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Case study – Classical Austrian ballroom tamed by QFlex

Tannoy’s QFlex steerable array provides solution to decades-old acoustic problem in Austrian ballroom. The 350-year-old building now boasts a 21st century sound system.

Tannoy’s QFlex steerable array provides solution to decades-old acoustic problem in Austrian ballroom. The 350-year-old building now boasts a 21st century sound system.

Tannoy’s QFlex steerable array system has recently been specified to impressive effect in Austria, solving a long-standing intelligibility problem in a historic ballroom. Located in the town of Wiener Neustadt, 30 miles south of Vienna, the opulent classical ballroom is housed in a 350-year-old building that began life in the 17th century as a church and then later became home to the Mayor’s Office following a long stint as a factory for most of the 19th century. The building was then acquired for use by a local bank with a grand opening in 1898 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Josef I, and has remained in the hands of the financial institutions ever since with numerous renovations and a number of sound systems for the ballroom space having come and gone over the years. 

To mark the 150th anniversary of the bank, the owners (Sparkasse Wiener Neustadt) sought to address the problematic acoustics once more as part of a new phase of renovation and that’s where leading Austrian A/V distributor Mocom became involved with the project, with a demonstration of Tannoy’s QFlex. Initially the client was sceptical about the viability of covering the whole space with just four loudspeakers, but after the demonstration they were convinced that this was the way to go and instructed the installation to proceed.

A pair of QFlex 32s was installed towards the front of the space, one on each side of the small stage area, while a pair of QFlex 24s was installed in similar fashion at the other end of the space providing fully controllable audio coverage of that part of the room. Thanks to QFlex’s ability to steer focused and controlled beams of acoustic energy very specifically onto target areas, even at high frequencies, high levels of intelligibility are achievable even in highly reverberant spaces such as this ballroom.

This performance was put to the test in earnest with the opening event after the renovation being the bank’s 150th anniversary party, which was a huge success thanks to fact that the most important part – the speeches of the bank directors and local politicians – could be heard perfectly across the crowded room. This was much to the delight of all involved, not least the contractor Alfons that was ultimately responsible for the installation and benefited greatly from the uncomplicated nature of the install, with minimal cabling and loudspeaker mounting required.

In addition to the four QFlex arrays, a pair of Tannoy IW4 TDC in-wall loudspeakers was installed into the stage front providing near-field coverage to the fore of stage area, as well as a pair of TS 801 subwoofers for additional low end reinforcement on specific occasions only when required. Signal routing is handled by a single Biamp Nexia and Red-1 controller along with a selection of wired and wireless microphones with option to route audio in from an external mixer for larger events.

Rudolf Kamleitner, project lead for Mocom had this to say: “Having seen many sound systems come and go over the years in this beautiful room I knew it was quite a risk to stand up claiming to have a solution where all of the others had previously failed. However I was confident to go with Tannoy QFlex and so we arranged a demo. It was kind of a magic moment when seeing the bankers’ faces turning into big smiles after switching on the system. From a sales perspective it was really easy from that moment on.”