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Wimbledon Championships Match Up with Martin Audio

FOH Staff • News • July 7, 2008

WIMBLEDON, England – The second phase of the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s three-year plan to transform the Center Court at Wimbledon includes the installation of a major new public address system. The dilemma facing Jon Berry from RG Jones Sound Engineering, the All England Club’s long-term pro audio contractors, was in finding a system that could be installed on a temporary basis for this year’s championships, knowing that immediately after the event it would have to be removed in preparation for the third phase.

A soffit will be added to the underside of the grandstand along with new roof trusses so a retractable roof can be added in time for the 2009 Championships (along with more comfortable seating). This will be complete with a moving, sliding section, carried on 10 trusses.

After going roofless in 2007, Center Court has assumed a more traditional look following the installation of the permanent non-moveable new roof. At the same time, the seating capacity will increase by 1,200 to 15,000, and the East and North stands have been equipped with upgraded leisure facilities.

“We approached a number of different manufacturers,” reveals RG Jones’ sales and installation dept. manager. “The constraint we were working under was the requirement that all speakers had to be located in the fixed part of the roof and provide even coverage throughout, without feedback from the Umpire’s mic and presentation mics.” But there is so much air conditioning ductwork carried in the roof that this proved difficult.

Other options were considered, but RG Jones persuaded the Club to adopt a surface element approach. And of all the manufacturers, Martin Audio came back with the most well-supported and cost-effective solution.

“The original consultant’s spec had multiple rings of ceiling speakers using five different models which would have entailed high installation costs,” says Martin Audio’s Peter Child. “After studying the venue drawings, we proposed a simpler and easier to install system, using front and rear facing AM10 loudspeakers which offered uniform coverage and good intelligibility.”

The company requisitioned 71 of the AM10s, which have been specifically designed for use in stadiums and arenas where high SPL and weather resistance are critical.

A vertical trapezoid, the AM10 is horizontally- formatted to reduce sightline obstruction. Housed inside the weatherproof enclosure is a 300W 10in (250mm) LF driver coupled with a 1in (25mm) exit HF compression driver mounted on a rotatable 90° horizontal x 50° vertical constant directivity horn.

The speakers are driven by 12 QSC ISA 800Ti 100V line amps and split into 24 four-wire speaker circuits. In time, RG Jones plan to implement separate line monitoring as part of a full PA/VA system.

However, due to the large amount of ducting, there was little free space in which to operate — and thus the EASE plot had to be remodeled several times to gain the best position options available.

A further prerequisite was that the system not only had to be to weather-proofed but custom colored to blend in with the roof soffit — thus the company has modified its standard AM10 finish to either BS12B25 spruce green or RAL 7009 green grey. They have applied a special up-rated weatherproof varnish and issued a warranty.

The PA in the bowl will relay the paging calls as well as a mix of sources. These include the umpire’s microphone, courtside radio microphones and wet weather microphones, and other virtually routed sources.

“We can route any input we receive from the BBC or other providers, using our Soundweb system, into the court mix,” explains Jon Berry. “Although we no longer have a ‘Cyclops’ line beep due to the Hawk-eye line call system, we now have audio sources that are required to accompany the VT and flash interviews shown on the new active video scoreboards.”

The specification had called for a full music-rated system (although it will hardly be used as such). “Via the Soundweb DSP we have dynamics and EQ on every input (comp, limiters, parametric and gain), while on every output there’s parametric EQ, limiting, delay and routing — this allows us to transmit test signals during the championships, so we always know what to expect.”’

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For more information, please visit www.martin-audio.com

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