Conversion with care: New audio technology for WCCB Bonn

16. April 2019
WCCB Sicht auf Lautsprecher ©SALZBRENNER media

Bonn, April 2019: Anyone speaking in parliament wants to be heard. This only works with an excellent audio system. No members of parliament have spoken in the plenary hall of the World Conference Center (WCCB) in Bonn since the Bundestag moved to Berlin, but high-quality, versatile and flexible audio technology remains a basic requirement for the conferences and meetings that have been taking place in the building ever since.

Installation during operation

In order to ensure this, the experts from SALZBRENNER media installed a highly complex audio system in the plenary hall of the WCCB Bonn which fully meets the various requirements of conference organisers. A cautious and well-coordinated approach was necessary because the installation was carried out during ongoing event operation which could not be disturbed – and this over a period of 12 months. Planned and attended by construction, this renovation project was carried out by GRANER + PARTNER INGENIEURE, headquartered in Bergisch Gladbach.

Moreover, the entire building is subject to a preservation order: all structural changes had to be clarified with the preservation authorities. SALZBRENNER media achieved perfect coordination work here. New connections for the media technology were created throughout the building. In various rooms: 26 19″ media racks  were installed by SALZBRENNER media  to house the hardware.

Acoustic challenge

The architecturally very complicated plenary hall is constructed with 90% glass surfaces, resulting in a long reverberation time. Perfect speech clarity is nevertheless achieved thanks to beam array line-scan loudspeakers from Fohhn which enable sound to be targeted in specific directions.

Modern conference system

The 267 desk communication units were replaced with a modern system from Brähler. In order to cope with monument protection, the new technology had to be fitted into the existing table cut-outs. The multifunctional conference system is suitable for various conference modes and voting procedures. The special feature: a 4.8″ full HD display was additionally installed at each desktop station – for video streaming via the conference app which, for example, provides information on voting results, speaker documents or speaker lists. The system also includes six interpreter desks. The integrated language selector allows the participants to select the desired simultaneous translation.

Fibre optic network for AV signal distribution

At central points throughout the entire building, more than 30 interface boxes specially manufactured by SALZBRENNER media were installed. These allow audio, video, network and USB signals to be fed in separately and accessed at other points. The data is transmitted via redundant fibre-optic lines to which AV transmitters and receivers from Lightware can be connected.

Flexible control and monitoring

The peripherals, consisting of the latest Sennheiser system with 24 hand-held transmitters and 24 pocket transmitters with headsets, eight in-ear monitoring links and various other audio signals, are controlled by a Yamaha mixing console. The communication between the technical stuff is ensured by an intercom system from Riedel. The control and monitoring of, for example, temperature, error messages and status of all media technology components can be enabled, evaluated and monitored via Crestron displays in all relevant areas. Two mobile tablets complete these possibilities. The voice alarm system, which had become outdated and functioned only partially, was brought up to date by the installation of a PAVIRO-BOSCH system.

Central network with remote access

“Interconnection and communication of all technical units across a complex network system with more than 1,200 ports is a notable feature. Furthermore, 80% of this system was implemented by SALZBRENNER media solely via fibre-optic lines in order to be able to transmit very large amounts of data in the shortest possible time,” says project manager Sebastiano Sessa of SALZBRENNER media, looking back on the project. “All control functions and monitoring of the individual devices is centralised via the network system and media control and can be operated from all workstations,” adds Sessa, describing an advantage of the system.

SALZBRENNER media has also made provisions in the event that on-site support is required, for example during configuration or operation: remote access to the network system, enables the Buttenheim technicians to assume control of the software and hardware at any time and provide direct technical support.

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