Sir Tom Jones takes Tactus™ on Tour

Sir Tom Jones takes Tactus™ on Tour

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival. It’s therefore a fitting stage for the world’s most advanced and efficient digital audio mixing system, the Crest Audio Tactus. With its elegant integration of hardware, software and touchscreens, Tactus heralds the next generation of modular, scalable digital mixing solutions. Sound engineer, Matteo Cifelli, talks about mixing Tom Jones’s latest tour on Tactus.

THE TECHNOLOGY
Even at 78 years old, Tom Jones is the consummate showman. Over the span of his long career he has been through many incarnations, but what has remained unchanged throughout is his unmistakeable vocal signature, and his evident delight at being on stage.

Sir Tom’s long-time FoH engineer, Matteo Cifelli, has been using Crest Audio’s Tactus digital mixing system with integrated Waves eMotion LV1 mixing software on all of Tom Jones’s recent shows. This included a sold-out Summer Sessions gig against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh castle as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

First launched in 2016, Tactus is a modular mixing system that comprises a front-of-house audio processing core powered by Waves SoundGrid and a 32-in/16-out remote stagebox plus an optional external control surface which acts as a physical extension of the Waves LV1 touchscreen mixer application.

Cifelli has been a fan of Waves since the beginning. “I was at Waves in 2014 and saw the prototype of LV1 and was instantly hooked,” he recalls. “I’ve had it with me as a support desk ever since. I love the way the software works and the fact that it is based on
plug-ins to extend functionality.”

“There is a huge selection of plug-ins so it’s incredibly versatile, and the integration with the Tactus hardware is just a fabulous solution because it opens up the software for use on much bigger shows.”

“The main gap for me using LV1 was the controller – or rather lack of it,” he continues. “It was great for small shows, but anything over 16 channels becomes difficult to manage on a touchscreen as there just isn’t enough real estate. The integration into Tactus has changed all that – now that Crest have brought out their controller, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. There is perfect physical alignment between the faders on the screen and the physical faders on the controller, and if you need more channels, you can just connect a second control surface. It’s a fantastic feature for me and one that makes it possible to use as a primary mixing console on bigger shows. What’s more, the build quality is amazing and that’s really important when you’re working on live shows. You need to know that when you plug it in and turn it on, it’ll just work, even if it’s taken a few knocks as things often do on the road.”

Something else that Cifelli appreciates is the modularity of Tactus and the fact that it is ultra-portable. “Even compared to a standard digital console, the footprint is tiny,” he asserts. “Our next gig after Edinburgh was in Jordan just two days later, so the timeframe was pretty tight, but Tactus is so compact, we checked it in as hand luggage!”

THE EVENT
In Edinburgh, Cifelli’s setup was straightforward with one Tactus FOH processing core connected to a Lenovo Touchscreen laptop PC and a Tactus Stagebox by a single CAT5 cable. The monitor engineer was responsible for establishing the gain structure, so Cifelli used a MADI stream from a DiGiGrid MGB to take a feed from the monitor desk. The MGB is an interface that lets you plug any coaxial MADI-enabled device into the Waves SoundGrid network. The PC running LV1 was connected to a touchscreen and the Tactus control interface, and that was it – all very simple. “Where I can I like to run everything on two computers for redundancy,” he says. “I’ll have a main PC connected to a touchscreen and the Tactus control surface plus a laptop also running LV1. That way if the external touchscreen goes down for any reason, I’ve still got the laptop touchscreen. There’s no redundancy built into the system yet, so it’s safer to do it yourself! On the other hand, when you consider the cost of a Tactus and everything you get for your money, it’s no big deal to bring along an extra laptop…

For Cifelli, the modular approach is definitely the way forward. “In its simplest form, all you need is the FoH unit and a laptop and that’s it, but of course you can add elements however you like to support larger configurations. I love that I can increase or reduce the number of interfaces, as well as inputs and outputs, and the different connectivity options provided by Tactus gives me compatibility with interfaces from other brands which is just great. I can use SoundGrid, MADI, AES, and now Crest have just come out with a SoundGrid-to-Dante bridge which means I can connect to Dante-enabled PA systems (or other Dante devices) as well. Personally, I think this is the future of digital mixing.”

THE RESULT
He believes that Peavey’s decision to build Tactus based on the Waves LV1 software was simply inspired. He is certainly not alone in considering LV1 to be the best software mixing platform available. “It’s the only mixing system that is 100% customizable,” he says. “The concept is revolutionary, and its plugin architecture gives me unlimited sound-shaping abilities. Combined with Tactus hardware, I have a rugged, road-worthy mixing system that takes up a tenth of the space of anything else currently available and offers me ten times the functionality and scalability. And sound quality-wise, we are at the top!”

Speaking of sound quality, one of the main priorities for the Tactus engineering team was preserving the vintage Crest Audio sound in a completely modern digital format. “We didn’t just want to be a vehicle for LV1, even though that’s what makes Tactus unique,” explains PCA operations manager, James Kennedy. “We also wanted to mark our identity by adding the warm, vintage Crest Audio analogue sound that was our trademark during the 70s, 80s and 90s to the thoroughly 21st century functionality of the LV1 software. In short, you’re getting completely cutting-edge technology combined with our legendary build quality and sonic signature in a totally modular, scalable package. We think it’s a fabulous combination.”

Cifelli couldn’t agree more. “I like to say that this system is the internet of mixing consoles – in the same way as the arrival of digital technology revolutionised the live mixing industry, the Tactus/LV1 concept will change the game yet again but this time moving us into an IP world. I believe that in years to come we’ll be seeing more and more Tactus/LV1 or similar systems around the world with the ability to talk to and exchange data with different devices from different manufacturers all over simple network cables, and maybe even Wi-Fi and 4 or 5G! – that’s the future I see in a digital world.”

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MediaMatrix® is the perfect match at Amsterdam ArenA

MediaMatrix® is the perfect match at Amsterdam ArenA

From the outset, it was clear that the Amsterdam ArenA was going to set new standards for stadium AV. A wholly new speaker system was to be implemented, with four manufacturers invited to tender for the project. Production manager at Amsterdam ArenA, Tim Oosterop, and head of technology, Martin Wielaart, defined three main objectives for the new system:

  • Compliance with UEFA/ FIFA regulations for performance and intelligibility, and adherence to safety standards for evacuation systems.
  • Address the venue’s unique acoustics, difficulties that, in realistic financial terms, would be challenging to overcome.
  • Enhance the stadium’s reputation as a host of other entertainment events – especially concerts.

With no compromise on quality, Oosterop selected German speaker manufacturer, d&b audiotechnik, to partner with the latest MediaMatrix control suite.

MediaMatrix and Crest Audio serve as the ‘backbone’ of the PA-VA system, which is responsible for processing, distributing & controlling all analogue and networked audio channels across the site while Crest Audio CKi amplifiers feed the sound to various zones across the venue – including back of house offices, hospitality boxes and other public zones. The crux of the challenge was to introduce new, high performance audio and control into the stadium ‘bowl’ area; for this, custom software was required for total harmony between the processing stage (via MediaMatrix) and the latest d&b amplifier and speaker systems.

THE SOLUTION

Working closely with d&b’s engineers, Lee Freer – application engineer for Peavey Commercial Audio – helped to design a downloadable plug-in that brings total uniformity between the systems

Available now as a download, the new d&b amplifier plug-in for MediaMatrix provides control parameters
to adjust the mute status, levels, power On/Off , and alter the AmpPreset. This enables the complete system to be configured as a highly intelligible system for speech reproduction, and, via a simple button, to be reconfigured for full program material. Critical status information can be monitored, ensuring the same is suitable as a PA- VA system in an emergency situation. MediaMatrix logs all audio connections to amplifiers, and the operating state of connected loudspeakers.

Lee explains: “MediaMatrix is a networked DSP and control system that is scalable, efficient and tailored to the needs of the user. The system is designed and managed via PC with the MediaMatrix NWare software, and then accessed and controlled wireless from any smart device supporting HTML5 via the Kiosk2Go remote control platform.”

“The system is equipped with wired Kiosk control panels at the two command and control points in the stadium (East and West), which are used for phased stadium evacuation announcements and overall system health monitoring.”

Lee continues: “Adding d&b to the MediaMatrix plug-in library gives our customers another great option when specifying and designing our Nion-based solutions. The amplifier plug-in gives both the programmer and the end user a seamless, reliable and intuitive control interface which can also be easily integrated into an overall MediaMatrix Kiosk and Kiosk2Go GUI control suite.”

THE RESULT

Stadium AV investment is a growing trend as systems are upgraded to meet new safety standards, as well as providing better quality and more efficient management. On this front, the Amsterdam ArenA now rates as one of the best installations in Europe.

Olaf Landzaat of Ampco Flashlight took on the technical integration of the system and says MediaMatrix is a key element in the installation, ensuring premium quality at every stage. He explains: “The new d&b amplifier control plug-in for MediaMatrix literally monitors every single device in the audio chain: every amplifier, and each individual speaker cabinet’s low and high drivers.”

The interface between d&b Array-processing software and the arena’s existing MediaMatrix management system provided a simple and easily executed route to accommodating a variety of event formats, without compromising safety standards. “With what we have now, we can provide acoustic models and predictive scenarios to those planning to bring their shows here. We have an audio infrastructure that allows them to plan for best sound,” Ooserop says. “With the modelling software and associated data, we give them the time and space to plan accordingly.” “The key for installation was interoperability, and total integration between the control system and the sound reinforcement system, whatever the application type,” explains Wolfgang Schulz, product manager for installation at d&b. “The system design for many permanent installations now starts with the method for control and management, so d&b is looking to support system designers with complete interoperability with the MediaMatrix system, which guarantees easy planning and operation.”

The last word goes to James Kennedy, operations manager at Peavey Commercial Audio EMEA. “It’s been a pleasure to work with d&b audiotechnik on this project and the high standards expected from both sides can be seen and heard at Amsterdam ArenA. The power and quality of the sound is simply staggering.” He adds: “However, we all know that power is wasted without control and here we have a system that benefits from Peavey’s proven management and processing with the fantastic quality of stadium speaker arrays for which d&b are renowned.”

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MediaMatrix® and NION® ensure perfect music mood at Spain’s premier retail experience

MediaMatrix® and NION® ensure perfect music mood at Spain’s premier retail experience

Mallorca, situated near to Palma Airport, is a huge, multi-zone retail mall requiring the best proven audio quality management available. With a total investment of around 190 million euros, the venture saw 2,400 people involved in the construction of the centre, which has a host of flagship stores ranging from Primark to Media Markt, Cortefiel, Pedro del Hierro, Women’secret, Decathlon, H&M, Mango, C&A and a number of Majorcan clothing designers and footwear manufacturers. Dolores Bañon, the director of promotion and development for Carrefour Property España, sums up the size of the project. “The Balearics will never have seen so many top brands under the same roof,” she said. Covering more than 70,000 square meters, a distributed system had to be implemented. The multi-zoned areas often require separate source material. So, each bathroom (men, women and children), the restaurants, retail outlets and walkway areas all required a dynamic audio feed with a constant variation of playlists depending on climate and affluence within the building. This meant that the audio DSP system had to communicate with other subsystems, namely a digital meteo station and Pax counter camera system. Reliable and trusted solutions were absolutely vital as installers faced an incredibly tight time frame – the entire audio install needing to be completed in just 10 weeks.

THE SOLUTION

To meet the challenge of outstanding audio and control throughout the Mall, Spanish specialist distributor Neotecnica came on board to oversee all aspects of the technical installation. The reliability and proven track record of Peavey’s MediaMatrix NION processors made them the preferred choice, with an optical CobraNet fibre network distributing the sound throughout the separate areas of the mall via a Cisco-based network with over 2km of fibre and copper cable runs. Two NION n6 processors manage the core audio for more than 55 different zones: all audio channels are processed and transmitted from the NIONs to a total of 13 Crest Audio Ci amplifiers via CobraNet . In addition to the Ci amplifiers there are two nWall CobraNet I/O panels located in the mall for patching two channels in and two channels out of the MediaMatrix system. This is useful for events and ad hoc performances within the mall throughout the calendar year. As well as handling all audio aspects of the system, the NIONs are also at the heart of control, utilising GPIO interaction with the meteo station and counter camera systems in order to schedule and steer the correct audio sources at any given time dependant on weather, mood and overall business, all thanks to the diverse MediaMatrix control toolbox. MediaMatrix Kiosk (PC) and Kiosk2Go (Tablet Device – HTML5) GUIs have been created and deployed within NWare and hosted by the NION processors, providing staff with the means to take control, monitor and maintain the system within an intuitively designed environment. The 13 Crest Audio Ci 30×4 and 20×8 amplifiers are installed and distributed across nine racks throughout the centre utilising a total of 12km of speaker cable. For crystal clear audio, Fohhn speakers were installed throughout with Focal in-ceiling speakers. In total 266speakers were used, distributed in 70/100V lines, with LOW Z subwoofers and LOW Z column systems.

THE RESULT

Each area of the mall now has its own playlists that change automatically, depending on the surrounding situations, which means visitors are able to enjoy a vast range of retail therapy, and there is sure to be something for everyone throughout the 120 stores to be found within the Mall. Fan Mallorca Shopping Mall now ranks as Spain’s premier shopping experience, with an audio system that is fitting for such surroundings. James Kennedy, operations manager at Peavey Commercial Audio remarked “We are once again delighted to work with our Spanish partners, Neotecnica, in making this project such a success. Applications like these always throw up technical curve balls and this was no exception! The third party systems integration with NION for dynamic content delivery was particularly challenging for the engineers, but they have managed to leverage the power of NION to overcome these problems through the flexibility and capability of python scripting and bespoke control devices within NWare. The guys at Neotecnica have done a sterling job!” 

Engineer Fernando Vidal Wagner from Neotecnica said: “The open philosophy of NWare makes it possible to adapt it dynamically, which is in my opinion, one of the key points of this project.” Carrefour Property, Owners of Fan Mallorca Shopping Mall, were thrilled with the outcome. “We are delighted the project has been completed in record time,” said a spokesman. “We wanted to develop a different project, a shopping mall music experience oriented to include many different areas. Audio control allows each area their own playlists which change according to the weather or the influx of people. This project is a real turning point for the retail sector, and marks a milestone in the history of shopping centres.”

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Japan’s first LEGOLAND® boasts the most sophisticated networked audio

Japan’s first LEGOLAND® boasts the most sophisticated networked audio

LEGOLAND® Japan in Nagoya is the latest LEGOLAND theme park to be opened by British-based amusement park corporation, Merlin Entertainments. The first LEGOLAND attraction in Japan, the second in Asia and the eighth in total, LEGOLAND Japan also boasts the most sophisticated networked audio and background music (BGM) system of all the LEGOLAND sites worldwide thanks to a highly efficient sound design by Tejix. Described as defining new standards in terms of build quality and technology, LEGOLAND Japan has proved to be a popular destination since its official opening in April 2017. The audio system output throughout the entire park was based on a range of Peavey Commercial Audio® loudspeakers, fed from a single, site-wide network.

The Peavey Solution

Tejix was retained for the design and installation of all parkwide BGM, audio, video and lighting (both indoors and outside), on-board audio, dynamic signage and even parkwide wi-fi. As an internationally renowned theme park technology design and consultancy firm, Tejix’s work features in many of the world’s premier theme parks across the globe. Concerning the sound design for LEGOLAND Japan, Tejix sound designer Akio Takeda emphasised that clarity and simplicity were the top priorities. “We started from a blank page,” he explained, “with the idea of providing exceptional performance in a straightforward design. To achieve consistency throughout, we used just seven speaker models across the board – from theaters, dark rides, outdoor areas, and Lego models to shops, restaurants and bars – all from Peavey, and just one amplifier model. Even in areas where different speaker models are used concurrently, the sound is admirably consistent.”

The majority of the speakers in questions are from Peavey’s Elements Series of highly durable, weather-resistant loudspeakers, now with an IP56 rating. There are over 550 Elements Series speakers throughout the outdoor areas of the park, supplemented by nearly 300 Impulse 6 loudspeakers. The indoor areas are served by 72 Sanctuary Series, 200 PHR 630 ceiling speakers and a Versarray line array system in the main theater.

“The issue with BGM is that it is tempting for sound designers to space the speakers too far apart in an attempt to keep the budget down, which leads to variations in level and coloration that are very noticeable,” says Tejix founder and MD, Henry Corrado. “One of the main reasons we opted for a Peavey solution was that we knew we wouldn’t have to do that, as the same budget goes much, much further than with so-called “premium” loudspeaker brands. For example, LEGOLAND Malaysia in Jahor has a total of 480 speakers across the park. Here in Nagoya, we’ve installed nearly 1200! The result is a constant soundfield wherever you are, indoors or outdoors, on a ride or in the street, on the terrace of a restaurant or in the retail zone. No holes, no gaps and no hotspots where you feel the system is screaming at you – just smooth, homogenous sound throughout the park.”

The Elements 108C is the principal loudspeaker of choice for the outdoor areas. Constructed from an advanced composite fiberboard material that is dimensionally stable in wet conditions and resists contamination, the cabinet nevertheless has the resonant properties of wood for high quality sonic performance combined with rock-solid reliability. The aluminium grills on the front feature a barrier membrane that repels water yet allows moisture to escape without affecting the sonic performance of the loudspeaker. “The build quality is absolutely fantastic,” enthuses Corrado. “They are a true outdoor speaker – rugged, durable, totally weatherproof and they sound very good. I’d definitely use them again. The Elements 108C is the main outdoor speaker for large spaces and they cover the area very well.”

Tejix has supplemented the Elements Series with nearly 300 Impulse 6 lightweight, mini 2-way weather-resistant speakers for smaller streets and under canopies where a more compact, discreet system is required. “Impulse Series speakers do a great job in the smaller areas. They are also weather-resistant so they can be used inside or outside, and they are extremely good value for money.”

For all of the indoor attractions, Tejix opted for Peavey’s Sanctuary Series – the arrayable SSE 15s and SSE 12s for larger areas requiring maximum coverage and the compact, lightweight SSE 6 for smaller environments where space is at a premium. “For me, the Sanctuary Series is close to greatness!” says Corrado. “I am always amazed that a speaker at this price point can sound so good, but they do – it’s amazing! The design is excellent; they are versatile, reliable, easy to install and they sound great, and all at an absolutely unbeatable price point. For my money, they are just so much better at every level than anything produced by competing brands for the same application – Peavey really has done a fantastic job on this range.”

The restaurants and retail areas are covered by a total of 200 Peavey Commercial Audio PHR 630 ceiling speakers. “There’s nothing to say, really,” says Corrado. “The PHR 630s are robust, discreet and sound perfectly good. They do exactly what they were designed to do with no fuss and no frills.”

Finally, Tejix installed a Peavey Versarray line array system in the main theatre. “I have to confess that we spent a lot of time on the crossovers to get them to deliver the performance we were looking for, but it was time well spent,” says Corrado. “I can honestly say that the sound quality now is really very good indeed, and once again, at a fraction of the price of other comparable line array systems.”

The Result

The installation went well from start to finish despite certain constraints due to Japanese building regulations and working with local crew. “In Japan, you can’t just attach a speaker to a wall,” explains Corrado. “It has to be attached to the primary structure of the building, which makes life quite tricky!” Custom brackets had to be made locally for every single loudspeaker that needed be surface mounted.

The other issue was in communicating effectively with the local crew. “When there are 1200 loudspeakers to install, the scope for error is quite considerable. We devised a colour-coding system so that the crew could see at a glance what needed to be installed where. I’m pleased to say that it worked pretty well in the end.”

Tejix calibrated the full system using Smaart and digital wireless microphones. “It was a huge job that took several weeks,” recalls Corrado. “However, being on a single network helped enormously as it gave us an overview of the complete system before we even started to EQ it. We were able to configure all of the settings over Wi-Fi, which was also a great time-saver.”

In conclusion, Corrado is pleased at the way the project has turned out. “The Peavey sound design with a digital backbone has worked very well,” he confirms. “It enabled us to supply enough loudspeakers to cover every zone comfortably with headroom to spare and we know it’ll be extremely reliable. The single network has enabled us to manage the 500+ audio channels efficiently, thus achieving our goal of combining the simplicity of a centralized system with the flexibility of a distributed approach. The client is delighted because it sounds great throughout the park and has achieved all of his price goals. I’m sure this is a design concept we’ll be returning to for future projects.”

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SEA Games, Malaysia

SEA Games, Malaysia

2017 turned out to be a big year in Malaysia – celebrations of the country’s 60th year of independence coincided with the return to Kuala Lumpur of the biggest multi-sports event in SouthEast Asia, the SEA Games, as well as the ASEAN Para Games. First inaugurated in 1959 as the SEAP (South East Asian Peninsular) Games with just twelve sports, the biennial event celebrated its 29th edition this year with over 400 events in 38 different sports.

THE CHALLENGE

The last time that Malaysia hosted the SEA Games was in 2001 when the country emerged as overall champions with 111 gold medals. At the time, Malaysia was justly proud of its super-modern sports infrastructure that had been built especially for the Commonwealth Games in 1998. However, standards and expectations no longer being what they were 20 years ago, the nation embarked on a full rejuvenation and renovation process in order to bring the KL Sports City complex at Bukit Jalil up to world class modern standards.

The brief called for the transformation from design to completion within 18 months to provide both four “new” world class venues to stage major events and recreational facilities for the Malaysian community. The redevelopment of Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Putra Stadium (now Axiata Arena), the National Aquatic Centre and the National Hockey Stadium focused on providing functional excellence coupled with the expression of Malaysia culture.

THE SOLUTION

However, no sporting venue can be considered world class unless it has an audio system of the same calibre; hence renowned Malaysian systems integration company, A.F.S. Engineering, was appointed to design, specify and install all the sound reinforcement systems across all four venues. A.F.S. selected the MediaMatrix NION networked audio DSP platform from Peavey as the backbone of each system, providing routing throughout and loudspeaker DSP management where required depending on the loudspeaker systems used, as well as system control via the MediaMatrix NWare Kiosk software interface.

Peavey’s application engineer EMEA, Lee Freer, was on site for two weeks to support A.F.S. in programming and commissioning all the systems prior to the opening ceremony and remained on hand throughout the games. Lee explains here in more detail why NION was selected for the job and how it all works:

“NION was chosen largely thanks to its powerful routing capabilities and the convenience of the Kiosk control interface, which was used throughout. NION provided a huge amount of flexibility coping with the vast number of outputs, especially in the Bukit Jalil Stadium and Axiata Arena. Each venue was split into four zones, or quadrants, with a NION n6 unit in the Master Control Room and one or two NIONs per quadrant to provide reliable Dante signal breakout. NION enabled us to deliver a stable, redundant networked solution with lots of flexibility, plenty of headroom and fast, elegant control via the NWare Kiosk interface.”

“In the Aquatic Centre and the National Hockey Stadium where the PA system was comprised of RCF loudspeakers and Inter-M amplifiers, the NIONs also provided DSP processing for all system inputs and speaker processing for all outputs,” continued Freer. “The processed audio was then routed over a redundant Dante AoIP network to quadrant-based NIONs and then re-routed out via Dante to numerous Inter-M Dante amplifiers to interleaved loudspeaker circuits for maximum reliability.”

NWare Kiosk control was used across all the venues, allowing operators to adjust or mute specific areas that interfered with OB proceedings. A case in point was at the Aquatics centre: once an event had finished, the OB cameras would focus on the competitor interview at the poolside. It was noted that the sound reinforcement system was giving too much ambient bleed to the broadcasters, so A.F.S. set up a procedure that enabled the system operators to mute specific clusters between events via the Kiosk interface so that the OB feeds were clean. “Quick, simple and efficient – everyone was happy!”

“The SEA Games provides us with another great example of the flexibility of the NION networked DSP platform when it comes to managing complex events in large venues,” said Freer. “In opting for NION as the backbone, the integrator knows that he has lots of choices, and he can pick and choose the options that best suit his application. That’s exactly what A.F.S. did in this instance – not every system was the same by any means – and it all worked seamlessly and to great effect. It made my job really easy!”

THE RESULT

A mix of NION units were deployed across the four venues depending on the type of functionality and the number of I/Os required.

The Bukit Jalil National Stadium featured the flagship NION n6 8-in/8-out Dante device in the Master Control Room with an 8-in/24-out NION n3 in each quadrant handling audio routing for the 52 hangs of L’Acoustics Kara and Kiva arrays. An 8-out NION nX in Q1 and Q3 were deployed to run the 64 under-balcony feeds.

The Axiata Stadium benefitted from an 8-in/16-out NION n6 in the Master Control Room and an 8-in/21-out NION nXs in Q2, Q3 and Q4 handling routing for the L’Acoustics Kara and Kiva II arrays.

The Aquatics Centre was a single NION system with an 8-in/16-out NION nX running four stacks of six and two stacks of four RCF P5228 spectator arrays and RCF P6215 and RCF 3115T poolside systems for the competition and training pools.

The National Hockey Stadium had an 8-in/8-out NION n3 in the master control room with a second n3 in Q3 and an 8-in/8-out NION nX in Q1 and Q4 running a total of 96 RCF P56228 loudspeakers distributed across 24 hangs around the stadium. The ancillary hockey pitch utilised a scaled-down version of the same system as array hangs were not a major requirement for this more open space. A Yamaha TF5 digital mixing console presided in each venue to handle the mix from the microphones before distributing out to the various zones of the PA system via NION.

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Peavey Commercial Audio® Scores with Prosound’s Design of World Cup Soccer Stadiums

Peavey Commercial Audio® Scores with Prosound’s Design of World Cup Soccer Stadiums

When the call of “goal!” reaches the tens of thousands of ears in the stadiums hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the audio will have been distributed and amplified by Peavey Commercial Audio® products.

Prosound, sub-Saharan Africa’s leading pro-audio and lighting design and installation firm, was tapped to outfit and update nine of the ten soccer stadiums in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Prosound technical director Mark Malherbe selected MediaMatrix® and Crest Audio® for the audio distribution, control and amplification system needs in the stadiums.

The nine stadiums newly outfitted with Peavey products include the jewel in the crown of South African football: the newly renovated Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, which will host the opening ceremony and final championship game of the 2010 World Cup.

Prosound has created systems for over 30 stadiums in Africa, including the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

2010 marks the first time in the event’s 80-year history that the FIFA World Cup has been held in Africa. Running from June 11 to July 11, the tournament takes place in 10 venues, five new and five renovated stadiums. When Prosound was selected for the audio and lighting design in nine of the venues, Mark Malherbe knew he wanted to go with MediaMatrix and Crest Audio for a common audio backbone in all the stadiums.

“We’ve been using MediaMatrix since almost day one, and it means we can adapt quickly — we can fit in with any change and don’t have to quickly learn a new product,” said Malherbe in an interview with InAVate magazine.

Prosound provided the details of each installation in the June cover story of ProAudio Middle East magazine.

Soccer City Stadium
With a capacity of 94,700, Soccer City is the largest of South Africa’s stadiums. Originally built in 1987 with a capacity of 80,000, the venue underwent a complete renovation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium’s outer perimeter has been designed to resemble a giant African pot, known as the calabash, and its aesthetic appeal is heightened when the stadium is lit at night. The orange seating is punctuated by grey stripes which point to the other nine stadiums being used for the competition.

This stadium has played an iconic role in South Africa’s history, hosting Nelson Mandela’s homecoming rally in 1990. On that day 100,000 people swarmed the stadium to hear him call for a unified South Africa. It’s fitting then that in its new guise, the stadium will host both the opening ceremony and final of the 2010 World Cup.

In the redesign, speakers are driven by 147 Crest CKi series amplifiers located in 10 racks around the venue. Each one powers a corresponding pair of speaker clusters. The amplifiers are all located in the roof near the loudspeakers. Malherbe explained:

“I wasn’t allowed to put too much weight up in the roof, so we had to make some compromises. If I’d gone for longer speaker cable runs, and mounted the amplifiers more remotely, I’d have lost a huge amount of power in the cables, no matter what gauge I used. This would have just ended up in my having to put more speakers up — and more weight.

“Locating the amp racks just off the maintenance gantry meant that my runs were much shorter and the power losses were much, much smaller. I didn’t need extra amplification or speakers to compensate. The upshot of this is that the signal path is overwhelmingly digital. Runs of Cat6 and optical fiber connect the CKi’s with the parent MediaMatrix NION® n6 DSP controllers, and from there to the sources and mixer in the controller room.”

“We chose the Peavey/Crest combination for a couple of reasons,” said Malherbe. “First, there is an almost seamless integration between the amps and the DSP, secondly they complied with the life safety requirements of the spec in terms of redundancy, and finally my technical guys are more familiar with the MediaMatrix solution.

“We’ve got six NION n6 processors to control the system, which provides enough overhead capacity for redundancy.”

Loftus Versfeld
Located in the heart of Pretoria, the 50,000 seat Loftus Versfeld is one of South Africa’s oldest stadiums.

The system at the Loftus used two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 42 Crest Audio CKi amps.

“As in all the other stadiums, all amplification was CKi. There is a mixture of mainly 1600 and 800V’s to do all the voice evacuation,” said head systems engineer Grant Scott. “We have two NION n3’s for processing, we are just using one and the other is redundant for standby.” Prior to the NION’s being installed in 2007, it was a total analog solution. “It was very difficult; we had an amplifier room in the players’ tunnel, they were all Crest Audio CD®’s at that stage, and we had one more behind each screen. We had long speaker runs.” With the new system there is a full redundant fiber loop around the stadium, there are new amp rooms in both the west and east stands, and it is CobraNet® distribution throughout.

Green Point
Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium stands in the Green Point suburb a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean with Table Mountain as its backdrop. During the World Cup it will be a 68,000-seat stadium. The system includes two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 62 Crest Audio CKi amps. There are four amplifier locations within the stadium, one in each stand.

“It’s all Crest Audio CKi power amps with the nX cards in them. It’s all CobraNet distribution which is fibered to the breakouts and all processed by two NION’s in the main control room,” explained Malherbe.

Ellis Park
Located in the heart of Johannesburg, Ellis Park stadium was given a significant face-lift before the Confederations Cup finals and now seats 62,000 fans.

Prosound put in the original system in 1981, which stayed in place until the Rugby World Cup in 1995 with only maintenance performed but no changes in the fundamental design.

“Now we have done a complete upgrade, there are entirely new loudspeakers, all Crest Audio amps, and all MediaMatrix processors,” said Malherbe.

The system includes two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 48 Crest Audio CKi amplifiers.

Nelson Mandela Bay
The brand new 48,000-seat Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth is set on the shores of the North End Lake.

DSP for the venue comes from two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and the power is via 34 Crest Audio CKi amps.

Peter Mokaba Stadium
Named after one of the renowned sons of the struggle and emancipation of South Africa against the apartheid regime, the Peter Mokaba Stadium is in Polokwane.

For this stadium, five Peavey MediaMatrix NION n6 processors were used and power came from 30 Crest Audio CKi amps and 16 Ci20x8 eight-channel amps.

Mbombela Stadium
Mbombela is siSwati (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa) and literally means ‘many people together in a small space.’ The 64,000-seat stadium in Nelspruit is the first football stadium built to international standards in the Mpumalanga Province.

In the Mbombela Stadium, two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3’s were used for DSP and 26 Crest Audio CKi amps were used in the system.

Free State Stadium
The 48,000 capacity Free State Stadium in Bloemfontien takes its name from the province in which it is located. For the 2010 World Cup, a second tier was added to the main grandstand, which increased the seating by 10,000.

This system is powered by 46 Crest Audio CKi amps, and two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3’s were used for processing.

Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Built in 1999, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg required only a minor upgrade for the World Cup. The capacity of the stadium was increased to 42,000.

The audio system is powered by 29 Crest Audio CKi amps. A single Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 was used for processing.

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Keiluhollin Bowling Complex, Reykjavik, Iceland

Keiluhollin Bowling Complex, Reykjavik, Iceland

Keiluhollin is a state-of-the-art bowling complex which was recently opened in the heart of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. As well as its sizeable ten-pin bowling alley area, the 4,600 square metre facility also accommodates a restaurant, coffee shop and sports bar, each of which receives networked audio via the venue’s centralised 20-zone AV system, at the heart of which is Peavey Commercial Audio’s MediaMatrix.

Keiluhollin becomes the second major bowling complex to be opened in Reykjavik, but it’s by far the best, insists Jakob Kristinsson, whose company, ETOS, has kitted out both venues. For Keiluhollin, ETOS delegated a massive 800 hours of manpower for the design, spec, and installation, and deployed a total of 300 loudspeakers.

“In 2006 I installed a non-Peavey system into the other [bowling] venue, but now, seven years on, all three of the audio processors have broken down, so I knew I had to come up with a much more flexible solution this time round,” he explains. “It quickly became clear that the only system that would tick all the boxes was Peavey’s MediaMatrix: it’s extremely powerful; it’s reliable; and it was the only way we could guarantee perfect audio to the entire building.”

To cover the venue’s 20 ‘stereo plus subwoofer’ zones, two NION n6s were deployed along with CAB 16i and CAB 16o CobraNet breakout boxes to generate 96 analogue I/O (44 inputs and 52 outputs). 20 Crest Audio CC amplifiers were used to generate the required 64kW of power.

“With NION, you have almost endless possibilities in terms of I/O expansion: you just add on a unit, which is what we did with the CABs; also, the processing power is simply fantastic; I don’t know another system that could have dealt so easily with 20 stereo zones and subwoofers,” he continues. “I’m also really impressed with the Crest Audio CC  Amps. They’re running really well, they don’t get hot, and they also look nice, which is quite unusual for an amp!”

In addition to the overall Crestron system, Kristinsson was required to supply a backup control system which included several of Peavey’s flexible nTouch 180 and nTouch 60 touch screen controllers.

“I’m glad to say, the MediaMatrix nTouch series is easy to configure and very intuitive,” he says, “and personally it was a great opportunity for me to get acquainted with the product.”

The Crestron controller, the NIONs, and the Crest amps all talk over Ethernet on the same network. Aliases were created within the NIONs for each of the 20 zones (as well as every function), and were then handed over to the Crestron programmer who incorporated them into his programming modules.

“It’s very easy to raise the volumes or change the source anywhere within the building; all the things that you need to be able to do, you can do, thanks to this MediaMatrix system,” Kristinsson adds. “We also made Kiosk controls for the NION in two areas of the project, which work very well.”

The project was completed over a two-month period (June-Aug 2012) and everything went smoothly, Kristinsson says, though he admits he was a little nervous as to how things would turn out at the beginning, given the fact that it was his first NION project.

“You never quite know how it will go when you adopt a new product—it always feels like a bit of a gamble; but after putting faces to names when visiting the Peavey guys for a MediaMatrix Training Seminar, we were totally reassured,” he says. “The challenge was always going to be sorting out the configuration of the system, but the Peavey team helped us program the NIONs and the support in general that they provided throughout the project was second to none.”

And from an end user perspective, Keiluhollin’s manager, Agnar Fjeldsted, says he couldn’t be happier:

“The MediaMatrix system is a dream to work with; everything is so straightforward to use, and the quality of audio we have is just fantastic,” he enthuses. “We couldn’t ask for any more, really. It’s all easily accessible from our tech room, which makes workflow so simple; and I’m extremely happy overall with what we’ve managed to achieve.”

  • (2) MediaMatrix NION n6
  • (1) MediaMatrix CAB16i
  • (1) MediaMatrix CAB16o
  • (2) MediaMatrix nTouch 60
  • (1) MediaMatrix nTouch 180
  • (1) MediaMatrix GPIO-25
  • (5) Crest Audio CC1800
  • (6) Crest Audio CC2800
  • (9) Crest Audio CC4000

MediaMatrix® proves a class act at Birmingham Hippodrome

MediaMatrix® proves a class act at Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the largest touring theatres in the UK. MediaMatrix from Peavey is widely used in some of the most prestigious corporate and leisure installations in the world, including Heathrow Airport, Wembley Stadium, Ascot Racecourse and the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, with Birmingham Hippodrome being a recent addition to the long list of venues benefi ting from the industry’s leading pro-audio matrix solution.

THE CHALLENGE
Following an extensive £34m development at the turn of the millennium, Birmingham Hippodrome now ranks as one the fi nest theatre complexes in the world, with a 1,847-seat auditorium, eight hospitality and conference rooms, an additional 206-seat studio theatre, 120-cover restaurant, large new front of house areas, spacious foyers, a deli-bar and off-site bar and restaurant.
 
It is the largest independent theatre outside of London and regularly welcomes audiences of 500,000 each year – the highest attendance fi gures of any single theatre in the UK.
 
To further enhance the theatre experience, investment was made to give Birmingham Hippodrome a state-of-the-art audio management system. The aim was to provide the numerous areas of the theatre with fl exible audio control, allowing staff to conveniently manage volume levels and content, as well as
provide versatility to rooms that may need dedicated audio facilities for presentations or private hire.
 
THE SOLUTION
To meet the demand for fl exibility and total control, Birmingham Hippodrome opted for the proven combination of Peavey’s Media Matrix solution, coupled with AMX hardware, with end user operation available from either an Android device, fi xed wall points, or AMX wallmounted touchscreens.
 
The project was managed by Birmingham Hippodrome and installed by highly experienced audio visual integrators, InspiretechLtd. Via a secure login, Birmingham Hippodrome’s technical team can also access the system remotely, meaning any issues can be conveniently dealt with wherever they are.
 
With a MediaMatrix Nion N6 unit providing the brains for the venue’s audio, the solution allows for a centralised source for audio throughout four main zones in the theatre, with ability for content and level confi guration. Using CAB-4n units, all end-points can be set up in groups of four channels for microphone or line level in any of the available confi gurations. This, in turn, provides total versatility for bringing professional audio to any of the venue’s numerous hospitality and conference rooms. Inspiretech Ltd managing director, Andy Wilmott, says: “For the technical team, each end-point is, effectively, like having a full mixing desk at your fi ngertips. But for front of house operators, they just need to know that when they press a volume button, it functions correctly.”
 
He added: “I have been installing MediaMatrix into venues ranging from shopping centres to football stadiums for over ten years. I have also installed MediaMatrix on cruise ships, which can be a pretty harsh environment, and it just runs and runs. The integration with systems such as AMX works really well. For reliability and integration, MediaMatrix is top of the tree.”
 
THE RESULT
Birmingham Hippodrome can now boast the most cutting edge audio visual solution of any theatre in the country. As well as providing key areas such as the restaurant and foyers with end user control via a tablet device, the system also provides the Hippodrome’s technical team with total audio control at any one of up to 28 end-points.
 
Andy Willmott explains: “The restaurant manager, for example, will have management of his volume levels, but the system can be told to control levels and content in that area if required; for example, if there was an event taking place adjacent to the restaurant. The process is quick, reliable and hassle free.”
 
With such a user-friendly interface, staff at the venue have taken quickly to the new technology. Using Peavey’s award-winning Kiosk2Go software, and leveraging the power of HTML5, any control interface that a designer creates using the MediaMatrix can be accessed wirelessly with any Android, iOS (Apple), Blackberry, Windows or Linux mobile device. Paul Keogh, technical coordinator at Birmingham Hippodrome, says: “Such are the benefi ts that the system brings to user operation and system management that we are now being asked to consult at other theatres on their installations.”
 
Mark Coombes, European sales manager for Peavey, said: “We are delighted to see, and hear, MediaMatrix in one of the fi nest theatres in the world. The quality of the installation from Inspiretech Ltd is fantastic and we are proud to add Birmingham Hippodrome to our long list of prestige venues around the globe enjoying Peavey commercial audio.”

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