Great demands are placed on Number One, an intensively used facility in terms of its AV and conferencing infrastructure.
Number One Birdcage Walk is regarded as one of the finest examples of traditional architecture in Westminster and has been home to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers since it was purpose-built in 1899.
The Institution places a high value of the quality of its offering to members and hirers and this commitment was reflected in a recent upgrading of audio provision in the venue’s main lecture theatre.
As is true of many such buildings, whilst its high domed ceilings and wood panelled walls offer a beautiful visual aesthetic, they often conspire to have a negative effect on acoustics and the main lecture theatre at Number One was no exception.
In such circumstances, the selection of sound reinforcement is critical. The venue is used for a wide variety of presentations, lectures and Q and A sessions, some of which are recorded or might be the subject of live outside broadcasts. With this in mind, The Institution was concerned that its existing sound reinforcement provision was no longer performing to standard. Integrators Insight Visual Systems were charged with installing a new system that could overcome the acoustic challenges presented by this highly reverberant space as well as offer improved provision for recording and outside broadcast. The Institution wished to add to its existing wireless microphone system to allow greater flexibility and participation in the hall.
Insight, in conjunction with in-house AV technician, Pete Coleman, consulted with POLARaudio, who recommended the installation of Renkus Heinz Iconyx Series speakers. Previous experience in similarly challenging environments had led POLARaudio Head of Installation, Stuart Leader, towards a very positive view of these digitally steerable line-array loudspeakers and two Iconyx IC-16 R-II were duly installed.
Controlled via software to create beams of audio that can be focussed on the audience and away from hard, reflective surfaces, the Iconyx speakers minimise reverberance and deliver intelligible sound exactly where it is required.
Due to its slim, low-profile design, the Iconyx speakers blended discreetly with their surroundings, making them a perfect sonic and aesthetic fit for heritage sites such as Number One Birdcage Walk. To offer additional sound reinforcement for occasional music playback, 2 x Cornered Audio C12PNC sub-woofers, powered by MC2 T1000 amplifier, were located behind grilles on either side of the stage.
The Institute were already in possession of a beyerdynamic Opus 900 wireless microphone system and chose to expand its scope by adding further wireless clip-on and hand-held microphones to allow full flexibility of movement for more users both on stage and around the hall. A combination of Biamp Nexia SP and a Mackie 3204-VLZ4 mixer completed the picture, facilitating a complete range of audio inputs from wired and wireless microphones, DVD player, hard disc recorder for playback as well as allowing audio feeds to be routed for outside broadcast and recording.