AIC25 Active In-Ceiling Speaker
40 W Treble (Class AB) + 40 W Bass (Class AB)
62 Hz - 25 kHz ("-6dB")
Accuracy of Frequency Response
± 2.5 dB (70 Hz - 18 kHz)
3 kg / 6.6 lb
1 x RCA Analog Input
1 x XLR Analog Input
1 x XLR Analog Output
AIC25 Active In-Ceiling Speaker
70 Hz - 18 kHz (± 2.5 dB)
Low cutoff -6dB
High cutoff -6dB
Peak SPL Maximum peak acoustic output per pair with music material at 1m.
Maximum peak acoustic output per pair with music material at 1m.
Short term max SPL Maximum short term sine wave acoustic output on axis in half space, averaged from 100 Hz to 3 kHz at 1 m.
Maximum short term sine wave acoustic output on axis in half space, averaged from 100 Hz to 3 kHz at 1 m.
Self-generated noise Self generated noise level in half space at 1 m on axis (A-weighted).
Self generated noise level in half space at 1 m on axis (A-weighted).
3 kg (6.6 lb)
> 200 Hz ≤1 %
40 W Class AB
2.2 kg (4.9 lb)
40 W Class AB
2.2 kg (4.9 lb)
100-240 VAC 50/60Hz
Signal processing section
Input RCA female input, unbalanced 10 kOhm.
RCA female input, unbalanced 10 kOhm.
Input XLR female input, balanced 10 kOhm.
XLR female input, balanced 10 kOhm.
Output “LINK OUT” XLR male output, balanced 10 kOhm.
“LINK OUT” XLR male output, balanced 10 kOhm.
For even more technical details please see product operating manual.
Designed to the same rigorous standards as all our high performance speakers, the AIC25 features extremely low distortion, superb neutrality and a sound pressure capability unequalled by any other in-ceiling loudspeaker of a similar size. Its solid, carefully dimensioned closed enclosure also gives superior control of bass reproduction and high frequency dispersion.
Match any acoustic environment
Ideal for installations where wall-mounting is not an option, the AIC25 can easily be retro-fitted to an existing construction. Amplification is supplied via a remote mounting individually calibrated RAM2 amplifier module, which features Room Response Controls for optimising the frequency response of the AIC25 to match any acoustic environment. No other in-ceiling speaker can guarantee such transparent and uncoloured performance, even in challenging spaces.
Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™) Technology
Room Response Compensation
Active crossover operating at low signal levels.
Audio electronic crossovers allow to split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to individual power amplifiers which then are connected to specific transducers optimized for a particular frequency band.
Active crossovers come in both digital and analogue varieties. Genelec digital active crossovers include additional signal processing, such as driver protection, delay, and equalization.
Genelec analogue active crossover filters contain electronic components that are operated at low signal levels suitable for power amplifier inputs. This is in contrast to passive crossovers that operate at the high signal levels of the power amplifier's outputs, having to handle high currents and in some cases high voltages.
In a typical 2-way system the active crossover needs two power amplifiers — one for the woofer and one for the tweeter.
The active crossover design offers multiple benefits:
- The frequency response becomes independent of any dynamic changes in the driver's electrical characteristics or the drive level.
- There is an increased flexibility and precision to adjust and fine tune each output frequency response for the specific drivers used.
- Each driver has its own signal processing and power amplifier. This isolates each driver from the drive signals handled by the other drivers, reducing inter-modulation distortion and overdriving problems.
- The ability to compensate for sensitivity variations between drivers.
- The possibility to compensate for the frequency and phase response anomalies associated with a driver’s characteristics within the intended pass-band.
- The flat frequency response of a high-quality active loudspeaker is a result of the combined effect of the crossover filter response, power amplifier responses and driver responses in a loudspeaker enclosure.
Using the active approach enables frequency response adjustments and optimization of the full loudspeaker system, placed in various room environments, without expensive external equalizers. The end result is a simpler, more reliable, efficient, consistent and precise active loudspeaker system.
Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™) for flat on- and off-axis response.
A revolutionary approach was taken by Genelec in 1983 with the development of its Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™) used at the time in an egg-shaped enclosure. The Genelec DCW technology developed and refined over more than 30 years greatly improves the performance of direct radiating multi-way monitors.
The DCW technology shapes the emitted wavefront in a controlled way, allowing predictable tailoring of the directivity (dispersion) pattern. To make the directivity uniform and smooth, the goal is to limit the radiation angle so that the stray radiation is reduced. It results in excellent flatness of the overall frequency response as well as uniform power response. This advanced DCW technology minimizes early reflections and provides a wide and controlled listening area achieving accurate sound reproduction on- and off-axis.
Minimized early reflections and controlled, constant directivity have another important advantage: the frequency balance of the room reverberation field is essentially the same as the direct field from the monitors. As a consequence, the monitoring system's performance is less dependent on room acoustic characteristics.
Sound image width and depth, critical components in any listening environment, are important not only for on-axis listening, but also off-axis. This accommodates not only the engineer doing his or her job, but also others in the listening field, as is so often the case in large control rooms.
DCW™ Technology key benefits:
- Flat on- and off-axis response for wider usable listening area
- Increased direct-to-reflected sound ratio for reduced control room coloration
- Improved stereo and sound stage imaging
- Increased drive unit sensitivity up to 6 dB
- Increased system maximum sound pressure level capacity
- Decreased drive unit distortion
- Reduced cabinet edge diffraction
- Reduced complete system distortion
Each transducer is driven by its own optimized amplifier.
Audio electronic crossovers allow to split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to individual power amplifiers which then are connected to specific transducers optimized for a particular frequency band.
In a typical 2-way loudspeaker system, the active crossover needs two power amplifiers — one for the woofer and one for the tweeter. The power amplifiers are connected directly to the drivers of an active loudspeaker, resulting in the power amplifier’s load becoming much simpler and well known. Each driver-specific power amplifier has only a limited frequency range to amplify (the power amplifier is placed after the active crossover) and this adds to the ease of design.
The active design principle offers multiple benefits:
- The power amplifiers are directly connected to the speaker drivers, maximizing the control exerted by the power amplifier’s damping on the driver’s voice coil, reducing the consequences of dynamic changes in the driver electrical characteristics. This may improve the transient response of the system.
- There is a reduction in the power amplifier output requirement. With no energy lost in the passive crossover filter components, the amplifier power output requirements are reduced considerably (by up to 1/2 in some cases) without any reduction in the acoustic power output of the loudspeaker system. This can reduce costs and increase audio quality and system reliability.
- No loss between amplifier and driver units results in maximum acoustic efficiency
- Active technology can achieve superior sound output vs. size vs. low frequency cut-off performance
- All loudspeakers are delivered as a factory aligned system (amplifiers, crossover electronics and enclosure-driver systems)
Sophisticated drive unit protection circuitry for safe operation.
When working in critical audio production environments it is essential that monitoring systems remain reliable and functional at all times. One of the main reasons behind Genelec’s excellent success in broadcasting environments is the reliability of our products and a key element behind the reliability is the internal protection circuitry found in all products since 1978.
The protection circuitry prevents driver failures by detecting signal levels, and in case of sudden peaks or constantly too high levels, taking the signal level down automatically. Of course this feature does not affect the sound quality in any way when working within the specifications of the loudspeaker, but only prevents inadequate input signals from breaking the loudspeaker.
Protection circuitry features and benefits:
- Reduces the output level when required, (e.g. when driver voice coil temperature reaches the safe limit) which highly improves the system reliability
- Appropriate protection circuitry design in every loudspeaker and subwoofer enables to maximise system output sound level.
Precise room response compensation for optimizing in-room performance.
The interaction between room acoustic and loudspeaker radiation is complex. Each room changes somewhat the monitor’s response in a unique way, e.g. reflective vs. damped rooms, or placement against a wall vs. on a stand away from the walls.
All Genelec loudspeaker systems feature room response adjustments to compensate for the room influences and retrieve a flat frequency response at the listening position.
Genelec analogue loudspeaker systems provide versatile Room Response Controls. They include (depending on models):
- Bass Roll-Off and Bass Tilt
- Treble Tilt and Treble Roll-Off
- Bass Level
- Midrange Level
- Treble Level
- Desktop Control
At low frequencies two main controls are provided. The Bass Tilt control, which acts as a shelving filter together with the Bass Roll-off control allowing you to optimize the low and very low frequency response of the system in different installations. Bass, midrange and treble level controls are provided in large systems. These controls allow to optimize the relative balance between the various pass bands.
The operating manual and datasheet of each loudspeaker contains a list of preferred room response control settings for different installations. These have been specified out of long practical experience and measurements of various kind of typical acoustic environments.
Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems
Genelec SAM Systems offer a comprehensive, solution-oriented, intelligently networked product range which all feature Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM™) software and its automatic calibration system called AutoCal™.
Genelec AutoCal provides the industry’s first integrated process for complete automated measurement, analysis, and adjustment of every monitor on the GLM control network. The system measures the response in the listening area and applies relevant compensation in the low and low-mid frequencies to minimise the detrimental room acoustic anomalies as well as the differences between various listening positions. AutoCal also aligns relative levels, time-of-flight, as well as adjusts correct crossover phase (called AutoPhase) for all subwoofers on the network.
The Acoustic Response Editor provides accurate graphical display of the measured response, filter compensation and the resulting system response for each monitor, with full manual control of acoustic settings.
DocumentsOperating Manual AIC25 Datasheet AIC25 Rack Adapter Installation Manual AIC25 (RAM2 amplifier)
DownloadsLine Drawings (PDF) AIC25 Line Drawings (DWG) AIC25 Line Drawings (PDF) RAM2 Amplifier Line Drawings (DWG) RAM2 Amplifier Line Drawings (PDF) RM2 Rack Adapter Line Drawings (DWG) RM2 Rack Adapter
Genelec is the magic ingredient in Farang’s recipe for success
Farang was the first restaurant to be opened a decade ago by BW Restaurants Oy, a private company owned by well-known Finnish chef, Matti Wikberg.
L’Oréal Academy brightens up training with Genelec
Beauty and cosmetics giant, L’Oréal, has established L’Oréal Academies across the world to train hairdressers in the latest techniques and trends, and on how to utilise the latest L’Oréal products. One of the most recent academies is situated in the vibrant Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Thanks to integration specialists, Garrett Audiovisuais, the L’Oréal Academy, Lisbon, has become the group’s first digital academy, and the first to deploy high quality Genelec loudspeakers throughout their training rooms.
Genelec serves up gourmet audio at JNcQUOI Asia, Lisbon
Easily the most buzzed-about restaurant opening in Lisbon in recent months, JNcQUOI Asia continues the trend for high-fashion gastronomy in the Portuguese capital set by the original JNcQUOI in 2017. The rampant success of the ‘très chic’ fashion and dining space in the former Teatro Tivoli convinced the owners that there was room in the market for a second high-level dining experience, but this time with a very different twist – JNcQUOI Asia. Like its original counterpart, the new venue is defined by grand scale, stunning design, multiple spaces, and a state-of-the-art Genelec sound system designed and installed by Garrett Audiovisuais.
Since their beginnings in 2009, the company has opened seven more restaurants and a cocktail bar in the Finnish capital of Helsinki and employs around 200 people. Farang, their flagship venue, has recently relocated to stunning new premises spread over two floors offering both public and private dining facilities plus a large bar. A key part of the overall experience is the soundscape, delivered by a comprehensive 4000 Series Genelec sound system, designed and installed by renowned Finnish AV integration specialists, 4Business Oy.
“The brief from Matti was very clear,” explains 4Business’s Janne Lankinen: “With the new premises, Farang is set to make even more of an impact on the Helsinki restaurant scene, so sound quality - along with everything else - had to be absolutely top notch. Genelec was an obvious choice for us as it matched all of the quality and reliability criteria – and Matti was already familiar with the brand as he’d used Genelec almost exclusively for his other restaurant projects.
“The layout and the surfaces of Farang were a bit of a challenge from an audio perspective,” Lankinen describes. “The feel is quite industrial with lots of exposed concrete and metalwork. There are no convenient - and sound-absorbing - false ceilings or wall panels to hide behind, so we had to make sure that all cabling, mountings and installation were done properly as everything was visible. It also meant we had to be very careful with our system design in order to minimise unwanted reflections and reverberations. The restaurant is situated in a building which also houses newly renovated offices, so we also had to ensure that there was no sound conduction through the structure to the other premises in the building, especially for the low frequencies. Finally, the restaurant is spread over two floors with a very large opening between them; not only did we need to design a system that would cover the whole area evenly with no dead spots or hotspots, but we were inevitably confronted with problems of sound leakage between the two floors.”
Lankinen and his team conducted exhaustive simulations to determine coverage before specifying a system comprising a total of 54 active Genelec loudspeakers and subwoofers. “We decided on the analogue 4000 Series loudspeakers - with Symetrix Prism DSP processors equipped with Dante I/O expanders for matrixing, EQ and delay - as it was a useful approach to optimise the overall cost,” notes Lankinen. “Our aim was to ensure that when you move around the space, the audio experience remains similar throughout, and that the sound pressure would not drop at any point in a way that you’d feel that the music was disappearing.
“We used a mixture of 4020s, 4030s and the powerful 4040s depending on required throw and maximum SPL. Every single speaker was meticulously aligned and DSP was adjusted individually for the best possible results. That, together with acoustic treatment to minimise leakage between floors has enabled us to achieve a system that works beautifully at low sound pressure levels throughout the restaurant, and still has enough power in reserve to be turned up when required for a real party atmosphere.”
For the 7300 Series smart active subwoofers that are mounted in the ceiling, 4Business designed a custom mounting solution that is mechanically isolated from the structure. This ensures that any vibrations are conducted into Sylomer absorbers rather than the hollow core slab which might cause unwanted disturbance elsewhere in the building. When it came to calibrating the subwoofers, 4Business used Genelec’s GLM software with AutoCal to speed up the final adjustment process and ensure that every element of the system was sounding its best.
Responsibility and sustainability are key principles for Farang, and Genelec supports and communicates these values.
“I’m delighted with the results,” reports Lankinen. “The audio system supports the Farang brand as a top-class, place-to-be venue in Helsinki. What’s more, responsibility and sustainability are key principles for Farang and BW Restaurants, and Genelec supports and communicates these values consistently, making them a perfect match. The atmosphere in the restaurant is social and relaxed thanks to carefully thought-out playlists and high quality sound support.”
We have crystal clear audio throughout that sounds amazing, yet doesn’t get in the way of conversation.
Matti Wikberg echoes Lankinen’s sentiments entirely. “All my goals have been achieved, and frankly, exceeded,” he admits. “Janne and his team identified the challenges from the outset and solved them beautifully. We have crystal clear audio throughout that sounds amazing, yet doesn’t get in the way of conversation, whether you’re two or ten people at the table. The right atmosphere enhances the experience immeasurably, and that’s what we’ve achieved here.”
Garrett was initially contacted to provide an ambient sound solution for the entrance hall area. However, once the discussions started in earnest, Garrett saw an opportunity to create something unique.
The Lisbon headquarters wanted to be the first digital Academy – and offer a full media experience including 3D goggles for virtual salons, QR codes for product searching and other digital media. It was also an opportunity to install a proper, high quality audio system throughout the venue, not just in the foyer. Garrett recommended Genelec as the best solution for their needs, particularly for the four training rooms.
“Previously L’Oréal used to rent in equipment for all of their events,” explains Garrett’s Carlos Melo who was closely involved in the project. “However, after discussions with us, they decided that it would be better to have their own in-house solution rather than having to rely on external AV companies, as it would be cheaper in the long term and more convenient. They also knew that they could rely on us for support whenever necessary. We recommended Genelec as it delivers everything they required: excellent intelligibility when using microphones, extremely high quality low level ambient sound, and can still blow people away when the DJ comes in!”
There are four rooms in total over two floors which are used largely for training but also for parties and other events. They can operate independently or combined in any configuration. The ground floor and first floor control rooms communicate so that L’Oréal can even host a single event across the two floors if necessary – since all audio and video can be streamed live across all four spaces, making the system extremely flexible.
For the audio system, Garrett specified two Genelec 8050B loudspeakers and one 7070A subwoofer per room. The 8050B was designed as a studio monitoring loudspeaker, thus guaranteeing absolutely pristine audio quality at any playback level and at any listening position in the room. The 7070A subwoofer offers extremely clean and precise low frequency performance, combining both low distortion and impressively high SPL capability. The speakers and subwoofers are all active, making installation very straightforward with no amp racks or long cable runs to worry about. Additionally, a number of AIC25 ceiling speakers have been installed throughout the lobby and other public areas.
According to the Academy supervisor, Sofia Fernandes, the new audio system has made a huge difference, both in operational terms as well as quality. “These rooms are in use every day in a variety of combinations,” she explains. “Set up is now a piece of cake: all I have to do is plug in the microphone and we’re essentially ready to go. On/off and levelcan all be controlled remotely via a tablet, or if we have a DJ in, they just run it all from the desk. The sound is amazing, whether it’s speech or music, at high level or low levels. In fact, now the system is in, I simply never have to worry about it – I just turn it on and it works. Room combining is also very straightforward, so there’s no doubt that it has helped me in my job. We no longer have to deal with the disruption of external AV companies coming in and out – even if they did a good job, it’s still one more thing to deal with. Now we just manage it all ourselves, and probably with even better results. It all looks and feels extremely professional and is perfectly integrated with the rest of our systems. Garrett has done a wonderful job, so yes, we’re very pleased.”
“From an integrator’s point of view, we believe that Genelec offers a number of advantages for projects like these,” reveals Carlos Melo. “Firstly, we know that the sound quality is truly second to none; secondly, because most of their models are active, it’s very easy to install – and the new networked Smart IP models will be easier still – and finally, we know that once they go in, the equipment is so reliable that, unless the client wants to upgrade or change anything, we probably won’t hear from them again for the next twenty years!”
“It was a massive project,” confirms Garrett’s sales director, Raúl Fernandes. “We were involved from the very start, which was extremely helpful, but the pressure for everything to be perfect was possibly worse for the second venue than for the first! It’s always the problem when the first job is so successful – the second has to be even better…”
With the capacity to accommodate over 300 people, JNcQUOI Asia is not just about the food. It’s a place where people come to see and to be seen, offering four different spaces for customers to relax and soak up the atmosphere: a large bar with comfortable seating – which also hosts a DJ booth; the main dining room dominated by a huge, golden dragon skeleton suspended from the central glass atrium; a glamourous sushi bar; and a comfortable terrace and interior garden. Garrett supplied an extremely high quality, zoned audio solution throughout with full control.
The first area is the bar, itself separated into three separate zones: the DJ area which utilises a pair of Genelec G Fives offering professional active loudspeaker performance but with flexible XLR and RCA connectivity, and a pair of 5041 in-wall subwoofers behind the DJ booth; the main bar area which is equipped with six 4030 and six of the larger 4040 installation loudspeakers plus three 5041 subwoofers hidden in columns; and finally the toilets – a design haven in themselves! – where Garrett installed four AIC25 in-ceiling speakers.
The challenge for the bar area was to provide sufficient coverage for what is a very open space without sacrificing quality for SPL. The solution also had to be as discreet and as aesthetically pleasing as possible. “We spent a long time getting loudspeaker placement absolutely right for optimum results, and then we fine-tuned the system with the loudspeakers’ own on-board room response controls plus EQ and delay via a matrix. Our service manager, Luis Tavares, did a fantastic job of tuning the system, especially here in this room,” recounts Fernandes who also notes that there is an output to each speaker enabling every speaker to be controlled individually for maximum precision. “When the system was commissioned, we turned the music up pretty loud and I invited the owner to come and stand in the middle of the room with me. We could still carry on a conversation – I told him that this is why we use Genelec!”
“A good live band actually sounds amazing as the system is so well calibrated to the space.”
It’s also possible to have live music in the bar although the system wasn’t initially designed with live music in mind. “The owner changed his mind at the last minute! Fortunately, we had enough inputs and outputs still available to make it possible – we just had to add extra microphones and a digital mixer,” says Fernandes. “A good live band actually sounds amazing as the system is so well calibrated to the space. It also helps that there are lots of nice, absorbent surfaces in the bar area to reduce the amount of reflections.”
“The larger 4040s gave us the extended bass response we required whilst still remaining aesthetically pleasing.”
For the restaurant area, Garrett opted for a total of fourteen 4040s. The biggest issue here was the acoustics, as the outside wall is mostly glass and there is a huge glass atrium overhead that houses the rather magnificent dragon. “As there was no room for subs in the restaurant, the larger 4040s gave us the extended bass response we required whilst still remaining aesthetically pleasing. The most challenging aspect was managing the very reflective environment. Fortunately, Genelec products excel in that respect, and once again we were able to calibrate the system very precisely for optimum results – in other words, intelligible, clean audio at levels where diners can still hold a conversation at normal, comfortable levels.”
The project manager for JNcQUOI Asia was Garrett’s Mário Trigueiros, who also oversaw the original JNcQUOI project, and he was keen to point out how Genelec’s GLM software had helped the Garrett team optimise the loudspeaker system performance for different situations. “GLM is an amazing tool for system calibration,” he says. “We used it to perform all the measurements that were then turned into presets accessible via the control system. We’ve done all of the hard work upfront to ensure that the system is fully optimised for every situation, be it background music, a DJ or a live band.”
Garrett has provided control for all four zones, giving access to level, mute and source selection for the audio system, plus lighting and temperature. There are presets for daytime and night-time ambience settings. Access is via strategically placed wall panels or a mobile phone app.
Garrett also went to the trouble of measuring the sound outside the restaurant to ensure that there was absolutely no issue for the hotel next door, some of whose rooms border directly onto the bar. “We had to ensure that there was no sound leakage whatsoever. Once again, Genelec is an excellent choice in this respect because the loudspeakers are extremely efficient with tightly controlled directivity. Listeners have the impression that the system is loud because intelligibility is high which enables us to keep SPLs down – which is great for the neighbours!”
Fernandes and Trigueiros are proud of what they have achieved at JNcQUOI Asia. “It’s another fantastic showcase for both us and Genelec,” confirms Trigueiros. “Genelec is a very high quality brand, ideally suited to this kind of high-end environment where failure of any kind, or sub-par performance would not be tolerated. Nevertheless, the active system design is a bonus – firstly because it saves on space and makes for a much cleaner installation, and secondly, in the unlikely event that one does go down, it doesn’t compromise the rest of the system. That is very reassuring for the owners, although we’ve never had a failure yet. The owners are thrilled with the results and so are we. You only have to look at the reviews to realise that the concept is a success at every level.”
The New Children’s Hospital (HUS) in Helsinki is one of a kind. Over a million Finns contributed funds to build the new €170M state-ofthe-art facility which welcomed its first patients in late 2018. Focused on demanding, specialised health care for children, the new facility is a case study in patient-centric design that uses art and play – both recognised as key elements for a ‘healing environment’ - combined with the latest digital technology to provide the highest quality medical care in a safe, reassuring environment for the children and their families.
Part of the hospital’s innovative approach included the development of a buildingwide soundscape to create a soothing sonic environment for patients and staff. Genelec is proud to have contributed to this unique endeavour with the provision of nearly 100 loudspeakers, including 39 Genelec 8430A IP SAM™ loudspeakers which serve the soundscape project and were donated outright. Indeed, the soundscape design was recently awarded the Grand Prix in the soundscapes and ambient sound category of the 2019 International Sound Awards (ISA) in Hamburg.
The project was led by paediatrics specialist, Pekka Lahdenne, head of digital and innovations services at HUS who engaged Miikka Peltomaa, an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist and keen musician. Dr Peltomaa’s brief was to create the best possible sound experience in one of the world’s most modern children’s hospitals. “My role was kind of CEO of the project,” he says with a smile. “I chose the professionals and collaborators for the venture, for which we had no budget, begged for donations (which was fun and easy) and looked after the project as it developed.
The project steering group consisted of me and Dr Outi Ampuja. Outi is an adjunct professor at the university of Helsinki and a recognised expert in noise analysis and the effects of noise, sound and silence on the human body. Her input was invaluable.”
The idea was to create a soundscape based on the visual theme of each of the hospital’s eight floors, starting in the underground car park. Inspiration was drawn mostly from the natural world as well as the much-loved Finnish Moomin stories; the ocean theme for the underground carpark gives way to the shore at ground level, through valleys, forests and mountains all the way up the stars on level eight. Dr Peltomaa recruited Antti Ikonen, Head of Sound in New Media at Aalto university and ten of his MA students for the mammoth task of developing the content.
“Firstly, the sound is generative, not looping, to avoid stress and ear fatigue,” explains Antti. “All the audio material is hosted in a single computer which generates and renders the soundscapes before feeding them out to each floor and location via the hospital’s IP network. Each soundscape contains ingredients from real sound environments like the ocean, the forest, the jungle, blended with all sorts of other elements that we either created or recorded ourselves or sourced from sound libraries. It was a huge undertaking.”
“The design and planning started before the building even existed,” he continues. “We discussed with the architects, doctors, electrical engineers, IT people, and Genelec how to implement this holistic technological system. The idea was not to fill the building with background music but to create a discreet, lowlevel ambience that is pleasurable and soothing for the kids but won’t disturb nurses or other staff.” A crucial element of the design was speaker placement, which was determined at the very outset of the project and effectively designed into the building to facilitate cabling and infrastructure. The soundscape is delivered via 39 Genelec 8430A IP SAM loudspeakers and ten AIC25 in-ceiling loudspeakers distributed throughout the hospital’s lobbies and corridors from the underground car park all the way up to the top floor. They are specifically not located in proximity to the nurses’ workstations so as not to disturb hospital staff, and neither are they found in patients’ rooms, operating theatres, meeting rooms or any other space that has a specific function.
“The huge advantage of using IP networked loudspeakers is that there’s no need for traditional audio cables when connecting the loudspeakers to the sound source (in this case an Apple Mac Pro computer running the audio engine). Without IP audio, the sound system would have required hundreds of metres of audio cable and would have been vulnerable to many kinds of interference,” explains Antti.
“In an IP audio network, the signal is conveyed as data via the ethernet cables of the computer network. In other words, the sound system is utilising a network which exists anyway. This, of course, is a huge cost saving. And last but not least, there’s no loss in the signal chain and the audio is reproduced perfectly in full quality.”
Jon-Patrik Kuhlefelt, sound technician and digital audio specialist from the Sibelius Academy at Helsinki’s University of the Arts, also played an important role in the technical system design and content planning for the soundscape. “The heart of the system is the Mac Pro running a Max/MSP patch,” he confirms. “A Focusrite REDNET PCIeR audio interface in the Mac Pro feeds Dante streams to a BSS BLU-806DA DSP processor, that is used mainly for muting all the loudspeakers in case of a fire alarm. From there, the outputs are fed to the Genelec 8430A IP SAM loudspeakers via AES67. Finally, we have a Focusrite REDNET AM2 feeding the AIC25s.”
“All system tuning and individual loudspeaker configuration is done directly in the Max patch rather than in the loudspeakers themselves, for the simple reason that if ever we need to exchange a loudspeaker for any reason, all we have to do is swap it out, configure the IP address and select the correct input stream – the new loudspeaker is automatically configured as the old one was, so there is much less risk of altering the sonics of the system by accident. Finally, since the Mac Pro is connected to the hospital’s existing IT infrastructure, we can easily control the system from anywhere in the hospital via VNC (remote desktop) using the hospital’s Wi-Fi. That’s a big help when working with a large distributed system like this.”
Another point worth mentioning is that because all of the Genelec speakers are active, there is no need to worry about finding room for amplifier racks. “There are nearly 100 Genelec loudspeakers throughout the building in total – in addition to those used for the soundscape project, there are over fifty 4000 Series loudspeakers (mainly the compact 4020Cs) found in meeting rooms and conference areas throughout the hospital – that would have been a lot of amplifiers to house!” says Miikka Peltomaa.
The final word goes to Antti Ikonen: “Genelec was an ideal partner for such an ambitious and challenging project as the New Children’s Hospital soundscape. In addition to providing the loudspeakers, Genelec helped the sound design team to resolve the technical issues which were inevitable in such pioneering work. We’re all very proud of what we’ve achieved here and hope it will be the blueprint for many projects to come.”