A New Sound at Sun City Super Bowl

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The purpose built resort of Sun City, lying a couple of hours north west of Johannesburg, is unashamedly dedicated to pleasure and entertainment on a luxury scale. Only the best will do. So the combination of a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system and Sun City’s premier venue, the Super Bowl was, perhaps, inevitable.

The scale of the venue’s demands from an audio reinforcement perspective is obvious: seating for six thousand eight hundred and fifty five; standing capacity of ten thousand five hundred; precision of sound performance is required for events ranging from the spoken conference to the hosting of international touring shows and bands. Gustav Barnard from Stage Audio Works and Stefan Goertz from d&b audiotechnik’s Application support department were jointly responsible for the design and installation. This mutual collaboration was just one reason for choosing d&b as Alan Barry, Head of Sound for the Sun City Entertainment Department, explains, “The support and enthusiasm from d&b locally and internationally leading up to the purchase of the system, was a major factor in Sun City buying d&b.”

Barry is not a man to make a hasty choice as he made clear explaining his reasons for awarding the contract to d&b and Stage Audio Works, “After quite a few years of deliberation and homework, we finally got the budget to replace our old faithful PA system that has served us so well for the last twenty two years. Technology has radically changed in those years, and it was time to get up to date. The decision to go d&b was not taken lightly, and there are many variables that had to be considered. It had to: a) sound fantastic; b) be flexible and versatile for all the different applications that we are subjected to and c) have the full back-up and support needed; and produce the necessary SPL and coverage required within the venue without distortion or colouration. The system has to perform for conferencing, as well as major local and international artists, and must be a system everybody wants to use.”

The installation was initially conceptualised and designed using the d&b ArrayCalc calculator and simulated in the acoustic prediction software, EASE, to ensure the most effective design. Barnard and Goertz opted for a combination of J8 and J12 line array modules, supported by flown arrays of J-SUBs and J-INFRAs, with Q-Series out fills. The d&b system is ideally suited to the demands of such an inclusive venue, allowing variable flying height and frame angle through the use of an inclinometer. The subwoofers can be flown for corporate functions or stacked on the ground or integrated into a sub array together with the J-INFRA. As Barnard comments, “The system ensures maximum flexibility to adapt to the demands of the venue”.

The d&b Remote network allows the system to be monitored anywhere in the venue so onsite training, overseen by Barnard and Goertz, was an important facet of the final commissioning of the system. The active provision of ongoing support is clearly a factor in Barry’s endorsement, “I am confident that we have made the right choice and look forward to a very successful d&b partnership.”

The Super Bowl is now fully equipped to meet all the eclectic audio demands of a twenty-first century premier venue in the southern hemisphere. As Barnard sums up, “The Super Bowl at Sun City is such a prestigious venue with a long standing heritage of hosting both national and international touring shows; it’s simply great to have d&b installed here.”

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