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Recent Sports Facility Projects

Thomas S. Friedman • InstallationsMay 2021 • May 7, 2021

Sonic installations in sports facilities is no picnic, often providing complex challenges to integrators and system designers. These often entail working with cavernous open-air spaces, to deliver an acceptable listening experience all fans, whether courtside, in the upper “nosebleed” seats or beneath a second/third deck.

Meanwhile, with the rise of multi-use facilities, such as baseball one day, football the next — or basketball/hockey shared with concerts, the situation becomes more complex. Another factor to consider is the exuberance of the fans themselves, where the P.A. must be heard above crowds that can easily peak at 105 dB or more.

With that in mind, we decided to look into some recent sports facility projects — each different but all with successful outcomes that worked for all concerned — integrators, teams, management, and most of all, the fans.

The Budweiser Events Center now features an L-Acoustics rig with 37 A10 Wide constant-curvature enclosures

Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, CO

Home to the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles, the multipurpose Budweiser Events Center (BEC) arena hosts everything from hockey, basketball and indoor football to concerts, rodeo, family shows and more.

BEC owner Larimer County took advantage of Covid-mandated downtime to improve the arena, including replacing an outmoded distributed point-source speaker system with an L-Acoustics A-Series installation, designed and integrated by Denver-based Brown Note Productions (BNP).

“BEC wanted to enhance the fan experience and provide high-impact audio for their events,” recalls Zach Richards, BNP’s director of integration. “We submitted a design proposal that would deliver exceptional performance and output with a minimal number of loudspeakers to stay within the required budget. This steered us toward L-Acoustics’ A-Series, which could cover sizable seating areas with relatively small array clusters, yet deliver clear, consistent audio. Working with L-Acoustics’ sports venue team, we used Soundvision 3D modeling software to develop a system featuring A10 Wide enclosures with SB18i subs. Moreover, with LA12X and LA4X amplified controllers, the entire system could be powered on just five amplifiers.”

In addition to the complete loudspeaker system, BNP’s final design included system control via Q-SYS, a Dante infrastructure, structural engineering and amplification for auxiliary zones.

The new system employs 37 A10 Wide constant-curvature enclosures, split into nine three-enclosure arrays and two dual-enclosure arrays flown around the center scoreboard, plus two three-enclosure arrays beneath the scoreboard to cover the ice rink. Eight flown SB18i subs deliver ample low-end, while two coaxial X12 speakers supply fill coverage.

An L-Acoustics LA4X and four LA12X amplified controllers power the rig. These are being fed from a QSC Q-SYS Core 110F configured with the L-Acoustics plug-in for remote amplifier monitoring and control.

BNP was faced with an aggressive installation timeline, “yet we pulled all new cable, hung loudspeakers, rack amplifiers and DSP and were making noise about two and a half weeks before the team’s first practices and season opener,” says BNP integration project manager Matt Bauer. “It was crucial that we passed signal and listened to the P.A.’s coverage before the ice went in, as some of the P.A. would be unreachable for about two weeks after the ice was installed. When we fired it up for the first time, we were thrilled. The P.A. did exactly what Soundvision said it would do and we didn’t have to make a single adjustment.”

BEC was impressed with the results, Bauer adds. “The coverage throughout the arena is seamless and the system has tons of power. Also, this is the first time BEC has had subwoofers as part of its house system, and I know the extended bandwidth will add some impact and energy to their games.”

Budweiser Events Center Arena

  • Capacity: 7,200
  • Key Components: L-Acoustics A-Series speakers
  • Integrator: Brown Note Productions

Upgrades at Del Valle’s stadium included a new video scoreboard and an E-V audio rig. The inset photo shows detail of the right-side hang with eight XLD291 line-arrays and four X12i-128 subs

Del Valle Football Stadium, Austin, TX

Del Valle High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium got a full AV makeover. According to Brent Thornhill, the development manager at integrator Southwest Building Systems, “the project was part of a big upgrade to the whole stadium and was the first North American installation of the new Dynacord MXE5 matrix mix engine.”

Flanking the large end zone video scoreboard are two arrays of eight Electro-Voice XLD291 line-arrays and four Electro-Voice X12i-128 dual-18 subs in a cardioid configuration — all fully weatherized, IP55-rated against dust and water. Three Dynacord IPX10:4 amps power the arrays and an IPX20:4 handles the subwoofer stack.

The 96k Hz MXE5 is a 24×24 matrix zone mixer with 12 mic/line inputs, eight line outs and 24 Dante audio channels. In addition to complete integration with SONICUE sound system software, the MXE5’s advanced feature set provides professional audio mixing and routing capabilities, along with system-wide control via PC software or Dynacord new TPC-1 touch panel controller. Located in the press box, the TPC-1 offers easy access to the system’s power status, presets, input sources and gains.

Other components include E-V PolarChoice announce mics, two E-V RE3 wireless systems — a headworn referee system and a handheld mic for speeches and vocals. A Telex SoundMate assistive listening system meets ADA requirements, while an RTS BTR-800 intercom handles production team communications.

Del Valle Football Stadium

  • Capacity: 4,400
  • Key Components: E-V XLD291 line-arrays, X12i-128 subs; Dynacord IPX10:4 and IPX20:4 amps and MXE5 mix engine
  • Integrator: Southwest Building Systems

Santiago del Estero’s new stadium features eight hangs, each with 12 STS Pro Audio V15+ line arrays — all with Powersoft amplification

Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estero, Argentina

In April 2018, the government of Santiago del Estero and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) began drawing up plans for a new stadium. Although plans to have the facility host the 2020 Copa América (America Cup soccer championship) were derailed due to Covid, the stadium was completed nevertheless.

The finished project is a cylindrical covered stadium with a capacity of 28,000 seats. It is also the country’s first stadium to be designed with the sound system in mind from the early stages of construction stage, making it one of the most future-proof venues in Argentina. The audio portion was handled by Equaphon Sistemas de Sonido SRL, an Argentine company with more than 45 years of pro audio experience.

“In this type of venue, the safety of the equipment is a determining factor,” said Rubén Branca, Equaphon’s managing director, noting that all Powersoft amplifier platforms have achieved EN 54-16 certification, meeting the testing and performance criteria for use as voice alarm and P.A. systems.

A longtime Powersoft rep, Equaphon was pleased with the performance of the system at Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades. “The monitoring functions of ArmoníaPlus in particular, such as impedance measurement, lets the user verify the operation of all speaker systems at once, which is invaluable in an installation as complex as this.”

The main sound system features stadium voice, emergency and paging functions. A total of 19 Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D amplifier platforms cover the majority of the stadium, with two Mezzo 322 AD and two Mezzo 604 A for some of the smaller rooms. A Xilica Solaro FR1 DSP and XTouch control system centralizes IP audio processing, distribution and management.

Working with acoustic simulations, the team decided to cover this stadium seating by hanging eight arrays from the ceiling, each with 12 Equaphon-manufactured STS Pro Audio Touring Series V15+ cabinets. This active 2-way line array (10” neodymium LF; 1.4” exit HF) is normally powered by a Powersoft D-Cell504 IS module. Yet as the enclosures were to be permanently hung outdoors, the speakers were modified to become biamped passive boxes, driven via Powersoft Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D, which can power six cabinets. Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D are also employed to feed fill 100-volt speakers under the upper decks, as well as STS wall and ceiling speakers in the public areas and press boxes.

Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades

  • Capacity: 28,000
  • Key Components: Powersoft Quattrocanali amplifiers; STS Pro Audio Touring Series V15 speakers
  • Integrator: Equaphon

 

 

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