Above the heads of the guests, the wind whistles from the north while clouds chase across the sky. The 36 video panels overhead could be mistaken for skylights, but they are part of a technology package installed by EXG MEDIA in the Plenum — a flexible event space and automobile showcase — at the Audi Brand Experience Center (ABEC), located on the site of the Munich International Airport. The dynamic wind sounds are just one effect made possible by Spacemap® Go, the spatial sound design and mixing tool integrated into the Plenum’s complete audio system from Meyer Sound.
The first and only fully sustainable building at the airport site, the 3,850 square-meter ABEC was designed by the Munich-based architectural firm of Peter Zauner, with media technology systems designed and engineered by the consulting firm Planungsbüro Bertram under the direction of specialist planner Markus Endl.
According to Endl, an initial proposal for an immersive sound system was shelved due to expense and the building’s extraordinary sustainability requirements. “But we had a time delay because of the pandemic, and during that time Meyer Sound introduced Spacemap Go,” he explains. “That put the idea back on the table. With a bit of expertise along with equipment that would be needed anyway — the Meyer Sound GALAXY™ 816 Network Platform — we were able to realize a spatial sound system without additional cost, as Spacemap Go works with all GALAXY processors.”
The Plenum is 15 meters wide by 30 meters long and is equipped with seating on both sides, two center turntables for showcasing cars and large doors for vehicle entry and exit. Distributed sound and spatial effects are powered by 16 UPM-1P™ loudspeakers, with low frequency effects from six 750-LFC™ low-frequency control elements flown as pairs between the video panels. In addition, full surface projection is possible on a 15-meter wall section, with directional sound supplied by four ULTRA-X20™ loudspeakers.
The two GALAXY 816 used for loudspeaker drive and optimization also serve as the hardware host for Spacemap Go. When the six show panels fold down and become large video screens for the guests seated in the stands, the sound comes not from the elongated sides of the Plenum but rather images from the center of each panel. Spacemap Go also can be used to have the voice follow a presenter’s movements, or to dynamically augment sounds of vehicles moving in the space.
“I can go with at least 16 Spacemap channels at individual positions,” says Endl. “I can tell the iPad ‘the vehicle is leaving now.’ The sound could cruise around the room at a predetermined speed, in a clearly defined time window. But if the vehicle is late and the sound doesn’t fit, you can quickly correct it with your finger.”
“Sound is the show effect par excellence. You can do 360-degree projections all you want, but it’s sound that gives you the goosebumps,” says Markus Endl.
Sophie Scholl, Audi’s project manager for ABEC, is responsible for all aspects of building operation and marketing. For her, the functionality and operability of the installed media technology was vital, and she is enthusiastic about the results regarding sound.
“We haven’t had anything like this before,” she says. “After all, we want to do dynamic vehicle presentations in the Plenum. That’s where sound supports us enormously, because it moves with us. It’s sensational.”
The Audi Brand Experience Center was created to showcase Audi automobiles as well as to host meetings and special events for dealers and customers. It also is available for limited rentals, but it is not open to airport travelers or the general public.