Karbala, Iraq | July, 2015 - The Shrine of Hussein Ibn Ali is one of the oldest holy shrines in Iraq, marking the burial site of Husayn Ibn Ali, third Imam of Shia Islam, with hundreds of thousands of faithful making the pilgrimage to visit the shrine each year.
The site also hosts a number of conferences, meetings, and lectures, primarily held in the shrine's Sayed Al-Awssiya'a Auditorium. As part of an extensive expansion of the holy site, the 318-seat Auditorium recently received a substantial audio and video upgrade, including a new sound system centered on Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC Live steerable array loudspeakers. Baghdad-based Qurtuba Broadcasting and Communications Services (QBCS) provided full audio, video, and control systems for the auditorium, working together with Ardh Al-Quds, the main contractors on the project.
As Abdulrazzak Hummadi, CEO of QBCS explains, the site's protected historical status proved a challenge in designing the audio system. "The architects placed severe constraints on the locations of the speakers, and the methods of installing them," says Hummadi. "This led us to seek an alternative to traditional loudspeakers."
After reviewing a wide range of alternatives, audio engineer Ricardo Castro suggested the Renkus-Heinz IC Live digitally steered array loudspeaker for the venue. IC Live beam steering is designed to create tightly focused beams of sound that can be accurately steered directly toward the audience, and away from walls, ceilings, and other reflective surfaces, dramatically improving intelligibility.
The slim, low profile IC Live design also made it an ideal choice for minimal visual impact. Nonetheless, says Hummadi, the system was an unknown to the customer, and had to pass the critical listening test. "Due to the fact that this was our first time working with Renkus-Heinz and Iconyx technology, we approached the decision making process very slowly and thoroughly. The support provided by the company was outstanding, and that helped make the decision that much easier."
The audio system is comprised of left and right arrays of two IC Live ICL-FR arrays each. A pair of PN61-R compact two-way loudspeakers provides front fill.
Hummadi adds that logistical constraints also added to the challenge. "The site is fully occupied with people, 24 hours a day," he explains. "Needless to say, this required both patience and careful planning."
That patience and planning paid off, says Hummadi. "The first test was simply amazing! The Sound Transmission Level testing showed excellent results, with very consistent coverage throughout the entire venue."
Hummadi concludes, "It was truly an amazing opportunity to work with these Renkus-Heinz products. Despite the many constraints we had with it being a holy site, I think we have built an effective and attractive solution."