Istanbul AirportSet to become the world’s largest airport, the US$11bn Istanbul Airport is located on outskirts of Istanbul where it will eventually handle up to 200m passengers – eclipsing the former Ataturk Airport.

The new airport uses biometric screening, advanced passport control, smart kiosks with augmented reality, and green construction and operations throughout. Its vast space and hi-tech operation required a very specific audio system...

Istanbul AirportAccompanying the largest Airfield Ground Lighting System in the world, integration company Titan has installed a sound system that addresses the acoustic obstacles presented by the vast space. To this end, Titan consulted with AtlasIED, which supplied much of the equipment for the audio network.

‘AtlasIED asked us if we would consider working with Renkus-Heinz to provide us with design support throughout the project,’ recalls Titan CEO, Bulent Akinci. ‘That was essential because most other brands had a lack of design support.’

Independent consultant Ricardo Castro from RCOE developed a system design for the building, in which Phase 1 placed 467 Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5-series digitally steered line arrays around the check-in area, the five piers that deliver passengers to the gates, and the baggage claim area. Subsequent phases will cover the duty-free lounge and other areas as construction continues.

‘The check-in area presented a considerable challenge because it’s so big, so complex, and the ceiling is so high,’ Castro explains. ‘The baggage reclaim area is also a challenge because it’s big, yet the ceiling is low, so it required very tight beams for the sound to reach all of the people. Furthermore, in each pier there was the issue of perfectly delaying and synchronising all of the arrays. This is a considerable problem when we’re talking about a distance of over 800m across a single pier.’

Castro used the Iconyx’ beam-steering to divide the large zones into small ‘virtual’ areas that are acoustically independent: ‘We then assumed points at each new small area as the zero reference and starting point for synchronising all of the next zones,’ he recalls.

Istanbul AirportFor the main check-in area, Castro specified 16 Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC32-24-RD digitally steerable line arrays, aiming the beams along the check-in desks, toward the main wall of the passenger entry area, and away from the reflective counter tops. Sixteen IC16-8-RD arrays extend coverage to the main entrances with another 26 IC8-RD columns installed on the top of the counters, or positioned behind the main IC32-24-RD arrays, fill in the remaining areas.

The baggage claim area is served by 16 IC32-24-RD arrays mounted at regular intervals and directed toward the conveyor belts. Nineteen IC24-16-RDs cover the greeting area up to the exit door columns for the arrival area.

Each of the five piers that bring passengers to the gates is equipped with 30 IC16-8-RD line arrays, installed in two parallel lines at regular intervals along the piers’ 800m-long walkways and aimed in the same direction.

‘This was the first time we had done a big project using Renkus-Heinz; it is probably also the largest line array application we’ve completed in general,’ Akinci says. ‘The beam-steering technology is a must-have for this type of building. It ensures that whether you’re right by the speaker or 80m away, the sound pressure level is the same. And because the beams are steerable, you only have to project the sound to where you need it. With less reflections, you are populating less air molecules, and so the result is less reverberation.’

The sound system uses a Dante network that runs over the airport’s central LAN but is separate from the overall airport network. Using Dante on a system this large presented additional challenges: ‘Without knowing at the time, we’d thought we’d done the right thing by splitting the network and system design up into seven sections, but we later learnt that there were limitations in terms of how many nodes you could have per Dante controller,’ Akinci says.

‘There were a lot of design changes, but nothing so radical that it really threw a spanner in the works,’ he reports. ‘ There’s absolutely no doubt that it was the right decision to go with Renkus-Heinz. However, the product itself is very important, but even more important is the people that you’re dealing with. Norbert Bau, Ricardo Castro and the other people supporting us on the Renkus-Heinz part of this project really made it a success.’

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