Founded in the nineteenth century, Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts has it all – a rich history, a leading position among institutes of its kind, and a reputation for excellence in the performing arts. It offers more than 20 music, theatre and dance programs attended by over 900 students.
The university recently put out a tender for a public address system to be installed in its foyer. Speech and music figure prominently at a college for the performing arts, so the prospective PA would have to satisfy some very lofty expectations. The foyer was to be covered from three angles with a directional system designed to the given architectural specifications. This PA would also have to tame the complex acoustics of a room with ceilings of different heights, a two-storey auditorium, and coverage zones with depths ranging from 15 to 25 meters. This client had some very specific ideas about size, looks and placement. Cabinets were to have a height of around 115 centimetres and be placed at a relatively flat angle so as not to jut out from the walls.
Auditions were held; the NXL 24-A came out on top. Made by the Italian vendor RCF, the NXL 24-A is an active line source speaker equipped with four custom-developed 6" RCF transducers, a compression driver with a 2.5" voice coil, and an asymmetrical horn with -25° / + 5° vertical and 100° horizontal directivity.
To meet Germany’s very strict fire safety regulations for public venues, RCF worked with the general contractor to develop a passive version of this speaker, with power amps housed in a remote central rack placed around 40 meters from the speakers.
Space is tight in this control room, so the power amps for the three bi-amped line array units and a patch bay are housed in one 19" 3U rack. A pre-input matrix connected upstream from the amps provides presets serving to tune the speakers’ level, EQ and delay to the given sound reinforcement scenario.
Engineers calibrated the system with a concert on CD, prompting students to ask in which hall the orchestra was playing. Thinking this a live broadcast, they could not believe that the RCF NXL 24-A units could serve up such a rich, full soundscape. Perhaps even more surprisingly, these full-range speakers delivered the goods without added subwoofers.
Christoph Schulte, sound engineer at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, also heaped praise on the NXL 24-A system. He is convinced that this RCF system was definitely the right choice.
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