High-end sound systems for the kING Ingelheim venue

The Object
By having the Neue Markt area redesigned the City Council of Ingelheim took a major step forward in its efforts to develop and promote culture and education. A centre for further education (WBZ) was built, the city hall extended, and a prestigious culture and convention hall referred to as the kING was erected where a 2,000 m2 event area (foyer 450m2, Great Hall 545m2, and 5 conference rooms) offers space for approximately 1,000 guests. However with avant-garde media equipment and electronically variable acoustic installations in its Great Hall, with a hydraulically operated stage and movable parquet flooring, the kING convention hall is dramatically different from other conventional multi-purpose venues. The kING accommodates a broad spectrum of events - from meetings and conventions on the one hand to theatre productions, musicals, cabaret, dance, and variété on the other, plus pop, rock, and jazz concerts and even high-profile classical events. 

The Job
The party ordering the construction of the new culture and convention centre was the WBI (Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Ingelheim GmbH), a housing association. The IKuM, short for Ingelheimer Kultur und Marketing GmbH, is the company operating the kING. Where media equipment and room acoustics were concerned the Graner+Partner engineering company was in charge of the expert planning and construction supervision sections of the job throughout all stages of the work. In a public tender with a number of notable competitors, Amptown System Company (ASC) Frankfurt was able to win the award for the system integration of media and sound reinforcement equipment in the Great Hall and in the multifunctional event areas. The expert knowledge of the Frankfurt ASC team of how to implement projects precisely according to the customer's wishes even if they are of high complexity, and their capacity to manufacture any type of special solution was what tipped the scale in ASC's favour. Both the owner and the architect wanted the audio equipment to blend unobtrusively into the architecture, and to allow for extraordinary variability to suit any type of event while remaining internationally competitive as well. With a house of this size and standard the operating company hopes to make a successful entry on the convention and event market and is presenting it as a professional location for any medium-size event in the western Rhein-Main area. The futuristic design of the building with its silvery outer shell made of anodized aluminium sheet and its 300 windows was created by Lieb+Lieb architects BDA, while Schwinde architectural office was responsible for its construction.

The Solution
Apart from ensuring system integration in 5 multifunctional conference rooms, ASC Frankfurt implemented their media equipment concept by installing floor boxes and wall terminal boxes which provide a high number of connection points with all common audio, video, and control interfaces. As a result the diverse equipment producing and transmitting image and sound can be used in many different ways.  The distribution of audio signals via a digital DANTE audio network along with video transmission via fibre optic cables ensure superior signal quality. A central Crestron DigitalMedia 32 x 32 multimedia matrix provides connectivity of the numerous data sources and sinks.

To control video and sound recording, comprehensive equipment was accommodated in an adjoining control room on the rear side of the hall involving Yamaha CL5 audio mixing consoles, image/visual mixers, intercom, control computers, and touch panel control devices.  If required editing equipment with identical performance options consisting of mobile components can be used inside the Great Hall as well. A state-of-the-art 4K laser beamer by Barco will supply images of excellent quality in the Great Hall whatever the purpose may be.

Meyer Sound MINA line arrays featuring nine units each installed on the side walls and four Meyer Sound 900-LFC subwoofers are used to reinforce the sound in the Great Hall. Six UP-4XP speakers ensure the front fill sound while two UPQ-2P speakers and one UPA-1P speaker make up the centre system. Additionally a number of supporting systems work as near- and balcony fills. At a very early stage of the planning process it was agreed that an electro-acoustic system ensuring extension of the reverberation period was to be provided which would allow for varying the sound in the Hall at the touch of a button and thus accommodate the changing requirements associated with various types of events in a way both technically convincing and highly convenient. Availability of this option would be of particular relevance for classical concerts of fully instrumented symphony orchestras. For performances of this category an acoustic environment had to be created which while basically variable would also match the concert acoustics of an outstanding classical concert hall.  With all of these conditions fulfilled, its superior acoustics has procured the kING an exceptional position in Europe.

This successful achievement was essentially due to the fact that ASC always worked hand in hand with all parties involved. As the system integrator, ASC was on site at an early stage when shell construction began to implement the extraordinarily intricate cable infrastructure. The Frankfurt ASC specialists were able to support the expert planner in the coordination of the different trades and to contribute technical advice and practical help whenever architectural adjustments had to be made as construction proceeded.  Custom-made speaker mounts and other special solutions had to be provided to enable the complex sound reinforcement system to be integrated into the architectural concept precisely by the millimetre. To ensure that the audience enjoys a perfect listening experience, it was crucial for system integration to be carried out very judiciously by balancing the reciprocal effect of sound reinforcement and acoustics of the hall and adjusting it optimally. 

The stunning acoustics was the result of ASC's using the Meyer Sound "Constellation Acoustic System" which picks up the sound events in the room with a total of 32 microphones which are arranged both above the stage and in the auditorium and sends them to digital signal processors. Early reflections and reverberation times are determined to calculate the sound field which is then reproduced via approximately 180 Meyer Sound speakers. The equipment installed comprised 24 Stella-4C built-in speakers, 76 MM-4XP self-powered miniature wide-range speakers and 36 UPM-1XP ultra-compact wide-coverage speakers, plus 21 UP-4XP ultra-compact speakers. Mounted in the walls behind a textile lining which is acoustically transparent, the speakers are invisible. More speakers were fitted in the hall ceiling. Additionally 24 Meyer Sound MM-10XP miniature subwoofers were used which reproduce even the low-frequency energy of bass instruments naturally as part of the simulated surround sound. The complexity of signal processing the system affords is such that perfectly timed pinpoint interventions into the structure and sound colouration of early reflections and reverberation can be carried out on the one hand, and extremely precise individual settings for different hall areas on the other. It is possible for instance to generate a very transparent acoustic situation for the musicians on the stage which enables them to hear each other while in the auditorium reverberation is accorded a slightly elevated share to generate formidable surround sound. Moreover 3D surround effects can be programmed which fill the entire room with sound giving the audience an extraordinary experience.

Although the extensive technical equipment is of course very sophisticated, the Graner+Partner engineers saw to it that the system would still allow for convenient and intuitive operation.  Many control jobs can be handled using the presets ASC has programmed or via the application-related graphical user interfaces on touch panels, or via a mobile iPad as can for instance the selection of any of the acoustic situation options available for a room.  If system monitoring and control on a more fundamental level are required, operators may use the KVM consoles and permanently installed touch panels which are provided in the main control room and in all of the equipment compartments.

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  • kING-Ingelheim-Slider-I_01.jpg

    kING Ingelheim

    A culture and convention centre with great potential - the kING Ingelheim. The façade with its futuristic appearance features 300 windows. A number of 1,700 individual parts were used in the construction, and not a single right angle is to be found anywhere.

  • kING-Ingelheim-Slider-II_01.jpg

    kING Ingelheim

    The acoustics of the Great Hall is its greatest attraction. It essentially relies on the Meyer Sound  "Constellation" Acoustic System which enables the technical team of the kING to match the acoustics of the room to the type of performance without having to undertake any structural alterations.

  • kING-Ingelheim-Slider-III_01.jpg

    kING Ingelheim

    The media and acoustic equipment of the kING enables the IKuM to offer an extremely varied spectrum of top-class events as for instance a classical concert as shown above. Apart from its desire to ensure a high cultural standard the management is motivated by ambitious economic targets as well.

© kING

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