Barranquilla, Colombia | October, 2016 - When it opened its doors in July of 1966, Universidad del Norte had 58 students and 10 professors teaching Engineering and Business Administration. Today, the University has grown to become the pre-eminent academic hub for higher education in northern Colombia, with more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a biodiversity campus boasting state-of-the-art technology.
Recently completed in 2015, the University's Red Auditorium is one of its most popular venues. The 148-seat hall hosts a regular schedule of seminars, lecture classes, ceremonies, and conferences. Even in the planning stages, it was clear that versatility would be of paramount importance, and all systems were designed to meet those demands.
Technology design and integration firm Schallertech of Bogota was brought in to design an A/V system that could meet the demands of the widely diverse range of programs the hall would accommodate. Project Manager John Romero explains the challenges: "The auditorium is used not only for typical presentations and performances, but also for video conferences and other interactive events. This necessitated incorporating in-ceiling microphones for the audience, which presented potential issues with the PA system."
As they have for other challenging projects, Schallertech turned to ICONYX digitally steered arrays from Renkus-Heinz. A pair of IC-8-FR columns mounted at either side of the proscenium tightly focuses the sound on the audience, keeping it away from walls, ceilings, and other reflective surfaces. "For this auditorium, the Iconyx beam steering was really our best ally," observes Romero, who shared Project Management duties with Ricardo Rodriguez and Diana Mendoza. "And the Iconyx form factor blends so well with the room's architecture, you hardly notice it's there." A Crestron-based touch-panel system enables easy and intuitive control of the audio, video, and lighting in the space, with presets to accommodate users regardless of their technical expertise.
With the aid of RHAON II System Designer software, the Schallertech team configured the Iconyx arrays to precisely cover the seating areas. "The RHAON software is so intuitive, it helped the entire project come together more quickly," Romero asserts.
Romero reports the system has exceeded expectations, performing flawlessly through a wide range of programs. "We chose the Iconyx because we knew the beam steering was the right solution for this challenging space," he concludes. "And the triple-tweeter design enables us to perfectly reproduce the vocal range. We get smooth, clear, intelligible sound from the first seat to the last."