The Mercedes-Benz U.S. plant in Vance, AL, sees a lot of foot traffic, serving as the manufacturing base for all Mercedes-Benz SUVs and also as part of AIDT, a program launched by the Alabama state government in 1971 to train residents for skilled jobs.
The plant routinely hosts important corporate and press presentations from Mercedes-Benz executives from around the world, including the car manufacturer’s headquarters in Germany. In upgrading the sound reinforcement for the room where most of these important gatherings take place, high-quality loudspeaker systems were a must.
Meeting that criteria were Renkus-Heinz Iconyx employing high-performance amplifiers to drive coaxial transducers with triple- tweeter arrays.
According to Andre Garcia, director of engineering at Xerox Audio Visual Systems, which installed the Iconyx systems at the plant, there were several acoustical challenges presented by the space.
“Because of the nature of the meetings occurring in this space, the speaker system had to be very clear, as far as voice goes, for intelligibility,” explains Garcia. “However, the room, which is about 60 by 130 feet and 30 feet high, has hardware floors, which make it sound like a school gym. So the biggest complaint was that it was hard to understand voices.”
Garcia and his team chose the Renkus-Heinz Iconyx not only for the quality of its sound, but because it employs steerable line-array speakers.
“This way, you can steer the audio to any area you want, aiming it at the participants in the room, instead of just flooding the room with the audio and giving rise to all sorts of echo and reverberation and sound issues,” he notes.
The Iconyx loudspeakers also incorporate the RHAON audio operations network, which uses straightforward network connections for multichannel digital audio distribution, user-controlled DSP, user-selectable presets and comprehensive remote system management and control, all over a single Cat-5 cable using standard ethernet hardware.
In addition, the speakers feature multichannel Class D digital amplifiers with integral DSP engines to control every single Iconyx array element. The high-current output section maximizes audio accuracy.
“The plant recently hosted a visit by several high-level Mercedes-Benz executives, including the CEO, from Germany,” Garcia says. “They were very impressed with the sound quality in the room.”
Another important factor in the decision to install the Iconyx loudspeakers was their ability to blend in completely with the environment, ensuring a clean, professional look in the rooms in which they operate. At the Mercedes-Benz plant, they’ve been painted the same color as the wall, making it difficult for audience members to discern them.