Philadelphia, PA | September, 2016 - Dedicated to healthcare education since its founding as Jefferson Medical College in 1824, Thomas Jefferson University now comprises six healthcare-oriented colleges, including the renowned Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Naturally, the university's buildings have evolved to suit changing needs, and Alumni Hall is no exception. Last year, a space in Alumni Hall that had housed a small medical museum was converted into a multi-use room to accommodate events, including dinners with entertainment.
To meet the audio needs of this acoustically challenging space, the university contacted systems integrators Advanced AV of nearby West Chester, Pennsylvania. For the team at Advanced AV, a Renkus-Heinz steered-beam system was the obvious answer.
"The space is like a large echo chamber, with brick walls except for the back wall, which is glass," begins Advanced AV account executive Rich Diperstein. "It's a 50-by-50-foot box, and in addition to very hard surfaces, it has 20-foot ceilings. Based on past experience with Renkus-Heinz systems, we knew that ICONYX steered arrays would allow the pinpoint accuracy and multiple beams needed to keep the sound on the audience and off those walls."
To achieve that accuracy, the Advanced AV team chose two Renkus-Heinz ICONYX-series IC8-R-II digitally steerable line arrays. Featuring eight four-inch coaxial transducers, each with three high-frequency tweeters, the IC8-R-II provides up to four steerable, individually shaped beams. Advanced AV's team directed the two IC8-R-II systems toward the glass rear wall, carefully aiming the beams to deliver the sound to the audience while avoiding the hard surfaces.
Since many events in the room involve presentations, speech intelligibility was a primary concern. "The most important aspect was spoken word," Diperstein confirms, "but events also could include entertainment, audio from DVDs and computers, and so on. The clarity and response of ICONYX loudspeakers means the system can handle any event the university is likely to host in that space."
The system is managed with a BSS Soundweb London BLU-100 DSP. Audio is auto-mixed by the DSP unit, so a separate audio mixer is not needed.
At the last minute, the installers were forced into a change of plans. "Renkus-Heinz perfectly color-matched the speakers to the wall, and the IC8-R-II is slim and low profile, so the speakers are unobtrusive," Diperstein explains. "The client was very happy with that. But unexpected architectural considerations prevented us from placing the speakers where we originally wanted them. Instead of mounting them back against the wall, we had to use brackets to mount them to the side of the walls."
Beam steering enabled the team to account for the acoustical considerations of relocating the speakers. Sound wasn't the issue. But the brackets made the carefully camouflaged speakers noticeable. "Fortunately, we found a way to fabricate a cover for the brackets," Diperstein relates, "and that resolved the issue."
The new Renkus-Heinz system has been a big success at Thomas Jefferson University. "They love the space now; the sound is amazing," confirms Diperstein. "We were confident that ICONYX would be the right choice, and the IC8-R-IIs easily met our highest expectations!"