As on-campus student attendance declined due to the pandemic, University Hospital of Zürich administrators took advantage of empty classrooms and lecture halls to upgrade the performance of their sound systems. With a request from university administrators to significantly improve audio quality, coverage and voice intelligibility, Renkus-Heinz distributor promedias AG advised steerable loudspeaker solutions from Renkus-Heinz to deliver optimum audio to students and educators alike.
The promedias AG team wall mounted a pair of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Compact beam steering arrays behind the podiums in each of the lecture halls. The installed ICC12/3 array systems feature an individually controlled, 12-channel digital amplifier that powers the array’s 12 full-range, 3-inch drivers. The compact footprint of the ICC12/3 allowed promedias AG to integrate quality sound into lecture halls with a small, attractive and easy-to-install system.
Known in Switzerland as Universitäts Spital Zürich or USZ, the institution’s academic staff of 4,500 provides instruction for over 24,000 students annually, making USZ one of the largest and most respected teaching hospitals in Europe. USZ administrators discovered that less-than-intelligible audio in a classroom can be distracting, induce fatigue, reduce attention spans and negatively impact student comprehension. To solve the intelligibility problem, they set out on a mission to deploy advanced sound solutions for all their learning environments.
Chris Steiger, CEO at promedias AG, explained that the school’s lecture halls are relatively shallow, wide and tightly packed, featuring steep tiered, theatre-style rows with seating for over 150 students. The irregular shape of the spaces – coupled with reflective ceiling and wall surfaces – creates a difficult-to-manage audio environment.
“The instructors had difficulty addressing students because the sound levels in the halls were very inconsistent,” said Steiger. “They needed audio systems to precisely control high-quality sound to cover the space evenly, therefore increasing intelligibility. Our team knew Renkus-Heinz beam steering arrays would provide the control and coverage needed, all without being a visual distraction within the space.”
Michał Popławski, European technical sales manager, Renkus-Heinz added: “When we started to define the Iconyx Compact arrays, we had this exact type of application in mind; the spaces where the quality of spoken word is critical and audio needs to be tightly controlled, but the product footprint needs to be minimal. The ICC Series provides integrators great flexibility in terms of price, performance and footprint, and we’re excited that Chris and the promedias AG team selected Renkus-Heinz solutions for the USZ instruction spaces.”
USZ’s standard classrooms also needed sound system upgrades. While these square, flat rooms with seating for 80 didn’t require the same beam-steering technology as the lecture halls, comparable coverage and intelligibility was still critical. promedias AG specified a set of Renkus-Heinz, C Series CX62 and CX82 externally-powered loudspeakers and a CA112S self-powered subwoofer for each of the smaller classroom configurations. Thanks to the application-driven engineering of the C Series, USZ now provides students with exceptionally high speech intelligibility that will undoubtedly produce better academic outcomes.
“Our spaces required excellent intelligibility and promedias AG was able to deliver that with Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers,” said Martin Püntener, AV-Technician, USZ. “From the first rows to the last, the coverage is smooth, the sound is pleasing and understandable. We look forward to upgrading the rest of our spaces, getting back to full attendance, and sharing these excellent new systems with all our instructors and students.”