A Renkus-Heinz ICONYX digitally controlled array loudspeaker system has been installed by TM Audio at the Amsterdam home of the Blue Man Group, the cavernous Theater Fabriek.
Between the auditorium and the entrance lobby is a pair of massive spaces and a central, two-story structure that houses a bar and first-floor restaurant. The spaces are also used for live performances.
According to TM Audio’s project manager, Eric Rutten, “When we were first asked to propose a system, the theater people weren’t exactly sure how the space would end up being used, except for the obvious one that it’s where people relax and have a drink or some dinner before the show. What we did know for sure, though, was that the size of the spaces—one is 60 by 22 meters, the other 68 by 18 meters and they’re both 15 meters high—and the concrete surfaces meant we had to find a solution that would avoid reflections and reverberation. Also, because of their size, both spaces would never seem full even with a big audience in. This made precisely controllable dispersion very desirable.
“Yet the system would also have to work for music, as well as speech, so conventional public address solutions wouldn’t work,” he continues. “A distributed system would have created more time alignment and reverberation problems than it would have solved. And we needed to achieve this with a minimal quantity of loudspeakers and cabling.”
In each of the two large spaces, a single IC16/8 array was mounted halfway along the long side of the room, with its center slightly above head height. The IC16/8 has 16 drivers that are amplified and processed within the cabinet in pairs. For the 12-meter-wide restaurant on the upper floor, four 8-driver IC8 arrays (which have fully active drivers) are mounted on each of the outer walls. The complete system is driven from an Allen & Heath iDR8 digital zone mixer that takes a feed from one of the show’s equipment racks backstage. The mixer also provides overall time delays to each of the six separate array columns.