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Five star sound for luxury German hotel

The new Kameha Grand hotel in Bonn defines new standards in luxury hotel architecture and boasts a sound system to match

Nestling discreetly into its site by the Rhine, the recently opened Grand Kameha Bonn is a stunning example of the classic Grand Hotel concept re-interpreted for the modern era, with cutting-edge architectural design by Bonn-based architect Karl Heinz Schommer and acclaimed designer Marcel Wanders.

Within its softly curved glass envelope, the Grand Kameha has a total of 254 rooms, including 63 suites, and a multi-functional 2,500 capacity event space, making it well placed to attract both private travellers as well as the high end corporate/business market. As a direct result of both the building’s modern design, with the acoustic challenges that this often presents, and the hotel’s objective of meeting the most demanding business and conference needs, the audiovisual facilities required special attention – with the resulting system setting new standards for this type of project.

The huge 1,800 sq. metre multi-function hall is covered by a glass roof canopy up to 21 metres high at the highest point of its arc

At the centre of the new building is the huge 1,800 sq. metre multi-function hall – covered by a glass roof canopy up to 21 metres high at the highest point of its arc. Large halls such as this, with their vast expanses of highly reflective surfaces, including the tiled floor and extensively glazed envelope, suffer from the disadvantage of very high reverberation times. Often this can often render a space impractical to use for large events due to horrendous intelligibility, and give people the impression of being in a train station or airport.

Consequently, the audio solution required to deal with such a challenging acoustic problem, would naturally be quite complex and as such the client brought a consultant onboard to address this at an early stage in the development.

The main hall
ThomNet Media Engineering was appointed to consult on the design and specification of the audio system covering all public spaces within the Kameha, including the huge hall (called the Kameha Dome) which posed the most difficult problems. After a competitive comparison test between three manufacturer’s products, Tannoy’s QFlex digitally-steerable loudspeaker system was found to deliver the best performance in the huge event space, with the minimum impact on the building’s aesthetics. A pair of QFlex48 columns were all that was required to provide even and controlled coverage of the full hall, mounted on the steel frame of the building envelope – high above the main entrance, aimed back across the hall floor. This is where QFlex’s ability to steer multiple beams of acoustic energy across several planes, and at quite extreme angles if necessary, really proved to be invaluable. It allows audio to be focused on a specific area of the hall, without worrying too much about indirect sound reaching other areas (such as when the hall is divided into multiple uses) and ensuring very high intelligibility in the desired listening areas.

A pair of Tannoy QFlex48 columns were used to provide even and controlled coverage of the full hall, mounted on the steel frame of the building envelope – high above the main entrance, aimed back across the hall floor

Restaurant and bar areas
Away from the main hall, in the restaurant, brasserie and bar areas, the brief for the audio system was just as demanding. The designers specified a need for a system that provided zonable coverage, with uniform background music coverage throughout the various zones and a system capable of delivering first class clarity and intelligibility while also being suitable for higher volume applications such as a New Year’s party or large corporate entertainment event. All of these requirements were met with in-ceiling systems. In total, over 100 Tannoy CMS 801DC Dual Concentric driver equipped loudspeakers were installed.

The entire in-ceiling audio system was powered by a rack of Lab.gruppen’s C Series installation-dedicated amplifiers. Chosen for their flexibility and reliability in fixed installation applications like this, a mix of the Swedish manufacturer’s 4-channel C10:4X and 8-channel C10:8X were specified at Grand Kameha. These have the ability to make individual adjustments to maximum voltage peak output and gain per channel, as well as bridge-mode operation selectable per channel pair and networking with remote monitoring and control facilities.

Completing the 450,000 euro audiovisual installation, Biamp Audioflex provided digital signal processing control, while Panasonic and Crestron video products were specified throughout the conferencing and meeting rooms, making Grand Kameha a stunning example of true audiovisual integration within the hotel market. Bonn-based CEE Media handled the installation of both audio and video throughout the new hotel.