The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia touts an impressive resume – not just due to its seven robust academic colleges of study, but because it is also uniquely connected to the Australian Government by way of its position across the river from Capital Hill, where parliament is located.
The university often hosts a number of high-profile meetings in the Mills Room, an ornate conferencing space featuring Tasmanian blackwood woodworking and capable of hosting up to 54 people. Located in the ANU Chancelry Tower, these meetings can even include high ranking members of the government, making the Mills Room a premiere location of importance on campus. In fact, due to both the room’s unique design and the fact that is has served as the location of significant ANU meetings since 1964, the meeting space is deemed by the university to have heritage significance.
However, after decades in service, the room was due for an AV upgrade. And that required a premier audio offering from Renkus-Heinz.
“Because the space was deemed to be of heritage importance we were given the directive of no substantive changes to the room,” said Christopher Watson, consultant with Alder Technology – the firm that designed and specified the system for ANU. “The space itself is roughly 17 by 12 meters in size, and it has a massively vaulted ceiling. It’s also made of solid concrete, with a floating wall existing on one side. Simply put, the acoustics in the room were very poor and would present a challenge.”
Watson said the needs to precisely position audio in the space, coupled with the need to install as little as possible to ensure the space was architecturally preserved, led him immediately to Renkus-Heinz.
“Renkus-Heinz is a great audio solution for any space because of its quality, but when you have a lot of challenges in an install, the products they make really show their strengths,” Watson said. “With Renkus-Heinz we’re now looking at a room that looks aesthetically balanced and has sound characteristics that are performance worthy. No need for pendants or ceiling speakers, just perfect sound with two steerable arrays.”
The installation makes use of two Renkus-Heinz IC8 digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems installed at the front of the room on the “floating wall.” Part of the ICONYX line, the IC8s make use of Renkus-Heinz’ industry leading digitally steerable technology, allowing venues of all size and type to digitally position sound exactly where you want it: on the audience. By programming the arrays digitally, the sound stays off the peculiarities of the room, and is directed entirely toward the audience’s ears.
Further, thanks to their compact footprint, and utilization of Audinate’s Dante audio-over-IP protocol, the loudspeakers were installed without impacting the historically important architecture in the space.
“We really like to talk about the audio capabilities of Renkus-Heinz,” said Lucas Catanese, Project Manager at MNGD – the integrator on the project. “But we also know there are installations where architects want to maintain a certain look and feel. This location, obviously, had a very important reason to do that. Renkus-Heinz allowed us to still integrate a system everyone loves while balancing the needs of the heritage space.”
The results of the Mills Room installation were so impressive, Catanese said, the university has declared the Renkus-Heinz IC8 a standard for audio upgrades in the future.
“We’ve already installed it in two additional spaces,” Catanese said. “They’re installed in a theater and an operations center where they’d had challenges with audio in the past. With the upgrade to the Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers, they sound great.”