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Fraunhofer IDMT revamps audio with Powersoft Ottocanali 4k4 power amps

A total of 29 Ottocanali amplifier platforms were required to meet the German institute’s needs, with 16 of those units being installed in the building’s 3D Presentation Room alone

The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT), based in Thuringia, Germany, has upgraded its audio setup with Powersoft’s Ottocanali 4K4 DSP+D amplifier platforms. 

The institute focuses on applied research in the field of audiovisual media and develops technologies for the digital media industry.

René Rodigast, business manager of the acoustics department at Fraunhofer IDMT, commented: “We have a long story with Powersoft and have developed a good understanding of their systems over the years. Normally we know very well what gear we want and in this most recent case the choice was easy.”

A total of 29 Ottocanali amplifier platforms were required to meet the institute’s needs, with 16 of those units being installed in the building’s 3D Presentation Room alone.

“The 3D Presentation room is one of our biggest experimental rooms,” said Rodigast. “The goal when we created it was to have an efficient and flexible setup. The room is equipped with 117 loudspeakers, all of which can switch to different setups, and it is able to accommodate a small number of subwoofers as well. Thanks to the certified acoustics, we can simulate other systems as well, such as stage, cinema, planetarium, and even home setups.”

The Ottocanali 4X4 is an eight-channel power amplifier with up to a total of 4,000 W at 4Ω, ideal for multi-zone applications. The unit features switchable main/aux signal inputs and offers system control, alarms, GPI/O and monitoring functions as well as sound shaping options.

Rodigast continued: “The amplifiers’ Dante capabilities make the system very flexible and easy to use, which is ideal when using different speaker setups, and when supporting students who aren’t used to the system.”

The systems at the institute are sometimes required to run 24/7. To that end, the Ottocanali 4K4 implements redundant universal switch mode power supplies with PFC and patented SRM (Smart Rails Management) technology, maximising reliability, efficiency and reducing power consumption.

Rodigast went on to explain the layout of the institute itself: “In our acoustics department we have a lot of research and sound possibilities. The 3D Presentation Room is where we conduct R&D in relation to 3D sound systems. We also have a 3D sound studio, which is used for creating the 3D sound content and for presentation of technology.”

There is also a full anechoic chamber, which is one of the biggest in Germany at 10m x 9m x 8m. The room is capable of accommodating 60Hz and allows the team to conduct precise measurements in low frequencies, which is very important for the improvement of sound reinforcement systems.

Rodigast added: “We also have a garage that contains a car equipped with a wave field synthesis sound system, and a room where we can do listening tests. All of these have certified room acoustics, which means they are independent of acoustical conditions.”

One of the principles explored in depth at Fraunhofer IDMT is Wave Field Synthesis (WFS). Through conducting numerous experiments, the institute came up with Spatial Sound Wave (SSW) technology, an object-based system for producing 3D sound.

“Using SSW, audio objects can be positioned at will, providing a totally realistic compliance of what is seen and heard,” Rodigast explained. “We have a real-time rendering system wherein we create signals for the loudspeakers, which then come straight from the mixing desk. It integrates with our SSW interface very effectively.”

SSW technology can be used for a variety of applications. Recently, an SSW 3D sound system was installed on TUI Cruises vessel, Mein Schiff 1, and in its multi-functional entertainment room. Rodigast added: “We can provide the same service for other applications as well. The main strengths of SSW are that it allows you to solve acoustical problems while also providing exceptional audio quality. We don’t talk about the ‘sweet spot’ any more, as we can create an entire ‘sweet area’.”