Northern Michigan University (NMU) has recently completed a new $33.5m instructional facility including a 500-seat multi-use auditorium, which has had a Renkus-Heinz IC2 digitally steered line array system added to provide flexible audio for the different uses.
The facility is also home to classrooms and lecture halls and the auditorium is divided and tiered and used as a lecture hall during the day and during the night a high-definition cinema and performance venue for small ensembles. This versatility meant the sound system selected had to be equally versatile with the university consulting with Neumann/Smith architects and system designer The Sextant Group.
NMU director of broadcast and audio visual services, Eric Smith explained: "We looked at a number of systems, and fortunately, we were able to attend the InfoComm show while we were considering our options. One of our team was experienced with large-venue sound mixing. He suggested Renkus-Heinz Iconyx steerable arrays. We visited their booth and got the demo, and it was an easy decision."
The system, comprised of two IC2-FR cabinets and a single IC215S-FR subwoofer per side and was installed by systems integrator Innovative Communications.
Smith added: "No matter where you sit in the house, you get excellent sound, not just good sound. And the speakers are architecturally hidden behind the walls, so listeners have no idea where the sound is coming from. People are just amazed at the sound quality, we get nothing but compliments.
"With the beam-steering capabilities of the IC2, you can EQ properly and mix accurately. We took advantage of that to build a mix position two-thirds of the way back in the house so whoever is mixing has a good acoustical observation point and can do a really nice mix." The system also includes a Yamaha digital mixer and a Dante network.
Smith concluded: "What we learned from this experience is that if you perform your due diligence and work with your consultant and manufacturer, you can use steerable beams to do things you never could do with a conventional speaker system. With the IC2, a multi-purpose sound system does not have to be a compromise."