d&b celebrates a comprehensive Commonwealth coverage.
The sport filled summer of 2014 continued unabated into July when all eyes turned north to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. With seventeen different sporting disciplines on display, held at a variety of stadiums and venues across the city, this was always going to be a challenge for the company charged with delivering pro audio excellence to each location.
Step forward Sports Technology (the Official Provider for the Commonwealth Games), and veterans of the Sochi Winter Olympics and London 2012. Director, Damian Rowe explains the challenge, "The Olympics might have been a massive undertaking, given their huge scale, but the Commonwealth Games was no less challenging. Our remit was to provide the entire audio and video overlay, that is, all the non-broadcast facilities for stadia, the many other venues as well as facilities for other extraneous events such as press conferences. Across more than twenty venues we supplied more than nine hundred loudspeakers and two hundred and eighty amplifiers and our choice was to use d&b audiotechnik."
Why d&b you may ask? "We always choose d&b for this type of job," continues Rowe, "because, quite simply, they are the best products available. The combination of power, processing and control you get from the wide range of systems is unsurpassed. Our specification ranged from using tiny, unobtrusive E-Series for press conferences, through to opting for the Q and T-Series for some of the myriad venues that were used, up to utilising the power of the D80 amplifiers and the J-Series for, what was probably our most challenging location, the Hydro."
With a capacity of thirteen thousand, the Hydro was chosen as the venue for both gymnastics and boxing finals. Although only opened in 2013, its classical amphitheatre design by Sir Norman Foster standing 45 metres high on the banks of the River Clyde, has already established it as a landmark venue. Along with the other venues, Sports Technology made full use of d&b's ArrayCalc in conjunction with the EASE system prior to finalising the type, number and precise location of loudspeakers. Audio Project Manager, Mike Sumner is enthusiastic about the value of this software, "ArrayCalc was used very heavily for all the pre-planning. Where possible, the new version of the software meant that the data could be uploaded directly in to the amplifiers via R1. It is nigh on impossible to quantify just how much time, money and man-hours ArrayCalc has saved for us. Some venues, such as the Hydro, had their seating plans changed to accommodate different layouts for different sports; with this sort of tool we can still guarantee to offer the audience a superlative listening experience as we can accurately pre-plan what changes need to be made."
"The logistics of an event such this always present challenges, obstacles and moments of feeling the pressure," concludes Rowe. "However, the satisfaction of realising such a successful outcome more than outweighs that. I am really proud of what we achieved in Glasgow, particularly so at the Hydro as it is so acoustically challenging. There, minimising audio levels in the field of play, engaging with spectators and giving them a memorable experience without interfering with broadcast was seemingly impossible. A highly distributed J-Series design achieved this and, even better, there were no complaints from broadcast!"
Photos courtesy of Damian Rowe.