Gothenburg, Sweden – March 2018… Few public spaces are as acoustically challenging as railway stations, where large enclosed spaces are wrapped in a wealth of reflective surfaces to create an environment that can often seem untamable. But in Gothenburg Central Station, Sweden’s second busiest railway station, the recent deployment of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx has dramatically improved intelligibility for more than 27 million passengers each year.
Fredrik Setterberg is audio lead and programmer at Soliflex Svenska AB, the company appointed to undertake a loudspeaker upgrade covering the primary public spaces of the station. The starting point was a general desire to improve intelligibility – a requirement that was firmly underlined when Setterberg and team undertook intelligibility measurements in the two main halls.
“The tests showed that there were some very uneven STIPA values, so we went on to build two EASE models and experimented with numerous different column speakers and placements in order to produce a solution that would guarantee consistent coverage everywhere,” says Setterberg. “After careful consideration of the various available brands, we concluded that Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steerable line arrays would be the ideal fit.”
The resulting solution draws on a total of eight IC8-RIIs, each featuring eight 4-inch coaxial transducers with three HF tweeters, eight amplifier and DSP channels, and beam control down to 800Hz. Also included are eight IC24-R-IIs, incorporating 24 4-inch coaxial transducers with three HF tweeters, 24 amplifier and DSP channels, and beam control down to 250Hz. The configuration is completed by a single IC16-RII, delivering 16 4-inch coaxial transducers with three HF tweeters, 16 amplifier and DSP controls, and beam control down to 400Hz.
Although none of the Iconyx arrays have been custom painted, Setterberg reports they are far more “aesthetically pleasing” and complementary to the station’s decor than the previous loudspeaker system. But most importantly, the station intelligibility has improved dramatically.
Logistical considerations added to the challenge. “In one of the halls, the nature of the building was such that the loudspeakers could not be positioned where we wanted them,” recalls Setterberg. “But thanks to the beam-steering capabilities of the Iconyx loudspeakers, we have been able to deliver the sound exactly where it is required – in other words, to where the passengers are waiting or walking. We will continue to do some fine-tuning to the system, but the improvement has already been dramatic.”