CODA Audio APS for Muehle Hunziken

The Muehle Hunziken (Hunziken Mill) in Rubigen, south-east of Bern in Switzerland, is a popular concert venue that has been in existence since 1976. Since the former windmill’s conversion, it has hosted more than 4,000 concerts, featuring around 15,000 artists of all styles and genres. The Mill houses an elaborate collection of quirky works of art, much beloved of its patrons, and regularly attracts internationally renowned artists to play intimate shows in its 500 capacity auditorium. In spite of the prevailing Coronavirus restrictions, this summer, the management team at Hunziken Mill took the decision to upgrade the venue’s audio system. The existing system was at the end of its viable life, and was proving unreliable and increasingly expensive to maintain.
Chief Technician and resident FOH Engineer at Hunziken Mill, Tom Binggeli, arranged for several brands to stage demonstrations at the venue. The room presents a number of acoustic challenges, and he wished to be certain that investment in a new system would deliver the best possible audio and value for money. One of the brands Tom was keen to hear in action was CODA Audio – a trusted fellow engineer had suggested that he take close account of what CODA had to offer. Leading Swiss audio specialists, Schallwerk demonstrated a CODA Audio system based around its APS product. Having considered all the options, The Mill’s team opted to go with the CODA system.

Tom Binggeli explained: “The first time I heard a CODA system was in a small pub with a DJ setup. The system consisted of two cabinets and a sub, and I was surprised how much power it had – very nice lows and clear highs. The second time was at the Gurten Festival in Bern with a very nice line array setup. At the demo, I was surprised at how clear and present the system was. Previous problems in the venue in terms of the bottom end were no longer there – the very precise bass makes the life of a sound engineer much easier.”
Schallwerk’s Bruno Muff designed the finished system and explained a little about the brief: “The main aim was to achieve even dispersion of sound throughout the whole venue, as far as possible, in what was a very challenging room situation. The system needed to be able to provide state-of-the-art sound, and be able to handle dynamics with a lot of headroom. Also, in order to avoid being at odds with the Swiss dB Limit regulations, very accurate HF directivity and coherent energy in general was of the utmost importance.”
The unique shape of the room ruled out the use of a line array, so for Bruno, it was appropriate to choose a point source system for main hang, outfills and delays. The advantage of the APS system was that it enabled the choice of different dispersion angles (even asymmetrical) which made it very flexible in fitting the shape and layout of the room. The APS system had more than enough power handling to provide plenty of headroom. 
The main system at Hunziken Mill comprised 4 x CODA Audio APS and 4 x SCV-F subwoofers, with an additional 1 x APS per side as outfill. 4 x HOPS5 were used for delays, with 6 x CUE4 for onstage monitoring. Amplification comprised 1 x LINUS14D and 4 x LINUS-10C.
Bruno continued: “The room has a unique shape. On the ground floor, people are basically sitting/standing 270° around the stage, often under (a quite low) balcony. The same goes for the first balcony and then there is a second balcony, quite high up. Interestingly, the vertically arrayed Main APS system covers both ground floor AND first balcony, which really helps to keep the focus on the stage, acoustically speaking.
“On the ground floor, the ceiling height was quite low, so horizontally-flown single APS and smaller HOPS5 were used for covering under balcony areas without obstructing sight-lines to the stage. Subs had to be placed under the stage, because space was scarce, and the 4x SCV-F (single 18“ cabinets, sensor controlled) gave the possibility of a small electronic arc while delivering enough power to cover low end duties.”
Tom Binggeli added: “CODA has the perfect components for clean, solid reinforcement. With the HOPS as the delay system, and the APS and SCV-F as the main system, we have a transparent, pressure-filled system that is suitable for live music, club sound and comedy.”
The venue’s decision to replace its system during a period of enforced lockdown has proved a great success. Since September, Hunziken Mill has reopened for live events, much to the delight of its loyal patrons. Strict health protocols are observed, with shows seated, masks worn in the auditorium, and numbers restricted, but the sight of artists back on stage is a most welcome sight.
Tom continued: “All the sound engineers who have worked on the new system are enthusiastic about the precise bass and the clean resolution in the highs. We’ve had only positive comments from our guests – everyone mentions that there is good balanced sound everywhere in the venue. We are completely happy with our CODA Audio system!” 
Bruno Muff was confident throughout that the new system would be very well received. After the initial set up and tuning of the system, he attended the first sound checks to assist with any minor changes that needed to be applied:
“I wanted to hear the rig in action in a proper live concert situation. As it turned out, only some very minor adjustments were needed. The very charming Mühle Hunziken now not only looks terrific – as it always does – but sounds pristine!”