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Renkus-Heinz delivers steerable sound at historic Colombia university

The Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia has upgraded the sound system in the Auditorio Mutis based on Renkus-Heinz ICONYX Gen5 loudspeakers. The university was founded in 1653 and is known as ‘the Cradle of the Republic’ with at least 28 presidents having studied there.

“The Auditorio Mutis houses videoconferences, musical performances, lectures, and more,” said John Romero of Bogotá AV firm Schallertech, which designed and built the new sound system. “It was very important that speech be intelligible from the first seat to the last, and the system also had to be able to reproduce the best sound quality for music.”

The previous sound system used eight small speakers to cover the entire area. “It was impossible to understand speech and to have a correct stereo image for musical presentations,” stated Romero. “We worked with Morphosis, the architecture firm, for a couple of months to ensure the correct acoustical design. We designed the automation, wireless system, video system, lighting, and of course the audio system.”

The auditorium is long and narrow, and keeping sound focused on the audience and off the walls, ceiling, and floor was a major challenge. To accomplish it, the Schallertech team chose a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC16-RN digitally steerable line arrays. Part of Renkus-Heinz’ ICONYX Gen5 series, the IC16-RN features 16 4in coaxial transducers, each with three high-frequency tweeters. Beam control is effective down to 400Hz, and one IC16-RN can deliver multiple beams and multiple acoustic beam centres, which was key to keeping the sound tightly focused on the audience in the Auditorio Mutis.

The new system is managed over a Dante network. Calibration proved to be very straightforward. “The simplicity of Renkus-Heinz’ RHAON II System Designer software helped us with the calibration,” confirmed Romero. “The BeamWare III steering calculation and simulation program made it much easier to figure out the beam design and acoustic centres we needed.”

Renkus-Heinz PN212-SUB subwoofers handle the sub lows. Featuring two powerful 12in subwoofers with long-throw magnetic structures and dual-channel air cooling, they deliver high-impact performance up to 134dB SPL (peak). The PN212-SUB features Renkus-Heinz’ PowerNet PN-1 Class A/B amplifier with loudspeaker-specific crossovers, parametric EQ, and protection. The processing senses when output levels are about to damage the system and limits them to safe levels.

Completing the Auditorio Mutis system, a pair of powered Renkus-Heinz CF121M two-way Complex Conic loudspeaker systems serve as stage wedges. The CF121M offers a 12in heavy-duty woofer that can easily handle 500W of programme power, along with a smooth, low-distortion 2in titanium high-frequency driver. It provides a 90° by 60° dispersion pattern with constant beam width and directivity, without the problems of conventional rectangular horns. The speakers are driven by a Renkus-Heinz PF1-200-series Class D intelligent amplifier.

“The sound the Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers provide is amazing,” commented Universidad del Rosario engineer Jorge Bravo. “We expected a high-quality system but the staging, the clear sound, and the aesthetics were even better than we expected. This is the sound system we’ve always wanted.”