium,” reports Beijing Zhongdahuatang Technology Co Ltd. “Even though the auditorium has such a difficult environment, the Iconyx beam steering technology covers the whole auditorium with evenly distributed sound while avoiding the walls, the ceiling and delegate microphones.”

Nor have the IC32-R-II columns infringed upon the all-important décor. According the technical team, “the thin cabinet design makes the columns easy to conceal within an installation – you hardly notice that there is a column speaker there.”

Iconyx technology has been deployed elsewhere throughout the complex, including the six smaller conference rooms, each measuring 1000 s.f (300 sq-m) seating 90 people. Each room has been equipped with two IC8-R-II columns, concealed within the marble walls to once again ensure the most discreet solution possible. Despite the highly reflective atmosphere within each of the spaces, the Iconyx columns are successfully delivering clear speech in every area.

The completed system is a triumph for the team at Beijing Zhongdahuatang Technology Co Ltd., and for Iconyx technology, solving one of the toughest acoustic environments in one of the highest profile buildings in the world. And while that success will be obvious to all who hear the system in action, the loudspeakers themselves will remain out of sight.

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Iconyx Makes it Clear for Knollwood Baptist Church

Winston, Salem, NC – October 2013… In February of 1957, a group of about 80 faithful founded Knollwood Baptist Church, meeting at a local funeral hall until their first chapel was completed in July. More than half a century later, Knollwood’s congregation numbers in the thousands, and their 1000-seat sanctuary offers multiple services each week.

The sanctuary’s modernistic design is truly impressive, with its soaring peaked ceilings, abundant glass, and polished surfaces. But that same design has long been problematic for the church’s technical staff, who have struggled to achieve intelligibility and even coverage in the hall. As Dan Wood, President of High Point, NC-based Church Interiors Audio Video (CIAv) explains, the sanctuary’s recent renovation was an ideal opportunity to finally tackle the audio issues.

“It’s a beautiful space, but very challenging acoustically, and the original sound system just couldn’t provide adequate coverage,” says Wood. “Church Interiors was undertaking a major renovation, and it was a perfect time to rethink their audio system.”

The room’s airy, open architecture presented some significant challenges — particularly the chancel area’s wide design. “The chancel platform extends far into the room, and there was no possibility to hang an array or cluster without impacting line of sight,” says Wood. “Our only viable option was to locate the speakers behind all the open microphones — there was simply no other place to put them.

Consistent coverage was another major concern. Areas on the room’s extremities and up in the balcony suffered from poor intelligibility. Since the balcony is also home to the house mix position, this was particularly important to address.

With no option to substantially alter the room’s architectural and acoustical character, the solution clearly had to be found within the audio system design. With this in mind, CIAv selected Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steered column array loudspeakers, placing a single IC24-R-II on either side of the chancel platform.

“The Iconyx allowed us to create multiple sound beams and steer them to the seats on the floor and balcony levels, while steering them away from the walls and windows and other reflective surfaces,” says Wood. “It also enabled us to provide focused coverage to the mix position up in the balcony.”

Wood reports response to the new system has been overwhelmingly positive. “With just two Iconyx columns, we’ve got consistent coverage and intelligibility everywhere in the room.”

 

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz,Inc.is the world wide leader in the design and manufacture of audi operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

ICONYX Delivers For New State-Of-The-Art International Terminal at LAX

Los Angeles, CA – October 2013… When the Port of Los Angeles began construction on the new, expanded Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX three years ago, there was an unspoken understanding that the new structure would have to be an architectural tour-de-force, and a befitting ‘first impression’ for this iconic international city.

Indeed, anticipation turned to pride when the stunning new terminal was unveiled at a special commissioning ceremony on February 18th. Among the attendees were past and present Los Angeles mayors, along with airport officials, and the joint design team from Fentress Architects and HTNB Corporation.

Expansive and airy in design, the new terminal greets international travelers with a bright, open floor plan, high ceilings, and enough glass to pull in the welcome glow of southern California’s most ample natural resource.

With its towering walls and abundant reflective surfaces, the Fentress and HTNB teams knew early on that the new space would present some unique acoustical challenges. They turned to Whittier California-based VSA Associates, an acoustical consulting firm with more than 20 years’ experience and a client list that includes Hilton Hotels, Caltrans, and Arizona State University.

What VSA’s design team created was a sophisticated system based around ICONYX digitally steerable arrays from Renkus-Heinz. As Michael Kalmanson, Vice President at VSA Associates, explains, “the ICONYX systems allows us to direct sound exactly where we needed it to be, while avoiding difficult reflective surfaces or wasting energy outside of the listening areas.”

The new International Terminal features 14 ultra-modern gates with facilities to accommodate today’s larger, trans-oceanic aircraft like the Airbus A360 and Boeing 747-B. A combination of IC16 and IC8 arrays are deployed throughout the terminal, all fully concealed within the structural detailing. “We selected IC16s or IC8s, depending on ceiling height and how far we needed to throw the sound,” says Kalmanson.

But the undeniable crown jewel of the new terminal is the 150,000-square foot, $1.9 billion Antonio R. Villaraigosa Pavilion, home to premier dining, shopping and relaxation services, along with an equally impressive AV information hub.

“At 80 feet high with tons of glass, the pavilion was one of the more challenging spaces,” admits Kalmanson. “We opted for the ICONYX IC16 arrays there, and then dialed in the multiple steering lobes to target individual listening areas while ensuring that sound didn’t splash into the aisles or up onto the walls.”

Kalmanson continued, “The ability to define multiple steering lobes from a single array is one of the most compelling aspects of the ICONYX system—especially for a job like this. You can literally steer a portion of the array down 30 degrees, the next part down 15 degrees, and the final portion straight out. It’s extremely sophisticated equipment that offers an amazing amount of control.”

Pulling everything together for the expansive new terminal is a multi-zone paging system from Innovative Electrical Design [IED], which synchronizes the massive flight information displays and PA systems throughout the pavilion and terminals. The IED system combines the audio into zones for easy operation and adjustment during heavy traffic times.

“In most places, the ICONYX arrays are assigned to their own paging zone, but in some instances we combined multiple arrays into a group zone,” says Kalmanson. “Each zone is tuned perfectly for the space. We even have ambient noise compensation, which automatically raises or lowers the output depending on crowd noise.”

Hawthorn, CA-based Direct AV handled installation duties. Working closely with the architects, Direct AV ensured a highly finished installation, with minimal visual impact. As a result, all ICONYX arrays are flush mounted into existing structural elements throughout the terminal, with only their grills visible to visitors.

While Kalmanson comfortably credits the power of the ICONYX system as an essential ingredient in the successful design, he also notes the support provided by Renkus-Heinz directly.

“I simply don’t know of a better product for jobs like this than ICONYX,” he concludes. “But I’m also pleased that Renkus-Heinz was so involved, from modeling the spaces in EASE, to ensuring that we had exactly what we needed to meet our schedule from start to finish. I couldn’t be happier.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Renkus-Heinz ICONYX Brings Clarity to Beirut Parliament

Beirut, Lebanon – October 2013… The tall, domed central hall of the Lebanese Parliament building in Beirut has long been known as an acoustically challenging environment. But after many years and numerous attempts, a recent renovation has brought the building’s rogue reverberation under control, bringing clarity and high intelligibility to the iconic space with Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steered array loudspeakers.

The building, designed in 1931 by Beaux-Arts architect Mardiros Altounian, is believed to be on the site of the Roman Forum of Berytus, where the Roman School of Law stood before being leveled by the great earthquake of 551 AD. During Lebanon’s civil war, the structure suffered considerable damage, and its renovation is a symbol of the vision involved in the reconstruction of Beirut city center.

The parliament building’s architecture, in particular the dome, has long presented challenges with reflectivity and poor speech intelligibility — certainly a major drawback for any debating chamber.

Today, the building is a blend of heritage architecture with a modern interior complete with contemporary high-tech amenities, including a pair of Iconyx steerable arrays specified and installed by system integrators Mac Audio sarl. Mac Audio specified Iconyx, using its beam steering capabilities to focus audio beams on individual seating areas and away from the roof and walls. The project proved an interesting and enjoyable audio challenge, said Nader Arzouni, General Manager of Mac Audio. “We deal with all the Lebanese Republic’s government departments,” he said proudly, “including the Prime Minister’s office and parliament buildings.”

The ground floor’s main area, with seating for 165 including 128 deputies, is covered by two Iconyx IC8 columns, with a pair of IC7 mechanically steerable units for the  president’s podium. Two IC16s serve the balcony level, where up to 100 guests can be accommodated.

Two Shure feedback eliminators, one for the balcony and another for the main hall, a Crest Audio rackmount mixer and a single XTA DP448 controller to add even more flexibility to the main floor’s IC8s, complete the system. A final touch was the provision of Renkus-Heinz SGX41 compact cabinets for the Prime Minister’s residential palace.

As the technical skills of the system operators can vary widely, Mac Audio preset the system so that very little adjustment is needed, making life as simple for them as possible.

“It’s all very good,” said Nader Arzouni, “a very flexible, modern system that has completely eliminated all the old intelligibility issues and delivered crystal clear sound that parliament is delighted with.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

VARIA Delivers for Bethany Wesleyan Church

Cherryville, PA – September 2013… From their 80-acre campus in this close-knit eastern Pennsylvania town, Bethany Wesleyan Church combines an inspirational, contemporary worship style with a broad mix of community programs including sports, education and family oriented activities. With a dedicated and rapidly expanding congregation, Bethany Wesleyan recently took the wraps off their new 1600 seat sanctuary and multipurpose room, equipped with a custom designed sound system based around the versatile Renkus-Heinz VARIA modular point source line array.

“The church wanted a space that would be versatile enough to accommodate everything from worship services to concerts and even sporting events,” explains Allen “Doc” Nagle of Orwigsburg, PA-based Events Staging. “It’s essentially a gymnasium with a stage at one end and removable seating.”

As any systems designer can attest, multi-purpose rooms often present some of the most challenging audio environments, and Bethany Wesleyan was no exception. The room’s high, open ceilings and concrete and sheetrock walls could have been a potential nightmare. But as Nagle explains, “thanks to good communication with the architect during the planning phase, we were able to take steps to reduce standing waves and reflectivity.”

For the sound system, versatility was key. The system needed to keep the sound tightly focused on the room’s key listening areas, which could change via a variety of room configurations. It also had to accommodate a wide range of program material, from spoken word to different types of musical content.

“The VARIA system was perfect because it provides the best options for placing sound exactly where you need it in the room, as opposed to spilling it all over the place,” says Nagle. “The VARIA’s transitional waveguide allows you to vary the horizontal coverage from the top of the array to the bottom, which was perfect for shaping the coverage pattern off the reflective surfaces.”

The system comprises left and right hangs, each with five VARIA VAX101 series cabinets. Horizontal dispersion varies from 60 degrees at the top of the array, increasing incrementally to 120 degrees at the bottom. A center fill of two VARIA 90 degree cabinets adds a bit of psychoacoustical enhancement. Eight PNX212-SUB subwoofers are bunkered, four per side, into the face of the stage. An Avid VENUE Profile at the front of house position handles the mix, while four CFX121M wedges provide onstage monitoring.

“The VARIA made all the difference in this installation,” adds Nagle. “It allowed us to easily pinpoint exactly where the sound should be in the room while avoid any unwanted interactions. It sounds amazing.”

An ancillary chapel and cafe incorporate the Renkus-Heinz IC7-II steerable array, with a pair of PNX212 series subwoofers providing a solid bottom end. Ashly Audio NE2424m matrix processors handle speaker management for the entire facility while providing a selection of easily recalled presets for the church’s all volunteer crew.

Visual impact is equally impressive, with three 16,000-lumen projectors firing at three, 20-foot screens positioned left-to-right across the back of the stage.

Finally, multiple HD PTZ and manned cameras and a Pro Tools system capture weekly services for distribution on DVD, with plans already in place to expand into Internet streaming and live broadcast.

With the system up and running, Nagle is pleased that his team was able to strike such an effective balance between usability and performance, while placing the church on a solid foundation for future growth.

“This is a really dynamic and active congregation,” he concludes. “They’re looking to entice national worship tours, as well as setting the stage for broadcast and streaming. The combination of the VARIA and Avid systems ensures them a level of sound quality and technical capability they’ve never had before. I’m confident they’re set for many years to come.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Iconyx and a Tale of Three Stations

Poland [September 2013]...Thanks in large part to funding as one of the EU’s latest members, Poland is investing heavily in its public transport, and Renkus-Heinz digitally steerable systems are a key part of the audio solution in three of the country’s major train stations.

The EU’s expansion in 2004 brought Poland into the European Union, and the ensuing grants from Brussels have been wisely invested into major public projects to refresh the country’s infrastructure. The result is a new look for 21st century Poland. Western Europe-standard motorways now link Poland’s major cities, and the country’s rail system is quickly being brought up to modern high-speed standards.

Three main train stations, each a key part of the country’s updated rail infrastructure, are Warsaw East, Wroclaw and Katowice. Once aging architectural icons, all are now technological marvels, incorporating full international health and safety standards. Regional and international trains link to the Europe-wide high-speed network, and many ‘hub’ stations have now been redeveloped to include shopping malls. A major part of this is the installation of PA/VA systems which accompany video screens displaying train arrival and departure details.

System integrators M.Ostrowski sp.j. has been contracted to provide audio solutions for Warsaw East, Wroclaw, and Katowice stations. In each, while the architecture and loudspeaker locations details differ, the overall concept has been the same. Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digital beam steering arrays, networked over CobraNet via a redundant fiber optical network and controlled by RHAON, complement digital signage in the most acoustically difficult areas of huge booking halls, shopping malls and platform spaces.

Warsaw (East) is a hub station, with many lines interconnecting locally, regionally, and internationally. One of the city’s main rail interchanges, its huge, glass-walled airport style building never boasted user friendly acoustics, but M.Ostrowski’s solution changed all that. STRABAG company was the General Contractor and SYGNITY company was the subcontractor.

This was a common theme of the three contracts, in which measurable acoustical intelligibility was the most important aspect of the audio installations in large, hard surfaced halls. Passengers, finally, would be able to hear announcements in complete clarity, thanks to Iconyx technology’s exceptional STI delivery.

The fully networked design includes a very impressive text-to-voice simulation for regular train announcements, with each station also having manual override in case of train delays. The main hall, a glorious sunlit space where digital signage is flanked by four IC16-R arrays, delivers the essential visual and audio information.

The smaller area for local trains is covered by three Renkus-Heinz IC8 units, while 13 SG61-2Rs and three SG612S-2Rs cover the restaurant area. System distribution is handled by a Yamaha DME64 with CobraNet card, an HP ProCurve and a DME8oC Yamaha CobraNet to analogue output converter. Commissioning was the work of Jim Mobley from Renkus-Heinz and M. Ostrowski’s Michał Popławski.

The second station is Wrocław Główny (main train station), a 15,000 sq m project that restored this 150 year old monument in grand style. In this stunning building upper-level multiple train platforms reside under a classic curved roof. The refurbishment won the 2012 RICS [Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors] Regeneration Award. The new €78m passenger concourse and shopping mall on the lower level has a series of 10 Iconyx IC8-R loudspeakers, plus a pair of IC16-Rs that (almost invisibly) flank giant digital video displays in stereo pairs. In this typically reverberant space, the announcements’ calmness verges on the uncanny. Here, the general contractor was Budimex, the installations supplier, TKTelekom and the audio installations subcontractor M.Ostrowski in cooperation with Tommex Zebrowscy Sp. J.

Along with ceiling speakers suspended above the platforms the rest of the list is largely as at Warsaw – a DME64 processor with CobraNet and analogue input/output cards, while the Yamaha processor is fed from APS APROSYS input modules. Again an electronic text-to-speech simulator serves the audio information for passengers.

The third installation is the train station in Katowice in Silesia, Poland, which features 10 IC16/8-Rs, with Dynacord P64 distribution and a Yamaha DME8oC CobraNet-to-analogue converter. An HP ProCurve serves part of the system’s redundant Ethernet network distribution. The general contractor for this project was STRABAG, the installations supplier TKTelekom and the commissioning was done by M.Ostrowski.

Łukasz Toboła comments: “The Iconyx loudspeakers have enabled us to provide good speech intelligibility, even in a hall that is quite complicated acoustically. The train company and station managers are very satisfied with the quality of sound, and with the excellent speech intelligibility. And that combination, I think, is the main feature that puts us on a higher level than other popular loudspeakers.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

Mackie and CCI Bring Audio Salvation to Acoustically Challenged Life Church

Woodinville, WA — August 2013… CCI Solutions has a well-deserved reputation for creative solutions to challenging spaces. So it’s not surprising that the Olympia, WA-based AV design firm is behind the unique installation at Life Church in nearby Oak Harbor, featuring a 360-degree all-Mackie audio system.

With multiple weekly services hosting a growing membership approaching 900, Life Church recently completed an expansion project that includes a new multi-purpose youth facility. Housed in a futuristic looking geodesic dome, the youth center is designed as a circular worship space with integrated audiovisual system and seating for 150.

“This was an unusual space that presented some unique acoustical challenges,” explains Rick Boring, Sr. Systems Consultant for CCI Solutions. “The structure had been built several years ago but was never completed, and was uninhabitable. The room itself is circular, so every single interior wall is angled. Configuring it with traditional theater seating would have presented some coverage problems, and the need to go with a curved video screen, which would be expensive.”

CCI’s simple and effective solution was to design a space with 360-degree seating. A small, slightly elevated stage at the room’s hub is built around a single center truss that holds four Mackie HD series loudspeakers and four LCD displays.

“The youth pastor conducts the service from the center stage, while the rest of the band is on another small stage an alcove off to one side,” says Boring. “And depending on how the room is configured, the band alcove can sometimes wind up behind the seating area.”

“Placing the speakers in the center was the easiest and most cost-effective way to ensure good, consistent coverage,” Boring adds. “Plus, everyone is watching the worship leader on the center stage, and reading the text on the screens above him. Having the sound emanate from the middle of the room simply makes the most sense.”

The main loudspeaker cluster consists of four Mackie HD1531 powered 15-inch 3-way systems. The speakers are mounted vertically above the LCD displays and angled down toward the seating areas.

“The Mackie HD1531 offers great sound quality and versatility for the money,” Boring remarked. “With a challenging job like this, where space and budget are important, the HD1531 delivers a tremendous amount of clean output and bandwidth. So when the kids want to rock they can do it no problem. They’re fully powered, so we didn’t have to worry about outboard amps, and they’ve got more than enough low end for this space, so they don’t need a sub.”

For mixing duties Boring specified a Mackie DL1608 digital live mixer with iPad control. In addition to the band, inputs include a wireless microphone system for the youth pastor, as well as a Denon recording and playback system. The Mackie DL1608 provides outputs for mains as well as monitors, and handles 100% of the system DSP.

“The DL1608 is absolutely perfect for a job like this,” says Boring. “It’s really simple to use, has excellent processing power already onboard, and packs plenty of I/O for its size.”

The “keep it simple” mindset extends beyond all things audio to the video system as well. Beneath the four Mackie HD series loudspeakers are four 65-inch LCD displays. Signal is provided by a Mac Mini computer running ProPresenter software. Four separate Xbox 360 consoles are each coupled to the four screens for rowdy, eye-to-eye multi-player sessions.

While technology may be their passion, the team at CCI Solutions will ultimately cite customer satisfaction as their highest priority. For Life Church, Boring is especially pleased with the finished product.

“We care about these churches and we want to help them communicate their message,” concludes Boring. “I worked very closely with Life Church’s Sr. Pastor from the very beginning of this project. He’s very pleased with the final result and that’s exactly what we strive for.”

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Mackie, a LOUD Technologies Inc. brand, is known worldwide as a leading developer and marketer of high-quality, affordable professional audio systems. Mackie products can be found in professional and project recording studios, video and broadcast suites, post production facilities, sound reinforcement applications including churches and nightclubs, retail locations and on major musical tours. For more information visit: www.mackie.com.

Mackie is a registered trademark of LOUD Technologies Inc. in the United States, European Union and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Renkus-Heinz Helps Prairie Meadows Cut to the Chase

Renkus-Heinz Helps Prairie Meadows Cut to the Chase

Altoona, IA – September 2013… In 1989, Prairie Meadows Raceway opened its doors with the goal of giving central Iowa residents a horse racing facility of their own. Twenty-five years later, Prairie Meadows has grown to include a 168-room hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, live and simulcast horse racing, a massive casino with table games and more than 2,000 slot machines, restaurants, lounges, and a busy concert venue.

Among the horse racing community, Prairie Meadows has gained considerable recognition as an exceptionally well-designed and well-run facility, drawing racing fans from across the state and the region. Among the Raceway’s many amenities is a massive four story glass pavilion that offers comfortable indoor seating on multiple levels. It’s a treat for spectators but with all the makings of a sonic nightmare, explains Mike Pedersen, Senior Staff Engineer at Marshalltown, IA-based Mechdyne, the audio video integrators behind this state-of-the-art project.

“It’s a challenging venue,” says Pedersen. “It was built in phases over 20-plus years, and has a mix of seating styles, with stadium seating on one level, grandstand seating on another, as well as a multi-tiered dining area with tables. The original sound system has been expanded in a piecemeal fashion throughout the years, and had become untenable — coverage was inconsistent and intelligibility was next to nil. They were actually cranking up the volume on each individual TV monitor just so people could hear the race.”

“They originally came to us with concerns about the quality and coverage of the tiered seating areas overlooking the racetrack,” explains Mechdyne Designer Tim Taylor. “But they were also in the process of mapping out an expansion of the entire casino, which was going to require an audio system too. At that point it made far more sense to suggest that they implement a larger system with networked distribution and processing.”

“It made sense from a budgetary perspective, certainly,” adds Pedersen. “There was very little by way of documentation on the existing system, so just identifying where things were would have been very time consuming. We were able to design them a networked system that would give them DSP control, monitoring, and expandability, as well as providing them with full documentation going forward.”

The 70V distributed audio system is based around more than 40 TRX-121 two-way Complex Conic loudspeakers, with DSP and amplification handled by Biamp Tesira and Vocia networks. As Pedersen explains, one of the objectives behind the complex signal processing is to increase intelligibility and directionalize the sound source.

“When things get exciting, when the announcers get excited, we want the spectators to be turning their heads toward the direction of the audio,” he says. “The goal was to draw the ear, and the eye, toward the racing action. So even though the speakers are mounted where the glass and ceiling meet, we needed to create the sonic impression that the sound was coming from down on the track.”

In the casino area, several dozen TRX81 loudspeakers are flown from the ceiling to provide music and paging coverage. “It’s a very high, open, unfinished ceiling, which limited our choices of loudspeakers,” says Taylor. “The TRX81 has a very tight, controlled dispersion pattern, and by mounting them in a grid pointing straight down, we were able to achieve seamless coverage across the entire open seating area, with no overlap or dead zones.”

The system is designed for flexibility, providing everything from background music and paging to zoned functionality. “We’ve set up a number of snapshots, enabling them to zone off various meeting rooms and ballrooms,” says Taylor. “And of course, the Vocia amps are rated for emergency paging functions as well.”

The decision to go with Renkus-Heinz and the TRX series was an easy one, says Pedersen, based on past experience with the brand. “We have for many years seen Renkus-Heinz as one of the leading companies in quality and service, so when the time came and it was clear they were interested in a high-quality product, we didn’t hesitate to recommend it.”

For Mechdyne, the Prairie Meadows project was something of a departure; the company is known for its expertise in Virtual Reality and 3D visualization technology, as well as complex IT and networking projects. “It’s true that our company crew out of a certain niche in virtual reality and simulation type systems,” says Pedersen. “And typically we find that clients and designers of VR systems tend to consider audio a lower priority, which is unfortunate considering how much a part of the overall experience audio represents. For us, Prairie Meadows was an exciting project, because it enabled us to design an audio-only system where the sound pretty much disappears into the experience. That would have been far more difficult without the pattern control of the TRX loudspeakers.”

###

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

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