The world-class multi-use Coopers Stadium in the South Australian city of Adelaide installed a brand-new d&b audiotechnik A-Series system to enable clear speech and full spectrum sound as it hosted games in the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup.
Clarity and volume
The sound system upgrade was part of a wider AV enhancement initiative, which saw new LED screens and lighting in addition to improvements to the stadium’s grandstands. Adelaide-based audiovisual production and installation company AJS was tasked with designing an audio solution that would deliver sonic quality, clarity, and volume, and be suitable for rigging within the existing stadium structure. The team required flexibility in both physical setup and acoustic control, with directivity and system unity key to success.
To meet this challenge, AJS Managing Director Andrew Gayler and his team decided on the d&b A-Series, which combines the ease of point source clusters with the level and frequency distribution of line arrays, and flexible acoustic control in an augmented format. The d&b system was supplied by NAS Solutions, which also provided support on the project.
With a modest 25m throw but an almost 90-degree coverage required, a line array would have needed too many elements and therefore impacted on sightlines and cost. A point source would have been unable to give us the ability to control the levels at the balcony area versus the lower floor, so given those constraints, we found the d&b A-Series Augmented Array to be the perfect solution. Andrew Gayler, Managing Director, AJS
Four pods, each housing four d&b A-Series loudspeakers, are now installed at the stadium’s West Stand. Over in the East Stand, six pods are rigged, each containing three A-Series cabinets. The system, which is driven by d&b 30D amplifiers, was designed using the d&b ArrayProcessing software, with assistance from Doug Pringle at NAS Solutions and the d&b team in Germany.
“Using d&b’s ArrayProcessing software, we were quickly able to calculate the number of cabinets required to obtain the vertical coverage, as well as the number of pods for the stadium width,” Gayler continues. “We then leveraged d&b expertise and took on board their recommendations to finalise the equipment schedule. The rigging proved challenging as there had never been a flown audio system installed nor any consideration for having one at the time of the original structure build. We were fortunate that our project lead at AJS, Tim Bekker, was able to design a bespoke assembly to suit the structure constraints and that a local company was able to manufacture it in a matter of days.
The d&b ArrayProcessing software makes a noticeable improvement, especially in upper frequencies. Specifically, it enables a more linear front/rear SPL within the stadium. This is d&b’s ‘democracy for listeners’ at play. We use ArrayProcessing extensively on our live events and know how important it is to deploy.Andrew Gayler, Managing Director, AJS
In the revamped Corporate Boxes on the West Stand, attendees hear announcements, gameplay and music via 14 d&b 8S point source loudspeakers, while in the North and South Stands, the team opted for d&b V7P point source loudspeakers, rigged high above the grandstand on 6.5-metre masts connected to the back wall. These are powered by d&b’s 40D amplifiers.
The most impressive feature of the A-Series is how effective it is in keeping audio off the pitch and how intelligible the audio is within the stadium, which was a key requirement.Andrew Gayler, Managing Director, AJS
“The system easily exceeds the required SPL, and the reason for multiple cabinets is coverage, not output. Our client had immediate feedback from regular patrons about how ‘crisp’ the sound was. We are also particularly pleased with how the system looks, as most seemed unaware of where the sound was coming from, given how compact the pods and V7P cabinets are.”
Gayler recognises that the d&b ArrayCalc software, of which ArrayProcessing is an optional function, is critical to all d&b system deployments, as it determines cabinet location and inter-cabinet angles. This information can then be fed into the d&b R1 Remote control software, via which d&b devices can be remotely controlled using both Ethernet and CAN-Bus, and this in turn configures all the d&b amplifiers with a vast array of configuration settings, including the ArrayProcessing settings.
“This meant all of the parameters are stored within the amplifiers, and we use Q-Sys to handle routing to those amplifiers,” Gayler explains. “Even though we have deployed a vast number of d&b systems, we often still reach out to NAS in Australia for expertise as they in turn have worked on a plethora of these types of deployments. Ultimately, we are happy to draw on the expertise of d&b either locally or in Germany as they have consistently guided us to achieve some fantastic outcomes. We explain to our clients that we have this amazing support behind us which we hope assists in building confidence to use our local services.”