Renkus-Heinz Beam Steering Arrays Bring Clarity to the University of Cologne Auditorium

Cologne, Germany | March, 2010 - German system designers hartmann+mathias partnerschaft and acoustic consultants Peutz have unveiled a new audio system for the auditorium of Cologne University. Four Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC 24 digitally steerable array loudspeakers, supplied by German distributor atlantic audio, deliver precisely focused speech and music, with installation by Light Tec Medientechnik.

Karl-Heinz Brenig, head of event and media technology at Cologne University, specified the University's requirements for the auditorium, which serves six faculties and 42,039 students, 10 per cent of whom are from other countries. The university of among Europe's oldest, with the so-called "old university" having been founded in 1388, while the companion "new university", founded in 1929, continues to grow.

The auditorium in the landmark main building is the central location for lectures, speeches, live concerts and music performances, and also for events such as scientific symposia and international congresses.

This multi-purpose use motivated the university to specify both high speech intelligibility and excellent musicality in a replacement for the previous sound system, which placed a large number of small loudspeakers close to the audience. Additional speakers increased the room's resonance and decreased speech intelligibility. The University's event management team decided to replace it with a single system that would meet both internal use and external business demands.

Klaus-Hendrik Lorenz-Kierakiewitz, project manager at Peutz Consult GmbH, comments: "We were instructed by Cologne University to develop a new speaker concept adjusted to the special room acoustics and worked out a system which uses as few sources as possible. The room working as concert hall and lecture room has two-second reverberation time with few occupants, and with the wooden seating there is a considerable difference in sound compared to when the room is full.

"This ideal replacement was to use loudspeakers that provide beams of tightly controlled vertical dispersion, in a configuration that would both deliver sound to the whole auditorium but also power both sub-spaces created by partitioning the space. Finally, the loudspeakers had to be integrated almost invisibly into the architecture, because of the strict preservation orders surrounding the building."

Following a tender Stefan Mathias of hartmann+mathias partnerschaft proposed a Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steerable loudspeaker system, featuring a pair of 3 metre-tall IC24 units, supported by two Renkus-Heinz PN 212 subwoofers and controlled by a Peavey X Frame 88 digital signal processor. "We evaluated the combination," says Matthias, "in cooperation with atlantic audio before presentation, and confirmed a perfect combination of speech intelligibility and musicality, in an architecturally discrete package."

Karl-Heinz Brenig added: "Our tutors are really enthusiastic and confirm that speech intelligibility has been transformed in all areas of the auditorium, and finally voices sound natural. Tutors and students work more self-assuredly and our guests can follow speeches much more easily, especially important at international events - and musical events now sound great, too."