A volcano in Guadalajara, and one that doesn’t stop flights

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For Club Deportivo Guadalajara SA de CV, or Chivas to their fans, success is endemic. With more silverware in the trophy cupboard than any other club, this is the only soccer team never to have been out of the Mexican First Division in its entire history. Far from complacent, Chivas continues to invest in its own future, most recently with the opening of their new forty five thousand seat stadium, nicknamed the Volcano. The name is well chosen, designed by architect D. Pouzet, Chivas’ Stadium rises from the ground, its massive conical grass covered slopes topped by a grandstand roof structure that appears from afar to be nothing less than a ring of cloud atop the corona.

Comments from the press have been entirely positive, “they told us the quality of the stadium is outstanding, and that this is mirrored by investment in the infrastructure,” said Guillermo Gutierrez, director of OML Entertainment. “They said the choice of the d&b audiotechnik brand for the PA system was definitely the correct one taking into account the results observed.” A subsidiary of Omnilife who own the new stadium, Gutierrez and his company OML have every reason to be proud, “Many people from the public told us that they were happy that finally they were able to understand what was announced over the PA system.”

The PA system is entirely based on d&b Q-Series loudspeakers, “the roof of the grandstand is a fabric covered ‘bird wing’ design with low loading capacity, so size and weight were a strong determinant,” said Janko Ramuscak from d&b’s Application Support department after the commissioning of the system. “The one hundred and eighty Qi1 loudspeakers hang from twenty points around the six hundred metre circuit of the stadium canopy. The great advantage of this installation is that the way it works here, the Q arrays are more or less equidistant from front and rear rows of the grandstand seating below. Pretty much every seat that each array has to cover is in the region of thirty metres away; obviously the SPLs are higher in the middle seats, but only by a little, and no fill loudspeakers are needed for the front rows.”

The equipment was supplied by Hi Tech Audio who represent d&b in Mexico, led by Director Antonio Benita, and installed by OML. “Antonio’s guys were very well organized, fast and efficient; they managed very well,” said Ramuscak. “As with all stadium openings, it seems there is always a great deal to complete at the last minute; Guadalajara was no exception. Because of pressures outside the audio remit our time to fine tune the system was very limited; even so we got the STI values quite good even with the stadium empty. When we came for the opening exhibition match against Manchester United it was very impressive.” This speed of completion was dependant on the technology, as Gutierrez explained, “From the beginning of the installation process we understood much better how strong yet simple the d&b R1 Remote control software is that communicates between the amplifier racks and the control room. For us it was the first sign of how advanced the German technology is from d&b compared with other PA systems. We also learnt many things about digital technology, not just from d&b but also from Hi Tech Audio who brought the fibre optic system to distribute the control and audio signal over very long distances. This way signal loss and noise were eliminated; the R1 and the fibre optic combination gave us results far better than expected.”

The opening celebration was very loud, with one of the largest, loudest fireworks displays yet seen in Mexico; there were more than forty trucks of mortars and explosives deployed around the stadium; it looked like they had raided the national armoury. Despite such distractions the home team did win in the end; 3:2. Gutierrez was ecstatic, “For such a small cabinet the Q exceeded all expectations, incredible SPL without loss of quality. I want to express my gratitude to d&b audiotechnik, specially Janko, and of course to the Hi Tech Audio Staff, Jesus ‘Chucho’ Díaz and Enrique Anguiano, as well its Director Antonio Benita for all support received from the very beginning of the project two years ago.”

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