Innovox Provides Solution for the McNamara Alumni Center
Sep 16, 2013
The McNamara Alumni Center – the award-winning meeting and event venue located at the heart of the University of Minnesota's sprawling Minneapolis campus – recently called in St Paul-based Innovox Audio to provide a solution to a problem they have in their largest event space—Memorial Hall. "Memorial Hall is a very challenging acoustic environment" says Charles Bottemiller, Sr. Engineer for Classroom Technical Services at the University. "At 12,000 square feet, 85 feet to the peaks and interiors of wood, copper, water and granite, controlling sound and maintaining intelligibility can be very tricky". Especially concerning to Amy Leyden, Director of Sales and Marketing for the venue, as audiences for large events often number up to 500 people. "Every one of our guests whether they're sitting in the VIP seats or at the far corner tables 60' away, need to hear and understand", commented Leyden. "Because we strive to utilize new technologies that enhance the overall guest experience throughout this beautiful space, we felt it was definitely time for an audio upgrade".
"We've worked on a number of previous projects at the U", states Chris Oswood, CTO Innovox Audio. "But the opportunity for Innovox to be part of the beautiful McNamara Alumni Center was a very special one."
Intelligibility, articulation, coverage and full-bandwidth performance were all part of the design criteria. No less important, the new system was required to "blend-in" with the unique, natural architectural details of the space.
Working hand-in-hand with Minneapolis-based integrator, Mid-Co AV and audio / acoustics consult firm, SDA Consulting, an "outside-the-box" solution is proposed. "The first step in our process", explains Oswood, "is to determine exactly what is needed to meet technical and performance requirements and then made visually acceptable". By "de-constructing" the mid-hi and di-pole LF elements that normally comprise the standard, single box HLA-20, the required coverage, clarity and minimum visual impact demands are all beautifully achieved.
"The design worked perfectly", said Oswood. "Once the old system was removed, we were able to utilize the existing cavity to hide our LF enclosure. Not only did we achieve steerable control to below 100Hz, but the visible device is only 8" wide and color-matched to the surroundings".
James Heinz, COO University Gateway Corporation and GM McNamara Alumni Center sums it up by saying, "I can tell you, we had a complicated situation given the unique shape, height of Memorial Hall and the combination of building materials. Innovox came up with a fine solution. We are very pleased with the results of their work."