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Exclusive: Steering audio to a controlled environment

Renkus-Heinz product manager, Brandon Heinz, discusses the benefits of beam-steering technology and the launch of the company’s new OmniBeam software

Tell us about beam-steering
Beam-steering has always been known for delivering outstanding acoustic results, but it could be seen as a niche solution in the past since steerable arrays could take some time and expertise to configure correctly. Our new OmniBeam beam-steering software empowers all of our current Gen5 and newer beam-steering loudspeakers with better coverage than ever and essentially makes them as easy to deploy as point and shoot. We’re really excited about how OmniBeam opens up opportunities to bring the incredible results of beam-steered audio to even more listeners in all kinds of spaces and applications.

What is the purpose of beam-steering technology?
Beam-steering technology is all about controlling where your sound goes. The benefits of beam-steerable loudspeakers come from a few different areas, the primary being custom-tailored coverage for every venue. This custom-tailored coverage not only results in unmatched consistency across the entire audience plane but also in greatly reduced reflections and reverberation, which increases the intelligibility and clarity of the sound. 

The second main benefit comes from the discrete form factor of beam-steered loudspeakers. The slender columns are often mounted plumb on walls, which allows them to seamlessly integrate with any building architecture. The unmatched clarity and coverage paired with clear sightlines make for an unbeatable listening experience in any venue.

Who benefits from beam-steering technology?
Anyone who purchases or installs a beam-steered loudspeaker benefits from the technology, but in reality the people who benefit the most are the people in the seats. Whether installed in a house-of-worship, a transportation corridor, or a performing arts venue, beam-steering technology delivers precise coverage, impeccable sound quality and speech intelligibility that can only come from a beam-steered loudspeaker system.

What is OmniBeam?
OmniBeam is the culmination of nearly 20 years of research and development of beam-steered loudspeakers. OmniBeam is the combination of an intuitive, easy-to-use workflow and a radical new algorithm for generating coverage under the hood. The end result is one of the fastest and most consistent workflows for designing or installing loudspeaker systems available today, regardless of system type. Essentially, with OmniBeam, generating your loudspeaker system’s coverage is as easy as a “snap”, and adjustments are simple and intuitive to make. Using OmniBeam should deliver better results than ever before, with less time and effort involved than ever before, with even greater consistency between products and projects than ever before.

What types of applications and verticals can benefit?
Any application that would benefit from beam-steering before OmniBeam will benefit, like HoW, transportation corridors and performing arts centres. The workflow is faster and the results are better. But the quick workflow and consistent results of OmniBeam will also help to save time and money on many installs, which should help make beam-steered loudspeakers more attractive in rooms that would traditionally be considered “too easy” for beam steering. In the past, it has sometimes been pigeonholed as an esoteric solution for only complex acoustic environments, due to the time involved in configuring the coverage. Now that ideal coverage can be generated in seconds, the great results of beam-steering tech can be brought into even more venues and everyday environments.