Designing and installing a sound reinforcement system for an airport terminal can be one of the most challenging assignments an audio company can take on. Typically large, high ceiling structures with lots of glass and reflective fixtures, these buildings are designed primarily for efficient distribution of passengers as opposed to sound waves. Particularly at peak travel times, the high levels of ambient noise can easily mask vital announcements such as departure times and gate information.
With this in mind, airport officials in Valencia, Spain approached Madrid-based Ruybesa, an engineering and projects company specialising in turnkey solutions for installed sound environments, regarding designing and installing a new sound reinforcement system in Terminal 1 of the Valencia airport.
The Valencia airport is one of Spain's busiest, with over 500,000 travellers passing through the terminal in 2013. Terminal 1 is the airport's main terminal, handling the bulk of passenger traffic in and out of Valencia. The terminal spans three floors, with 60 desks and four aerobridges to access its 14 boarding gates.
"The project involved covering the sound of a large space that normally has a high background noise during peak times," explained Diego Velázquez, sales and marketing manager for LDA Audio Tech, PA/VA manufacturer and Renkus-Heinz partner in Spain. "To address the noise problems, the Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC7 loudspeakers were chosen."
The IC7 mechanically-steerable line array systems employ the same triple-tweeter technology and fully natural sound reproduction as their digitally-steered brethren. The IC7's fixed acoustical beam is ideal for side fill, front fill, and short throw applications – such as airport terminals – that don't demand programmable control. Internal passive electronics control the frequency and phase response of each driver, working together to create a uniform 30-degree beam.
"There are three IC7 Iconyx systems installed in Terminal 1 at about 10m high and with a separation between them of 25m," said Velázquez. "The IC7s are aimed face down to the lobby, pointing directly to the area with the highest influx of people."
The results have pleased Valencia airport officials. "The Iconyx systems provide even sound pressure levels and the high intelligibility that is vital for delivering important information to the public," said Velázquez. "Flight announcements are clear, and passengers have the assurance that they can understand the message despite the background noise."