Germany’s oldest planetarium, the Zeiss Planetarium in Jena, eastern Germany, has had its sound system upgraded with QSC CX Series amplifiers and AD-S loudspeakers to complement the year-old visual presentation system.
Opened in 1926, the Zeiss Planetarium building features a 14.5m high and 23m in diametre projection dome that amasses to approximately a 800sqm projection surface.
After upgrades in 2006 and then again in 2011 – involving eight new digitally controlled video projectors – the planetarium’s owners decided to make the aural treats match the visual.
QSC and Germany-based technology developer Fraunhofer Institute were enlisted to create a high-quality 3D sound system for the dome space.
This resulted in installation of 16 QSC CX254 four-channel amplifiers at the venue. These power 60 two-way QSC AD-S82H loudspeakers, of which 46 were installed in the gallery, while the remaining 14 were fitted behind the perforated metal covering of the dome. In addition, a further four subwoofers were fitted around the space to drive the lower frequencies.
As the dome is not quite a perfect circle (slightly flatter at the sides) the seating faces a particular direction rather than being concentric. So near the front of the dome, the QSC AD-S82Hs are also closer together than at the rear, because human hearing is better at picking up sounds coming from the front than the rear.
Presentations in the down are digitalised, processed by PCs in real time, placed in a 3D soundstage and manipulated and then conventeed back to analogue before being passed to the loudspeakers. Up to 64 analogue signals at once are then passed to the QSC CX254 four-channel amplifiers to as many as AD-S82H loudspeakers
As Jürgen Hellwig, the planetarium’s director pointed out: “It can’t be a coincidence that the Zeiss in Jena recorded a record number of visitors for a single month after the newly installed systems were opened to the public.”