Of the dozen new world-class venues that were erected for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, five were outfitted with Renkus-Heinz audio systems by integrator Avallon of Moscow.
The most prominent of these projects was the Arena Isberg, home to the figure skating and short track competitions. It was also the most challenging. Avallon president Sergey Vashchenko explained: "Since music is such an important part of the performance, figure skating competitions have some of the most stringent sound requirements. Even after working with the building's designers to reduce the reverb time from 7.5 to 3.2s, we still knew we need to create a system with great performance and tight pattern control, to keep the reflections under control."
The audience seating is covered by eight each Renkus-Heinz CEM61 and CEM62 high power CoEntrant mid-high modules, with eight CE-3TLO subs covering low-frequency reinforcement. The systems are hung around a central Media-LCD display. Ten CT7M TRAP boxes provide music to the skaters on the ice.
"During the EASE acoustic modeling phase, we looked at a number of options, including more traditional line arrays," said Vashchenko. "But we were not happy with the difference in sound quality between the audience and the ice. Moreover, there was some concern that a line array might block the sightlines for some of the upper-level seating. The optimal solution was to mount all the speakers on the video screen frameworks, and the Renkus-Heinz CEM and CT series speakers offered coverage patterns that suited this arrangement very well."
Power and signal processing for the systems is covered by Dynacord DSA-series multichannel amplifiers and P64 matrix processors. Amps and DSP are located within the signage frameworks, to reduce cable runs and assure low impedance. The audio signal is fed via fibre from the Stagetec Auratux 16-T2Z digital console. "We assembled the entire system within the framework while it was on the ground, which made things a bit easier," said Vashchenko.
Acoustical measurements were carried out by consultant Yury Indlin of ADI in Irkutsk. Vashchenko designed the system, with installation and commissioning by Avallon's Vladislav Azarov.
"During the competition, sound levels are limited to 85-87dB," says Vashchenko. "But during testing we were able to achieve levels of 103dB, with even coverage across the entire facility."
At the Arena Fischt, home of the Olympics Opening and Closing ceremonies, Avallon installed six Iconyx IC7-II mechanically steered array systems in the VIP lobby, as well as a pair of PNX-82 two-way Complex Conic loudspeakers in the Press Centre. And the Training Centres for Hockey and Figure Skating are both outfitted with multiple TRX151 two-way systems.
"It was a great pleasure to work with the Renkus-Heinz system," remarked Vladislav Azarov. "I've heard many good things about their patented wave guides, but this was my first experience using their products on a large-scale project, and it was awesome. I've had so many great comments about the sound quality, from the athletes, from the spectators, and even from the heads of the Olympic Committee."