Founded in 1953, Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University today enrolls over 35,000 students in a campus network that spans across Saudi Arabia’s capital city. Islamic tradition specifies that men and women attend school separately, so the University has a campus for each.
Most of the university’s multiple lecture halls and auditoriums on both the men’s and women’s campuses have long struggled with intelligibility and reverberation issues. University officials recently embarked on a massive, multi-year retrofit of the school’s sound reinforcement systems. After a thorough review of the various facilities, Madrid, Spain-based engineering and architectural firm TYPSA recommended systems based around Renkus-Heinz ICONYX digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems. Local Riyadh contractor/integrator Baud Telecom Company was selected as the installing contractor.
“Renkus-Heinz ICONYX was the clear choice for a project of this magnitude,” observes TYPSA design supervisor Sergio Onrubia Alvarez. “Steered-beam technology was the obvious solution for these challenging spaces, and Renkus-Heinz is the recognized leader in digital beam steering.
“We wanted consistency in sound quality throughout the campus, and we were confident that Renkus-Heinz systems were versatile enough to deliver the performance and coverage requirements of these many different spaces.”
The scope of the women’s campus installation included 40 lecture halls, each with 112 seats, and two 200-seat auditoriums used for small conferences, presentations and special lessons. A pair of ICONYX IC16-R-II columns was installed in each of the 40 lecture halls. The two auditoriums are outfitted with a pair of IC16-R-II arrays, augmented by three SG61-R compact 6.5-inch two-way Complex Conic loudspeakers for front fill coverage. A CF15S 15-inch high-performance subwoofer handles LF reinforcement.
“Prior to installation, we measured the total reverberation time in the halls at 1.2 seconds, with resonances on the mid and low frequencies,” states TYPSA technical supervisor Victor Fernández Garrido. “As we expected, the ICONYX systems improved intelligibility significantly.”
The men’s campus is divided into dedicated buildings for the various colleges (engineering, medicine, language, etc), each with two 400-seat auditoriums. For these halls, TYPSA specified left and right arrays of five PN102LAR RHAON-empowered point source arrays. Each array includes IC212S-R dual 12-inch subwoofers, and three SG61-R boxes are installed on the stage lip for front fills.
The main conference building on the men’s campus includes two larger halls used for conferences and presentations. A major concern in both halls was an older acoustic drop ceiling that magnified room resonance and audible vibrations. A pair of ICONYX IC Live ICL-FR-DUAL columns is installed in each of the rooms.
“By employing IC LIVE systems in these two halls, we were able to achieve consistent coverage while addressing the vibration and resonance issues, as well as improving intelligibility by reducing room reverberation,” said Alvaro Guiterrez Moreno, TYPSA architectural support.
For two smaller 60-seat and 100-seat auditoriums in the administration building, TYPSA recommended left-right IC8-R-II and IC16-R-II systems, respectively, with the larger venue also receiving three SG61-R boxes for front fills.
“This was a very large and multi-faceted installation,” concludes Victor Fernández Garrido. “We needed to be able to address intelligibility problems in the halls and auditoriums, as well as deliver consistent coverage and high performance in all the rooms across the campus. We were confident that Renkus-Heinz was the only company that could meet all of the University’s strict criteria, and officials are very happy with the results.”