R-H brings eternal bliss to Swaminaryan Akshardham
INDIA: Guests at the Swaminaryan Akshardham temple in New Delhi are being treated to a nightly orchestrated multimedia performance that takes visitors on an informative and inspiring journey using an ancient scriptural story to highlight the moral values inspired by Hinduism. The show incorporates water, fire, lasers and lights, video projection, narration and music, the latter of which is played out through a large surround sound system formed from Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers. On the other side of the world, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas ? one of only six traditional marble and limestone Hindu temples in North America ? has also recently been outfitted with R-H loudspeakers to improve intelligibility in its highly reverberant interior.
The Swaminaryan Akshardham complex is a Hindu temple inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the global civic and religious organisation, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). Opened in 2005, the strikingly beautiful temple attracts a large number of tourists to Delhi, with the temple's fountains, known as Sahaj-Anand (Eternal Bliss), one of the main attractions. Measuring 90m by 90m with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines, the fountains are surrounded by a permanent 3,500-seat arena. As BAPS' Vipul Vaghela explained, the arena's configuration is anything but typical and the sound system design presented a number of unique challenges.
'The arena is a step well and the seating rakes downward from the back row, with the fountain located in the centre and below ground level,' offered Mr Vaghela. 'Sound sources are located both at the fountain, and at the projection wall, and both of these primary sound sources must be in sync.'
The sound system was designed by BAPS' own team and comprises 20 Varia VAX101-15 and VAX 101-22 modular point source line arrays, with 20 STX-LA/9W line array enclosures. Low frequency support is from 20 CFX15S and 12 DRS18-2B subwoofers.
One of the main challenges was dealing with reflected sound. 'The show requires a rather elaborate surround sound experience and the stone walls of many of the adjacent buildings created a major challenge in keeping reflected sound to a minimum,' Mr Vaghela recalled. 'We have worked with Renkus-Heinz on similar projects in the past, with excellent results, and we were confident that their technology was ideally suited for this type of a challenge. Their Varia technology enabled us to design a system that would provide very precise coverage to only the audience areas, while minimising the sound to areas that would generate problematic reflections.'
Mr Vagela also credits the support provided by the manufacturer's engineering team with helping make the project a success. 'It was in the design phase where Renkus-Heinz really came through, providing us with support not only in designing the system, but in tuning and commissioning as well,' he said. 'It was truly a pleasure working with them.'
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Texas was also opened in 2005 and the materials used in its construction have resulted in complex interior acoustics. A new digital beam steering solution has recently been installed at the temple that was required to deliver 'clear, intelligible sound' throughout while remaining visually unobtrusive. The management opted for a pair of Renkus-Heinz IC16-R-II digitally steerable line array columns as the main speakers on either side of the central pedestal.
Needing to keep cabling to a minimum, the temple's audio engineer also installed Attero Tech Dante I/O wall plates. 'Running multiple types of cable to every input and output location was a colossal challenge, so we searched for a solution that would allow signals to be transmitted over a single cable,' explained BAPS audio engineer, Yogesh Kanjee. 'To achieve this, Attero Tech's Dante input/output wall plates were essential in receiving microphone and line level signals and providing audio to the speakers. We also used Symetrix Radius digital signal processors as our backbone because of the interoperability between Attero Tech Dante products and Symetrix DSP configuration. Not only is there one protocol and one configuration application, but it is extremely stable and it just works.'