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‘Intelligibility is tricky to attain in an ancient ruin’: Renkus-Heinz supplies sound for Living Museum

The museum has installed five Renkus-Heinz STLA/9R line arrays, three ST9-44 three-way, mid/high loudspeaker systems, and two ICL-F-RN line arrays

The Atturaif Living Museum of Saudi Arabia, which is based on the ancient mud citadel of Atturaif, has installed a Renkus Heinz sound system to help tell its story.

Atturaif became the capital of the first Saudi dynasty in the 18th century, and in 2010 was restored into a UNESCO World Heritage site and transformed into a major tourist attraction with the Living Museum.

The Living Museum has an outdoor amphitheatre that is situated to allow projections of animations onto the old walls, and clear sound was needed to support the animations. 

Norbert Bau, East sales representative of Renkus-Heinz, commented: “The biggest challenge was the huge area and the distances between the sound system and the public, but as you would expect at a World Heritage site, there also is a particular need for impressively loud and clear sound.”

He continued: “There are architectural restrictions on what we can do here, and the system needs to be as invisible as possible so as not interfere with the projection.”

The museum installed left and right arrays of five Renkus-Heinz STLA/9R loudspeaker systems per side. The STLA/9R has dual CDT1.5 CoEntrant mid/high drivers and maintains directivity down to 200Hz using Renkus-Heinz’s Isophasic Plane Wave Generator technology. STLA/9R loudspeakers are RHAON-empowered and can be managed and control via an Ethernet network.

Sub-lows are handled by three Renkus-Heinz DR18-2R subwoofers per side. The DR18-2R has dual 18-inch drivers and ranges from 32 to 120Hz, while each enclosure can deliver up to 133dB SPL programme power (135dB SPL peak).

The centre section of the amphitheatre is covered by three ST9-44 three-way, mid/high loudspeaker systems. The ST9-44 features Renkus-Heinz’s Complex Conic horns, which produce low-distortion reproduction, and peak output levels up to 142dB SPL.

“It’s a large area to cover, both broad and deep. We have to project sound a long way, yet retain intelligibility over the full distance whilst trying to keep reflections down,” Bau detailed. “Renkus-Heinz’s line arrays provided for pattern control over the broad shoulders of the venue and ST9-44AS speakers filled the centre all the way back.”

On each side of the venue, a single Renkus-Heinz ICL-F-RN line array is installed in a surround position to provide additional rear fill or surround channels. The ICL-F-RN lets the user define up to four steerable beams, each with a different opening angle.

Bau concluded: “Fidelity and intelligibility are tricky to attain in an ancient ruin, even one that has been restored. There are amazing stories in this place, and with this Renkus-Heinz system, I feel confident visitors will hear and understand every word of every story when it is told.”