L-Acoustics hitting the right ‘note’



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Ross Brett at Coliseum Europe 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Ross Brett has got ‘sound’ knowledge as regards everything related to sound technology and how the sound interacts with the space. He is the Project Application Manager for L-Acoustics and is responsible for everything technical related to sports venues and projects.

Large stadiums, whether open-air or enclosed, present many acoustical design challenges including excessive reverberation, echoes from surfaces distant from the sound system loudspeakers, intelligibility issues, and synchronization of the sound reinforcement system to the videoboards.

Ross Brett explains how L-Acoustics addresses the above issues in a ‘sound’ and streamlined manner. With 25 years of experience under his belt, Brett is an experienced sound system designer for stadiums and arenas. He has developed a great understanding of client needs to take their events to the next level for the ultimate fan experience by delivering innovative L-Acoustics sound systems to sports facilities globally.

In an interaction with ‘Coliseum’, Ross Brett, Project Application Manager, Sports Facilities, L-Acoustics, UK, explains the design challenges they faced while replacing the existing bowl system with a futuristic sound system in one of the largest and “stunning” stadia of Europe – the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.
 

L-Acoustics

L-Acoustics is a French manufacturer of loudspeakers, amplifiers, marketing materials, and signal processing devices. Headquartered in Marcoussis, South of Paris (France), the company has offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

L-Acoustics is a legend in concert sound and the pro audio manufacturing industry and the initial innovator of the line array. L-Acoustics is renowned for filling up major stadiums and festivals worldwide, blowing audiences away with its high quality sound.

Informed Ross Brett, “L-Acoustics is a global organization and a world leader in premium audio systems. We were founded in 1984 and we pioneered the line source array loudspeakers. L-Acoustics sound systems are used in seven of the world’s top 10 grossing festivals and listed on nearly all concert riders. We also do fixed installation systems – large or small, indoor and outdoor and on all market sectors. “

He added, “Our systems have been installed in a number of different stadiums across the world – from basketball and ice hockey arenas to football and Olympic stadiums of all shapes and sizes.”
 

Dickies Arena

At the 14,000-capacity Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas (US), which is used for basketball, L-Acoustics have a K2 system installed around the scoreboard.
 

Hero Arena at Mount America Center

L-Acoustics has one of their A series system installed at the Hero Arena at the Mountain America Center used for ice hockey. It is a newly-built relatively small capacity – 6,000-seat ice hockey venue.
 

Al Janoub Stadium

L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D acoustical simulation software has been installed at the 44,325-capacity Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar and “the L-Acoustics systems were used as an overlay system in the opening and closing ceremonies of Qatar 2022”.
 

State Farm Stadium

L-Acoustics have their K2 system installed at the 63,400-capacity State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (US) and “one of the nice things about this stadium is that it was recently used for the Super Bowl and they were able to link heavily on our K2 installations and minimize the number of speakers that they needed to hire in as an overlay for the Super Bowl event.”
 

Allianz Arena

The Allianz Arena is a football stadium in Munich, Bavaria, Germany with a 70,000 seating capacity for international matches and 75,000 for domestic matches. Widely known for its exterior of inflated ethylene tetraflurorethylene (ETFE) plastic panels, it is the first stadium in the world with a full color changing exterior and is the home of the Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich.

Observed Brett, “The Allianz Arena is a stunning stadium from the outside famous for its inflated ETFE panels illuminated with architectural lighting. It is one of the largest stadiums in Europe with a seating capacity of 75,000. It is scheduled to host five of the events during EURO 2024 and it also hosts a number of concerts as well. Our job with this stadium was to replace the existing bowl system with a new updated sound system.”

He added, “As with every project, there are always challenges and most of the challenges that we faced at the Allianz Arena was quite typical of stadium projects. The objective was to provide a uniform coverage to every seat in the stadium so that every fan has the same experience. The video screens posed a problem here as they were right in front of where we wanted to position the arrays.”

As the Allianz Arena hosts the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) events, the system needs to be compliant to UEFA and FIFA standards and these standards call for good intelligibility – “The challenge we faced was that the arrays here had 50 meters to throw sound and there were also wide restrictions so that was going to restrict the size of the speaker that we could use to achieve the SPO as required. And achieving FIFA standards is no mean task.”
 

Design Process

Continued Brett, “The first stage about the design process was to build a 3D model for use in our sound vision software. This allows us to create a design very quickly so that we can then assess the performance and the visual appearance of how the system will look once it is installed inside the stadium. It also allows us to be able to address the possible issues early on in the design process. In the instance of Allianz Arena it enabled us to be able to assess the impact of the shuttering of the seat sounds behind the screens as well as to be able to design the system in a way that minimizes the reflections from the seats behind the screens.”

Despite facing a lot of design challenges, L-Acoustics was able to successfully install the new system which had some significant improvements over the old.
 

Sum-up

Ross Brett summed up by stating, “The new system had some significant improvements over the old. One of the things that we were able to do was to make the new system closer to the roof edge and closer to the front seats. This can be a challenge in many stadiums where the rigging position are made available way under the roof and this means that you will have to fall back into the stadium with the speakers in order to cover the front seats. The L-Acoustics sound system at the Allianz Arena has been designed to provide optimized, uniform sound level distribution across all three tiers, improve the transmission quality for music playback and increase speech intelligibility for announcements.”

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