d&b audiotechnik in SC Freiburg’s New Stadium: A-Series with Custom Rigging for the “Breisgau Brazilians”.

As a state-of-the-art home venue, SC Freiburg’s new Europa-Park Stadium conveys the club’s identity and meets the latest requirements in terms of functionality, stadium experience, and entertainment. The soccer stadium has a capacity of 34,700 spectators, all of whom can enjoy outstanding viewing conditions throughout the entire venue.

Backnang in Breisgau

d&b audiotechnik had already supplied the sound system for SC Freiburg’s former, time-honored Dreisam Stadium. In the end, solutions from Backnang also came out on top during the competitive bidding process for the new home of the professional soccer team from Breisgau. The system uses 28 hangs, each with four augmented array loudspeakers from the d&b A-Series, which was launched in 2019. In this case, the system features the installation versions 58 ALi90-SVS and 54 ALi60-SVS.

At SC Freiburg’s new Europa-Park stadium, the 112 augmented array loudspeakers are powered by 28 d&b 30D four-channel amplifiers, which receive their signals from ten DS10 Audio Network Bridges – the audio signal flow is completely digital. The amplifiers are distributed over four physically separate control centers that are interconnected redundantly via a fiber optic network with double ring topology. Thanks to the 112 available amplifier channels, the sound system can be operated with d&b ArrayProcessing, which ensures that the sound level is distributed homogeneously across the stands and that visitors enjoy excellent sound in every seat.

Kickoff for fein.media

fein.media GmbH (www.fein.media), under the leadership of Gerd Gruss, was responsible for planning, installing, programming, tuning, and commissioning the sound system. On the d&b audiotechnik side, several members of the Sales and EAS (Education and Application Support) teams responsible for the DACH region were involved in the project.

The A-Series is on the cutting edge of technology and hasn’t been on the market for already 15 years, as is the case with some of the competing products.Gerd Gruss, planning/installation/programming/tuning/commissioning, fein.media GmbH

Custom rigging that was designed specifically for the angles required in the new stadium was used to attach the loudspeaker clusters to girders on the stadium roof. Looking at the special hardware, Gerd Gruss speaks of “Swabian quality workmanship” that is capable of withstanding adverse environmental conditions.

In order to accommodate the different sound depths of the tiers that needed to be covered, several versions of the rigging hardware were used in the Europa-Park stadium. The side panels that determine the angle of the speakers were specially coded by d&b to simplify installation and ensure it was carried out correctly.

A One-Two Pass: Game PA and Voice Alarm

At SC Freiburg’s new Europa-Park stadium, the d&b sound reinforcement system isn’t only used for the tasks normally associated with soccer matches (stadium operators refer to this as “pro sound”), but is also used for voice alarm with security and alarm-related announcements as well as the reproduction of warning signals. The concept was reviewed and accepted by technical appraiser Kemal Bäuerle from BIS Sachverständigen GmbH & Co. KG on February 18, 2020. The voice alarm system fulfills all of the requirements of the DIN EN 54 standard – the only special feature is that the emergency power supply has been implemented via a generator.

Two stand-alone fiber optic rings were installed in the stadium which distribute both Dante audio signals (primary and secondary ports) and OCA control commands between the slave control rooms, the main control room, and the pro sound control room. In Freiburg, the Dante network is seen as an ideal solution for handling third-party events, a significant number of which are expected to take place in the stadium in the future for groups of 50 to 1,000 people – audio signals can be distributed relatively freely over numerous input and output points throughout the building via the network, and external technical service providers can make use of the existing Dante infrastructure.

In addition to the digital signal flow, an analog audio connection serves as a fallback option. The failure of components in one control center – which is unlikely but theoretically possible – is addressed in Freiburg by connecting the loudspeakers using alternating “cross cabling,” which ensures that a complete loudspeaker cluster will not fail in the event of a defect in one amplifier channel or even an entire power amplifier. Any errors that occur and the system status are displayed in detail via the d&b R1 remote control software. The fact that the system features two network switches with separate power supplies for each control center almost goes without saying in view of the sophisticated redundancy concept.

When designing the system, we considered exactly what people outside the stadium would be able to hear from it. d&b audiotechnik’s technology gives us the ability to deliver very precise directional sound while transmitting very little energy to the outside. The speakers from the d&b A-Series provide exceptional directivity control down to their lower cutoff frequency, which I consider a tremendous advantage – this was an important point when deciding on d&b! Gerd Gruss, planning/installation/programming/tuning/commissioning, fein.media GmbH Since the A-Series speakers are each equipped with two 10" LF drivers, the diaphragm is large enough to provide impressive low frequency reproduction without the need for additional SUBs: the system really thumps! Gerd Gruss, planning/installation/programming/tuning/commissioning, fein.media GmbH

A-Series in the Top League

As head of ICT at SC Freiburg, Franz Schätzle is responsible for information and communications technology. His duties also include acting as the stadium production director on match days. Schätzle was involved in the construction of SC Freiburg’s new stadium from the beginning.

I’m a regular visitor to other stadiums, and over the past few years I’ve been able to develop a pretty good feel for what audio equipment is used where and what the results sound like in the stadium. When it comes to pro sound in a bowl, there’s a lot you can get wrong and you can cause yourself a lot of headaches. ‘You get what you pay for’ as the saying goes – and this proves true time and time again. Frank Schätzle, head of ICT, SC Freiburg As we all know, there’s always a lot going on at a soccer stadium on match days, and there’s always a great deal of background noise. When there’s an important message, however, it has to get through. With d&b’s technology, we can effortlessly ensure that it gets heard, even when the stadium is at its noisiest. Thanks to the professional sound system from d&b audiotechnik, we can determine exactly where we want the sound in the bowl – and also where we don't want it. Frank Schätzle, head of ICT, SC Freiburg You could say that d&b as a company is similar to SC Freiburg as a club – both have specialists hard at work, striving day in, day out, to get the absolute maximum out of the available possibilities. SC Freiburg is considered to be very sustainable and is an efficiency-driven soccer club. My observation is that d&b audiotechnik employees have a similar mindset. Frank Schätzle, head of ICT, SC Freiburg

Stadium with a State-of-the-Art Sound System

SC Freiburg’s new home venue is a modern stadium with a state-of-the-art sound system that meets all of the requirements. In the future, thanks in no small part to ArrayProcessing, spectators at soccer matches will be able to enjoy "democracy for listeners" regardless of their individual standing or seated position, in line with a well-known d&b slogan – the Europa-Park stadium features everything it takes to create an impressive stadium experience, and not just in terms of sound technology.

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