Sydney, June 2017 – Located in the heart of Sydney at the Darling Harbour waterfront, the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is a beacon of innovation, learning and entertainment. With over 35,000 sqm of exhibition space and 8,000 sqm of meeting room space, the venue is able to host multiple large conferences and exhibitions at the same time, accommodating more than 12,000 delegates.
The fully-integrated venues center, which opened its doors mid-December 2016, features world best practice technology. First rate audio equipment was a key requirement for this landmark project. After careful design and planning, ICC Sydney opted for the Shure Microflex™ Wireless System, deploying 52 mobile audio carts with a total of 236 wireless channels to go in the meeting rooms. Additionally, 45 channels of Shure ULX-D™ Digital Wireless are being used in the performance spaces, while also able to support the meeting rooms when needed.
Nick Orsatti, Director of Australian-based integrator Fredon Technology who commissioned and installed the AV, provides insights into this landmark AV project:
Mobile Wireless Audio for Meeting Rooms
Catering to association, corporate and private events is crucial for the ICC Sydney. The venue is designed to support not only large plenary sessions in its theatres, but also more intimate discussions and events across its 70 meeting rooms. While these rooms generally provide a good acoustic environment, microphones were need for sound reinforcement in the larger spaces and also to support video conferencing, which was a key functionality mandated by the State. Audio had to be all wireless, not only to cater for a number of microphone scenarios, but also to provide setup flexibility.
Nick Orsatti explains, “Given the wide range and varying scale of events ICC Sydney can host, we designed mobile audio carts which could dock with the architecturally designed smart lecterns already installed in each room. A choice of transmitters allow to cater different needs and provide speakers with a lectern mic, a handheld presenter mic, or both.”
A total of 52 AV carts equipped with Shure Microflex Wireless are available for deployment into the meeting rooms, using a total of 118 units of MXW8 Wireless Gooseneck Base Transmitters and 118 units of MXW2 Handheld Transmitters, completed with Networked Charging Stations, Access Point Transceivers and Audio Network Interfaces.
“The Charging Stations are hidden inside the carts to allow docked charging and storage of the transmitters when not in use. When needed for lectern purposes, the MXW8 Gooseneck Base Transmitters can also be connected to a USB power source available at the dedicated lectern mic location, to allow these to be permanently powered during presentations and speeches.”
The audio solution also needed to provide flexibility in terms of how large or sophisticated a presentation is and how self-sufficient the presenter is. “The technical proficiency of presenters often varies,” explains Orsatti. “One presenter might be happy muting their own microphones and will not need an operator. Others will need an operator. In that case, the AV team can grab the mic kit and connect it to the network via a floor box, allowing the operator to remotely manage the system. When docked, it also gets back on the network for monitoring via a Crestron Fusion system.”
Anything to Anywhere
ICC Sydney is a leading example that delivers on the ‘convergence promise’, where AV shares the same network as ICT. Mark Shaw of Audio Systems Logic, principal AV consultant for this project, comments “the topology of the ICC Sydney buildings is massive. There’s a 10Gbit fibre backbone with redundant fibre running to every single switch in the whole venue. If we were to run a separate AV network you’d have twice the maintenance, twice the cabling, twice the hardware and staff. A converged network was the only practical approach.”
QSC’s Q-SYS platform was the solution of choice to integrate and manage AV assets on the network. The expanded level of integration between Shure Microflex Wireless and Q-SYS provides the ability to choose the most appropriate audio transport method, while ensuring best-in-class performance, from microphone through to loudspeaker, including all processing and amplification in between.
“We have analog outputs from the MXW Audio Network Interfaces feeding into Q-SYS inputs that then feed into QLAN, where it can be sent anywhere in the venue. The other advantage of this set up is to allow the operators access to the RF scanning and monitoring features within the ANI even when there is event happening in the room.“
Adding on to the RF performance of MXW, Orsatti comments, “The system operates in the 1.9GHz range which has advantages. Given the auto frequency allocation feature of MXW and its use of non-traditional radio mic spectrum, we can keep the RF spectrum as free as possible for additional radios which are often needed for exhibition and conference spaces, whilst providing a flexible, robust wireless solution. When taking into account these differing outcomes and the mobile nature of the solution, Shure Microflex Wireless was our obvious choice for ICC Sydney.”
Some quotes and content of this article were reproduced from a previously published article in AV Asia Pacific, Issue 55 (Feb 2017), with permission from the original author, Christopher Holder. www.avapac.net