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72 l March 2012


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IT’S A BLOODY business, stadiums: a sinew-snapping, muscle-stretching, sweat-soaked struggle for supremacy at all costs, in which teams and individuals trained to within an inch of their lives push themselves to the limits of endurance for that scintilla of supremacy. But forget fixed installation contracts. There’s also the sport. The Latin word ‘arena’ means sand: in Rome’s Colosseum, it was the ideal playing surface for those tricky away legs against a pride of starving lions. And other than soaking up human and animal viscera, stadiums have other definitive requirements: chief among these is the accommodation of huge, unpredictable and possibly unruly crowds. Add in today’s clamorous multimedia entertainment, and no wonder sound is a chief weapon of control and cajolement. The stadium calendar


provides a steady diet of consistent


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Phil Ward looks at the unique conditions surrounding European stadiums for pro-audio suppliers trying to get on the pitch


investment. Every couple of years there’s an Olympic Games or an international soccer championship somewhere, the prestige of which generates deep pockets. In between, a good stadium attracts the big-name tours – although, as we shall see, these and other pressures tend to feed the rental market more than the bedrock of the permanently installed system. In Europe, the natural cycle of


refurbishment has been enjoying added growth in the East as the former Eastern Bloc territories consolidate their Western aspirations. To take Romania as just one example, both Electro- Voice and RCF have enjoyed rich pickings in the past six months. At the National Stadium in Bucharest, Electro- Voice’s representatives have supplied 141 EVH-1152S horn- loaded models and 32 EVID 6.2 T compact surface-mounted loudspeakers, all powered and processed by 40 CPS 4.10 power amplifiers and 10 N8000


“We are very committed to the permanent market... Permanent installation has the edge”


Tine Helme, Optocore


NetMax controllers with CM-1 CobraNet network modules. Immediately we see the importance of networking: at the National Stadium, IRIS-Net software enables individual cabinet control, creating supremely versatile programming and adjustment. The N8000’s DSP enables announcements to individual sections of the grandstand via both the ELA system and the central computer, while a ducking function lowers the programme level while announcements are made and then resets it automatically. Another showcase has


germinated at the Ilie Oan Stadium in Ploiesti, the 15,500- seater home of FC Petrolul Ploiesti. Here, the tiered seating is covered by 24 RCF P6215 and 28 RCF P4228 speakers, controlled by two RCF DX 4008 digital loudspeaker management units. All of this is dovetailed into just two 26U racks.


HERITAGE ZONES Digital versatility across specific areas being the goal, the range


capacity.”


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of networking options is growing all the time. In Paris, the Stade de France has adopted EtherSound as the transport of choice, having gained a new 13-zone audio system last year. With around 300 Nexo GEO S12 cabinets and nearly 30 RS18s, control is shared between a Yamaha M7CL48-ES console, 11 SB168-ES stage boxes, DME64N and DME24N digital engines and nine AuviTran AVM500-ES EtherSound network matrices. The accompanying NXAMPs


are EtherSound amplifiers, facilitating any input to any output and taking in even the car parks. Connections are fibre optic. “The main advantage is in flexibility, interoperability and monitoring with minimum latency,” explains Jeremie Weber of AuviTran when the system was unveiled. “Although there are fewer than 20 AuviTran units in the stadium, the network offers matrix capability of 320 x 320, and the Stade is currently using around half of that


JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers and BSS Soundweb network processing combine in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin


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