The kING Culture and Congress Hall in Ingelheim, the newest and most technologically advanced multi-use venue in Germany’s Rhine-Main region, offers an ingenious array of flexible seating, staging and lighting features for optimizing the space to the needs of any conference or artistic performance. To adapt the room acoustic to any requirement, the audio operator simply taps a touchscreen button to activate the appropriate preset on the venue’s Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system. Constellation instantly creates the ideal acoustical ambience, whether augmenting speech clarity for presentations and drama or extending a rich, natural reverberation envelope for orchestral and choral concerts.
Designed by the consulting firm Graner + Partner GmbH of Bergisch Gladbach, the Constellation system as well as the complementary Meyer Sound direct reinforcement system were installed and commissioned by the Frankfurt office of Hamburg-based integrator Amptown System Company (ASC).
“We are pleased with the decision to invest in active acoustics,” says Manual Marx, a principal consultant at Graner + Partner. “The first rehearsals and events have shown that the quality level achievable is on the same level as the acoustics of a high quality classical concert hall.”
Marx also notes that Constellation was selected following a thorough evaluation process. “In the early planning phase, clients and users were presented with systems from different manufacturers, and Constellation was preferred. Nevertheless, the technology had to be put out to tender throughout Europe as product neutral. The fact that Constellation was implemented in the end shows that it is not only top line in terms of quality but it’s also economically competitive.”
Constellation technology enables multipurpose venues to precisely tailor acoustical ambience to the specific requirements of the event. By combining patented processing algorithms, advanced digital signal processing hardware and miniature transducer technology with decades of research into the acoustical properties of unique auditoriums, Constellation offers a degree of flexibility that cannot be achieved with mechanically variable acoustics such as moveable walls, curtains, orchestra shells or secondary chambers.
At kING, in particular, Constellation instantly adapts to the venue’s various seating and staging configurations, which can be altered with hydraulic platforms and moveable parquet flooring.
Constellation also provides a solution that integrates seamlessly into the visual aesthetics of the space, as noted by Dominik Schenke of Graner + Partner. “A particular challenge was to integrate the large number of loudspeakers and microphones in an architecturally appealing manner. We found that we could hide loudspeakers in the walls behind, for example, acoustically transparent cloth. For the audience, technology is pushed into the background and only the impression of great sound remains.”
The Constellation system comprises more than 180 total loudspeakers, with five different models represented: Stella-4C, MM-4XP, UPM-1XP and UP-4XP full-range loudspeakers, plus MM-10XP miniature subwoofers for extending the reverberation envelope into bass octaves. At the heart of the system, Meyer Sound’s powerful D-Mitridigital audio platform performs the complex calculations that define acoustic space by applying the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm. Constellation is delivered as a fully integrated turnkey solution, with Meyer Sound’s own Constellation team working with kING management, Graner + Partner consultants and system integrator ASC to ensure the results meet all project objectives.
Damian Mucko, project manager for ASC, emphasizes the importance of bringing the integrator onboard at the earliest stages of design and system engineering. “ASC has been involved here since the new structure was an empty shell,” he recalls. “That enabled us to respond directly to users’ wishes as well as to architectural changes in the construction phase which can impact the acoustics. We provided the complex infrastructure and supported Meyer Sound’s Constellation team in performing the acoustical measurements.”
ASC also installed the direct reinforcement (“PA”) system, anchored by a main L-R system of 18 MINA line array loudspeakers, a center cluster of two UPQ-2P and one UPA-1P loudspeakers, four 900-LFC low frequency control elements for bass extension, and six UP-4XP as front fill. Balconies are covered by UPJunior loudspeakers, and three Galileo Callisto 616 loudspeaker management systems provide control and optimization. Four MJF-210 stage monitors are available for artist foldback.
“The Constellation system enables every event here to benefit from outstanding acoustics,” sums up Michael Sinn, managing director of IKum (Ingleheimer Kultur und Marketing GmbH). “As hall operators we can map out the full spectrum of events on the highest acoustic level without the need for time-consuming and cost-intensive physical or structural changes. That makes our operations easier and scores points with our customers.”
The new multipurpose hall has a full calendar of events scheduled, including seven productions – drama, dance, theatre and symphony orchestra – from the Mainzer Staatstheater (Mainz State Theater). After hearing the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Mainz at the opening gala, Mark Mast, artistic director and principal conductor of the Bavarian Philharmonic Orchestra, was enthusiastic about the hall’s potential. “I have played in many halls around the world,” he notes, “and when I came to this room and heard the state orchestra, I thought, ‘That’s it! This is international standard, top league.’ Everything is possible in this room.”