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Renkus-Heinz column arrays meet all requirements at Swiss theatre

The system had to support a variety of performances, provide high-end sound quality and be visually unobtrusive

An audio system using Renkus-Heinz IC Live Gen5-series digitally steerable line arrays has played a major role in the renovation of the Stadttheater Langenthal in the Swiss city of Langenthal.

The theatre has been an important cultural centre for the city of Langenthal and for the Oberaargau region since it opened over 100 years ago. In 2012, the city embarked on a major renovation and expansion of the theatre, including relocation of the main entrance; the installation of an additional room, Theater 49, which seats 200 people; an enlarged stage and improved acoustics in the main hall; and a new sound system. 

Key requirements for the new loudspeakers in the main hall included the ability to support a variety of performances, provide very high-end sound quality that complements the hall’s acoustics, and be visually unobtrusive.

To achieve these goals in the main hall, AV consultant Theaterplanung Hans Jörg Huber of Horgen, Switzerland, designed and installed a front-of-house system using Renkus-Heinz IC Live Gen5-series digitally steerable line arrays. “The quality of events in the main stage have been substantially increased by the construction project, including the audio,” asserted managing director Jörg Steiger. “The acoustics improvements were especially optimised for amplified voices and instruments, enabling staging of a wide variety of performances. We chose the Renkus-Heinz IC Live system in part because it is very well suited for modern musical and speech reinforcement. We installed four ICL-F-RD arrays in the main hall, two on each side of the stage, above and below the air vents. These arrays deliver exceptional clarity and full-range sound, while delivering more than enough power for any musical performance the theatre will host.”

Obviously aesthetics also were a major consideration in a beautiful and newly renovated historic building. “The Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RD arrays are painted a custom colour that matches the wall,” Steiger observed. “They are remarkably low-profile columns, and we mounted them alongside decorative trim near the left and right corners, so while visible, they are unobtrusive.”

The Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RD array has five 6.5in cone transducers and three 1in high-frequency drivers and can generate up to 105dB SPL. Each array can produce up to four steerable beams and can steer them up and down ±30°, with beam control effective down to 880Hz. Their frequency response is rated at 80Hz to 20kHz, and the ICL-F-RD is Dante-enabled, so it integrates well in the larger, building-wide sound system.

“Renkus-Heinz’ digitally steerable beams enabled us to aim the sound at the audience with great precision, avoiding reflections off of the walls,” commented Steiger. “By placing two ICL-F-RD arrays on each side, one above the other, we were able to steer sound to the floor seating with the lower pair and cover the balcony with the upper pair, while minimising reflections off the face of the balcony. Combined with the hall’s improved acoustics, they provide beautiful, clean sound.”

With the completion of the renovations, the Stadttheater Langenthal now boasts a combination of historical importance, architectural beauty, excellent acoustics, and the finest in modern audio technology. “Since the reopening of the theatre for the 2017-18 season, visitors are clearly enjoying the improved venue,” Steiger observed. “Musicians and artists are also benefitting from the excellent conditions for their performances. We thank the city of Langenthal and everyone involved for the opportunity to be part of this project. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”