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Unique audio solution revealed at Canada’s Commonwealth Stadium

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Built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, Canada’s Commonwealth Stadium is the country’s second largest outdoor sports venue. Seating 60,000 fans, the venue hosts soccer, Edmonton Eskimos football and other sporting and entertainment events. 

When the venue was built, most stadiums utilised an end-zone, scoreboard-mounted loudspeaker system. However, to minimise neighbourhood noise bleed, consultant Ken Dickensheets of Dickensheets Design in Austin, TX, designed the original system as a central loudspeaker array housed in a unique metal pod.  The pod was supported by four large aircraft cables and could be lowered to the ground for service.

This system served the stadium for several decades with voice-range audio. However, modern sports fans and associations like FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) now expect full-range audio for music and clear announcements that are loud enough to be heard over crowd noise. Thus, in 2013, the Stadium retained Aquila Productions in Edmonton, Alberta, to design a new system. Lead Consultant Vernon Mason of Aquila retained consultant Dale Fawcett of Orchestral Arts Consulting in Toronto to provide audio modelling and audio system design.

Unlike many modern stadiums, Commonwealth Stadium has no support structure for distributed loudspeaker arrays and neighbourhood noise bleed remained a concern. Thus, consultant Fawcett chose to retain the original central cluster design with a new central pod similar in size to the original and a loudspeaker system that would respect the weight limits of the support cables. He calculated that an array of Community R2 loudspeakers would meet these challenges, while achieving the Stadium’s goals for increased sound level and music quality.

Installed by Allstar Show Industries of Edmonton, and completed in early 2014, Commonwealth Stadium’s new system utilises thirty-two Community R2-52 loudspeakers arranged in four circles in the pod and aimed at the various seating areas of the venue. Under-balcony seating is covered by 107 Community W SERIES W2-218 loudspeakers and other areas are covered by R.5, R.25 and CS4 loudspeakers. Fawcett added a digital mixer and a Q-SYS DSP system and used eight Community dSPEC processors to manage and equalize the loudspeakers.

Fawcett noted:

The Community R SERIES allowed me to meet the stadium’s goals for audio level and quality and still fit within the space and weight limits of the central pod. The FIR filters in Community’s dSPEC made tuning easy and we achieved very even coverage with little or no neighbourhood noise bleed.



Images Courtesy: Community

Image captions:

Top: Commonwealth Stadium’s Unique Central Pod Loudspeaker Array

Below: Central Pod Drawing with Community R SERIES


Belgium’s Anderlecht FC upgrades audio facilities at its home stadium

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One of Belgium’s best-known football teams is celebrating an audio refurbishment at its home stadium, the Stade Constant Vanden Stock, better known as Stade d’Anderlecht.


Home to Anderlecht FC, the 24,000-capacity stadium in Brussels that is used solely for football, needed to upgrade its 25-year-old PA/VA system. Following evaluation of three possible solutions, longtime Anderlecht solution supplier Prosonix, together with NEXO’s Belgian distributor’s Pascal Deneef, proposed a NEXO compact, 2-way GEO S12-ST system. The GEO S12-ST, a specialist stadium version of the popular GEO S12, fitted the stadium’s requirement for long-throw line array cabinets perfectly. Another major reason for choosing the NEXO option was the success of the GEO S12-ST system installed in France’s Stade de Valenciennes, a similar venue in size and design.


NEXO’s Paul Massiani, together with Pascal Deneef, used the company’s proprietary NS-1 software to design the 82-cabinet system; 19 clusters of 4x GEOS12-ST + 3 clusters of 2x GEOS 12-ST from the concrete roof, using GEO fixed installation brackets together with custom-made brackets which allow the clusters to be turned.


One challenge facing NEXO was the inherent difficulty of containing noise levels within the stadium due to age and its metal and concrete construction. The GEO S12-ST – a high-output, long throw cabinet – features a tight dispersion pattern, keeping as much noise as possible inside the stadium. The system also produces enhanced speech intelligibility; up to 20 metres from the GEO S12-ST clusters to the lowest seats, and 15 metres to the rear seats in the tribunes; in simulations, sound levels reached 110dB.


The system is powered by 6x NXAMP4x4 powered TDControllers, which support the Dante network protocol. Use of Dante allowed the acoustic designers to specify BSS Soundweb for system control. Operated via a touchscreen in the control room, Soundweb was selected for its processing, presets and zoning functionality. It provides full flexibility for managing the stadium’s 22 audio zones, which can be used in a variety of combinations. This allows messaging to be tightly targeted to each specific zone, which was in fact a special request from the police. Additionally, in the event of a system problem, Soundweb will automatically contact the administrator who can log on remotely to assess the situation.



The network runs on an all-new fibre optic cable infrastructure installed by Prosonix and subcontractor SPIE, providing full redundancy and fire-resistance for up to an hour. It can also accommodate future addition of sub bass loudspeakers and further extensions of the system. Under the supervision of Deneef, SPIE was also responsible for the installation of the 22 clusters and amplifier/processing racks, and managed to get this job done in just 3½ weeks, with incredible results.



Community launches new brand identity

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Audio pioneer, Community Professional Loudspeakers, unveiled its new corporate brand identity at InfoComm last month. Community’s booth and demo room showcased the new look of the brand, while I SERIES, a family of premium point source loudspeakers launched at the show, signalled a bold new direction for the company’s product design language.


Founded in 1968, Community has an impressive record of innovation and longevity and the company continues to reinvent itself in response to changing customer needs, global market forces and technical advances in the industry. The new brand identity and product design language are key elements of a branding initiative which reinforces Community’s focus on the installation markets and its commitment to innovative product design.


Steve Johnson, Community’s CEO explained:

The revised corporate identity is a vibrant and engaging new expression of the Community brand legacy – past, present and future. The design of our new symbol and logotype suggest precision and elegance, two important attributes of our products and engineering.


Johnson described how the company’s branding initiative guided the development of Community’s newest product, the I SERIES premium high-power installation loudspeakers:

The forward-thinking design of I SERIES demonstrates the kind of fresh and contemporary industrial design you’ll see in future products from Community. And, its installed-system focus, including some very clever rigging hardware, evidences our commitment to our core customers.


Johnson summarised:

Community’s brand has always been highly respected throughout the pro audio industry. With this new corporate brand identity, we’re modernizing the way we present our company to the world while building on our past strengths and renewing our commitment to our customers.

Community Pro provides audio for three 2014 FIFA World Cup stadia

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With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil now underway, technology is to play a major role in ensuring the enjoyment and safety of visitors.


Estádio Mineirão (pictured above) was the first of three World Cup stadia to be completed using Community loudspeaker systems. Soundvision Engineering, the largest professional audio and video contract integrator in Brazil, was commissioned to design and install the audio systems by Emílio Miranda of Johnson Controls Brazil, the contract holder for Estádio Mineirão.


Soundvision’s CEO, Antonio Tadeu Torquato, and New Business Manager, Leandro Freire, carried out an extensive evaluation of loudspeaker systems that would provide the best solution for the arena. They concluded that the first choice was Community, proven for all-weather reliability, well-defined coverage and high intelligibility.


After installation, performance analysis measurements made in the arena by Fernando Gargantini, Soundvision’s Systems Manager, and Dave Howden, Community’s Technical Director, showed that the system performance met specification and provided good coverage.


The main system configuration consists of twenty-four clusters, each with four or five R2 loudspeakers. In total the system uses twenty-four Community R2-52’s, twenty-four R2-694’s, six R2-94’s, four R2-77’s and forty-eight R2-474 loudspeakers. These are fed from processors and amplifiers located in five technical rooms, communicating through CobraNet with D-link redundancy and BSS-BLU processors. The system is connected to the arena’s fire alarm system, enabling the distribution of live and pre-recorded messages for mass notification or emergency evacuation.


Soundvision was also appointed for two further World Cup stadia, Arena de Sao Paulo and Arena Amazonia, which were also fitted with Community R-Series loudspeaker systems.


Arena de Sao Paulo is located in Carmosina, Sao Paulo, and has been built specifically for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a seating capacity of 65,000 for the event. For Arena de Sao Paulo, Soundvision designed and installed a system using sixteen Community R2-94’s, sixteen R2-694’s and sixteen R2-77 loudspeakers.


Arena Amazonia, is located in the city of Manaus in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The sustainable stadium project will deliver an important legacy for the region and provides seating for 42,377 spectators. This system in Arena Amazonia was completed by Soundvision using sixty-four Community R2-474’s and seventy-six R.25-94T loudspeakers.

Danley Loudspeakers infiltrate Sports Market

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With a design team led by celebrated acoustician Tom Danley, Danley Sound Labs has developed an extensive catalogue of loudspeakers and subwoofers that cleverly sidestep the constraints and trade-offs of conventional designs. Its original patented Synergy Horn and Tapped Horn technologies led to a range of products that deliver point-source sound with stunning fidelity at any volume, near-perfect phase coherence, seamless arrayability, and “cliff edge” pattern control.In its latest generation of products, including the Jericho Horn and the Genesis Horn, those technologies have been combined with Tom Danley’s newest patent-pending technologies, Shaded Amplitude Lens Technology and Paraline, to deliver those same advantages in the high SPL environments typical of sports stadiums.


While still point sources – and retaining all of the advantages of point sources – the new designs allow controlled SPL by distance to provide even coverage to raked seating, pulling the rug out from under the line array’s claim to fame. Recognizing these advantages, and because Danley solutions are still more affordable than most conventional designs, sports venues are increasingly turning to Danley Sound Labs. A Danley system gives their fans an awesome game day experience and even more reason to get off the couch for the next home game.


Perhaps the most visible arenas to turn to Danley are the 80,750-seat Lambeau Field – home to the Green Bay Packers – and the 74,000-seat Ralph Wilson Stadium – home to the Buffalo Bills. Fans of both NFL teams now enjoy impactful music and crystal clear announcements with distributed Danley Genesis Horns, supplemented by a range of Synergy Horn loudspeakers and Tapped Horn subwoofers. South of the border, Juárez Vive in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, seats 12,000 baseball fans and employs a distributed ring of Danley SM80 loudspeakers and TH118 subwoofers.


Danley’s rising visibility is well represented by college football stadiums across the US. The immensely powerful Jericho Horn has been used in several end-fired systems, including Montana State University and Troy University, which cover 30,000 and 17,000 seats with just a single Jericho Horn. Two Jericho Horns suffice for Grand Valley State University (8,500 seats), Florida Atlantic University (30,000 seats), and Northwestern University (47,000 seats). Brigham Young University and University of Arizona each use four Jericho Horns to cover 64,000 and 56,000 seats, and Michigan State University uses six Jericho Horns to cover 80,000 seats.


The thunderous roar from the crowds at 92,500-seat Tiger Stadium at Louisiana State University has earned it the title of loudest stadium in the world, and it now has a sound system to match: eighteen Jericho Horns paired with six Danley “Rock Monster” subwoofers provide abundant SPL with Danley’s characteristic fidelity. Amazingly, Tiger Stadium measures +/-5dB 28Hz-10kHz over the entire stadium with an enough power to do 105dBA at 800+ feet. Furthermore, the directivity of the TH812 subwoofer arrays are such that the seats under the scoreboard are only +6dB compared to 800 feet! The most recent additions to Danley’s roster include Boise State University (end-fired, four Jericho Horns plus two BC415 subwoofers, for 36,000 seats), Washington State University (end-fired, five Jericho Horns plus four Rock Monster subwoofers, for 33,500 seats), and Mercer University (end-fired, two Genesis Horns plus two DBH218 subwoofers, for 6,000 seats). The colossal stadiums at University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin both added beefy low end with four giant Rock Monster subwoofers.


Indoor stadiums at all levels are also benefitting from Danley designs. The NHL’s Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, is home to an all-Danley system consisting of SH96HO and TH118 products and has the reputation of the being the best sounding venue in the National Hockey League. Washington State University’s basketball stadium uses twelve Genesis Horns to cover 11,500 seats. Wichita State University’s 10,500-seat Koch Arena covers fans and the court with eight clusters that circle the top ring of a new center-hung video board, each comprised of an SH96, SH64, and an SM80. Four TH118 subwoofers provide low end. Other Danley installations include Olivet Nazarene University, which uses Genesis Horns, SH100s, and TH118 subwoofers, and Family Arena, which supported its full-range system in a 10,000-seat venue with a single BC412 subwoofer! Danley’s weatherproof OS80 loudspeakers have found ready venues both indoors (J.D. McArthur Arena for ice hockey) and outdoors (Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Florida State University).