Red Bull, Hangar-7
Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport is a unique combination of aircraft hangar, art gallery, gastronomy and adventure area. With its opening in August 2003, a series of extraordinary in-house and external events began, whereby the demands on technology, execution and quality can be described as high.
Seen from the outside, Hangar-7 quotes the basic shape of a wing. Inside the building itself, an almost heavenly expanse opens up. A shell construction consisting of glass and steel, with a maximum free span of approx. 95m x 66m, spans an area of 3700m² and encloses a gross volume above level of 49,100 m³.
This results in impressive physical as well as optical dimensions, which in practice are accompanied by a reverberation time of more than 6 seconds, which is a real challenge in terms of sound engineering considerations. For years, no completely satisfying approach was found and in the sound reinforcement scene more and more statements about the difficult acoustic working conditions were made. within the house, the high installation effort per event, the complex but unavoidable cable routing, as well as the ubiquitous presence of the flown loudspeakers and/or those placed on tripods were also under discussion. These circumstances were in stark contrast to the house’s idea of an optically compatible overall impression, which – measured by the appearance of the hangar – seems all too understandable. In addition, the achievable results in terms of speech intelligibility, homogeneity of sound level distribution and, last but not least, reproduction quality seemed to be in need of improvement.
All Beginnings are Difficult
We met this challenge for the first time in 2006, and based on the experience we had already gained with Alcon’s audio up to that time and the proven Pro-Ribbon technology, we originally designed the concept of a fixed installation in the hangar for voice announcements and also for background sound reinforcement. However, due to the demand profile that emerged in various test series, our concept was expanded accordingly until we finally offered complete audio equipment that would make Hangar-7 largely independent of the equipment to be rented. Finally, our considerations led above all to mobile sound reinforcement units, which in the practical everyday life of Hangar-7 only allow the flexibility that we determined as a basic requirement for the events taking place in Hangar-7.
Effective in Theory…
The system comprises four loudspeaker units, designed as 5.80 m high loudspeaker towers, weighing over 1200 kg for static reasons, but still mobile, i.e. freely movable in the room and optically magnificently integrated into the special ambience of the hangar. Responsible for the design on behalf of Red Bull: Sebastian Kissler & Sebastian Eidenböck, Vienna. These towers consist of 4 Alcons Audio QR36 Pro-Ribbon cylinder wave modules (4m) arranged one above the other, 1 pc. Alcons Audio QB363 3×12″ bass module (1m), below, supplementing the line, and on top, integrated in the column, each 1pc. Alcon’s Audio ALC4 and 1pcs. ALC2 controller amplifier, as well as a breakout box CAB4n from Peavey. In addition, a media converter from fibre optic to Cobranet is located in the connection housing of the tower, which is easily accessible on top of the bass loudspeaker. The connections of a tower consist only of a Powercon and an optical fibre connection.
The operation is basically relatively simple: the cylinder wave modules from Alcons Audio operate over this length as perfect cylinder wave emitters with wide horizontal radiation from 90° to 20kHz, and virtually perfect constriction in the vertical plane with no more than 3°. Acoustic excitation of the room is thus limited to an absolute minimum, the sound energy is directed with an enormous throw directly into the audience to be audible. In addition, ground reflections are also avoided, which in turn inevitably lead to a strong excitation of the room in flown systems and thus significantly impair speech intelligibility.
… As well as in Practice!
For example: even if you play around a hundred meters through the hangar – with over 6 seconds of reverberation, of course – speech intelligibility is as natural as if this topic did not exist at all…. Moreover, the quality of the audio reproduction is at the very highest level thanks to the use of Alcon’s patented Pro-Ribbon technology. And this at almost any volume. However, it should also be noted that the sound level distribution over the distance can also be described as exemplarily good due to the perfect mode of operation of the cylinder wave characteristic.
Furthermore, there is a rack with 24 inputs and 8 outputs, analog XLR and with the option to expand the number of channels. Finally, an 8-channel optimizer from Trinnov Audio is also available, which is digitally integrated into the audio network and extends the system performance depending on the requirements and intended use of the speaker towers. The audio network consists of a Peavey NION n3 in a central position, Cobranet to fibre optic converters, a bidirectional fibre optic distribution network and twelve connection panels distributed in the hangar, each with two fibre optic connections. Depending on the specific requirements of each event, the individual systems are simply connected to the audio network in the desired positions via fiber optic cables. Consequently, each distributor also has its own circuit, even if this would not have been absolutely necessary due to the ungrounded connection of the audio systems.
A New Era
The fact that the entire audio system can be controlled and controlled via WLAN via a notebook is part of the standard of good sound, so to speak. The complexity of the programming behind the system, which was undoubtedly a challenge, does not affect the user. It works exclusively with a very clear structured and user-friendly user interface, whose programming offers him all possibilities to overview and control all relevant system parameters. The result of the installation is an extraordinarily flexible overall solution that has the potential to meet virtually all sound technology challenges at the highest level. The results achieved are so good that a new era of sound reinforcement in Hangar-7 can be spoken of here.