The Great Hall, located on Reading University’s original London Road campus, hosts a wide variety of events, including graduations, convocations, and other ceremonies. The hall’s 80-foot (25 meter) curved ceiling and highly reflective acoustics have long been problematic. The building’s protected historic status, however, has long limited options for addressing those issues.
University’s vice-chancellor consulted with UK audio distributors Polar Audio for recommendations on improving the situation. Integrators Snelling Business Systems were brought in to create an audio system centered around Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steered array loudspeakers. Iconyx technology enables creating tightly focused beams of sound and directing them at the audience and away from walls, ceilings, and other highly reflective surfaces. The result is a reduction in echoes and reflected sound, delivering intelligibility to every seat in the house.
The new sound system comprises just two Iconyx IC24-II-R steered array columns, with a Mackie VLZ4 1202 analog console for inputs and a Biamp Nexia SP providing system processing. As Snelling Business Services Managing Director Toby Wise observes, “there is no doubt whatsoever that the beam steering capability of the Iconyx loudspeakers has completely transformed the sound in the Great Hall.”
The low profile design of the Iconyx systems also addressed the University’s concerns regarding the Great Hall’s historic architecture, with Renkus-Heinz delivering the units custom painted to blend with the décor.
As Reading University’s Senior IT Technician Mark Taylor attests, the University’s first trial of the new system was a success. “Graduation ceremonies had always been something of a major headache in terms of sound, but this year everyone involved was full of praise for the clarity and audibility throughout the hall. The Iconyx system designed by Polar Audio has improved the functionality of the hall literally beyond recognition.”