Western liquor brands may be famous in China, but their popularity within the
People’s Republic is nothing compared to Maotai. A kind of Baijiu, or Chinese wine,
the beverage originates from the Qing dynasty and is produced in a town of the
same name, located in the north of Guizhou province. There, Kweichow Maotai
Group employs nearly 30,000 people in an industry that is quintessentially Chinese.

When the company broke ground on the construction of a new multi-purpose
auditorium and conference centre, with 2,600-seats and two balconies, it followed a
path that ultimately led to Renkus-Heinz Iconyx.

The auditorium itself is large – the audience area alone comprises more than 10,000
square feet (1000 square meters), with seats for 2,600 audience members. The
seats rise over three levels with two shallow but steep balconies, and while
perfectly even audio coverage was a must, the room presented a number of
acoustical challenges. Although some acoustic treatment was applied to the rear
wall of the venue, reflections from that combined with further reflections from the
balcony fascias delivered an overall reverberant atmosphere. In addition, a key
condition of the project was that the auditorium’s decor needed to be protected,
meaning any system installed for sound reinforcement had to be as discreet as
possible. Finally, two screens are located to the left and right of the stage, creating
restrictions in terms of loudspeaker placement.

A more intelligent solution was required, and Tico delivered it in the shape of
Iconyx digitally steered beam technology. Providing core coverage, two self-
powered IC2 enclosures are flown above the stage, in the centre of the proscenium.
Each IC2 is capable of delivering as many as four individually controllable beams,
ensuring targeted coverage towards the audience while avoiding the two reflective
balcony fronts. Meanwhile, at the left and right of the stage are six hard-to-spot IC
Live columns, mounted three per-side to create fully steerable left and right
channels. Four DRS18-2B subwoofers add low-end support.

Additional coverage is achieved via a selection Renkus-Heinz speakers including
four TRX121/12 two way, 12-inch enclosures, and five CF61-2 cabinets mounted
within the lip of the stage to provide a discreet front-fill solution. On-stage sound is
distributed via six TRX121/9 two-way loudspeakers with extra low-end from two
CF15S subwoofers.

Located at the rear of the auditorium, looking out over the first floor seating, a
dedicated control room houses a Yamaha CL5 digital mixer.

A Biamp Tesira server sits at the heart of the set-up, with the CL5 connected via
Dante Virtual Soundcard. Simplified remote control is also available. Elsewhere in
the venue, sources include Audio-Technica condenser microphones, eight channels
of Sennheiser wireless mic coverage, and conferencing systems from Telex.

“We have paid close attention to the implementation of every stage of this project,”
Lu Cheng of Tico Digital Group recalls, “and we have participated in training the
operators throughout this period of evaluation. The owners have now experienced
the system in use for more than six months and they are very satisfied. After two
years I can now say that this our landmark project.”