Buddhism and meditation with d&b.
Installations in locations dedicated to peace and quiet are always a particular challenge, whether it’s a congregation hall for religious activities, an interdenominational meditation center or seminar rooms for spiritual training. The technology is expected to be as discrete as possible and it should blend into its surroundings. This is because the role of such systems is to support people in their search for personal fulfilment, not distract them.
It was against this backdrop that a team of experts from Thomann Audio Professionell embarked on the planning and installation of an AV system at the Europe Center, a Buddhist project nestled in the picturesque countryside near Immenstadt in the German Alps. The Diamond Way community, an offshoot of Buddhism with a strong following in Europe, had been looking for a place to meet up for a long time, so it was all the more delighted when an opportunity arose to acquire the Hochreute estate, which was originally designed in 1911 by the architect Karl Surber. The art nouveau buildings are now subject to a preservation order.
The new owners had gone to great lengths to respect this heritage during restorations of the buildings. There was a strong personal commitment to retain the original charm of the estate. For example, the wooden floorboards were laid to expose as much as possible of the original grain of timbers and in the sanitation areas and kitchens, special ‘metro’ style tiles were used to be modern, but at the same time add a little bit of a retro feel.
In terms of the acoustics, it was clear from the start that the meditational hall would be a challenge. Its size – 48 meters wide and 11 meters deep – wasn’t exactly the ideal starting point for a sound design and the client expressed a desire for speech reinforcement not to be perceived as such. In other words, orators should always sound like their voice is coming directly from the center of the stage and if possible should not sound like being reinforced.
The team tackled this apparent contradiction by carrying out some ingenious programming on the DSP sections of the power amplifiers provided by d&b audiotechnik. While monophonic speech reinforcement applies delay settings corresponding to the Haas effect which ensure that the orator can be perfectly located throughout the hall, stereophonic video reproduction creates a timely sound experience by the additional subwoofers.
The experts at Thomann Audio Professionell who were responsible for selecting the audio equipment primarily turned to tried and tested d&b systems for the loudspeakers and amplifiers. The meditation hall was fitted with compact Ti10s and E8 full range cabinets. To provide plenty of underlying bass, they selected Ti-SUB subwoofers; the task of loudspeaker management and signal amplification went to D6 amplifiers.
“We’re delighted with how brilliantly our concept of subtly integrating the audiovisual technology has been implemented,” states Stefan Renfert, who is responsible for press relations at the Europe Center. “We couldn’t stop worrying about how impossible it would be to translate our wishful thinking into reality. So we’re all the more enthralled by the results.”
Marco Kühnmunch from Audio Professionell adds: “Projects like the Europe Center are one of the highlights for us. Working in such a magnificent setting and being part of a team that’s working with such passion to preserve the life and soul of such a historical building also inspires us as AV technicians. We share in the delight of everyone running the center and for the future we’d like to wish them many inspirational hours on the Hochreute estate.”