23.11.09

Clear communication at Frankfurt museum

AUTHOR: Inavate

The Frankfurt Museum of Communication, situated on the city’s Main riverbank, has recently installed Tannoy’s QFlex steerable array system.

Founded in 1958 as the Federal Postal Museum (Bundespostmuseum), it is part of one of the city’s oldest Museum institutions, and moved to its current purpose-built premises in 1990. The modern, transparent and open four-storey building invites visitors on a journey of discovery through the ages, looking at how means of communication have developed and evolved, from ancient cuneiform scripts to the most recent advances in information technology such as email, the World Wide Web and mobile telecommunications. As is typical with examples of modern architecture such as this, extensive use has been made of hard reflective materials such as glass, exposed concrete and expansive hardwood flooring. While this allows for open, well-lit and unrestricted spaces, it often leads to areas that are, acoustically, extremely challenging. The initial years of the museum have been blighted by frequent complaints from visitors about the poor intelligibility of both speech and background music, especially where audio program material was part of the various exhibits.

Tannoy claims to have overcome the issues with its QFlex beam-steering array system. Four QFlex 16 devices were required to cover the majority of the affected areas, installed around the main circulation spaces of the museum and discreetly mounted on the concrete structural pillars. QFlex uses multiple channels of advanced amplification and DSP to produce beams of acoustic energy, which are directed on user defined target areas. Tannoy says this ability to focus acoustical output in target areas where needed creates better speech intelligibility in highly reverberant spaces such as those found throughout the museum.

QFlex is claimed to deliver effective beam control from lower frequencies into the higher octaves, making it a viable system for delivering highly intelligible music as well as spoken word.

Tannoy says in Frankfurt QFlex has solved a major communication problem, for both staff and visitors, in a discrete way. The installation has had very little impact on the crisp, clean lines of this modern piece of architecture.