The home stadium of Sweden’s most highly decorated professional football team, Malmö FF, has been renowned for its modern, world-class design since it was built in 2009.
Staying firmly on the technology curve, the venue decided it was time to upgrade the stadium’s audio system, specifying a bespoke design from industry-standard loudspeaker brand, L-Acoustics, based around its A Series product line.
The refit came about when the stadium started to have problems with its fire alarm system, which is integral to the sound system. The technical team had been considering upgrading the current audio system, which was the impetus they needed to proceed with the project, explains Ola Bigélius, Project Manager at Creative Technology Sweden, appointed to lead the installation.
With an audience capacity of 22,500, Eleda Stadium is the third largest used by a Swedish football club. Apart from being the home of Malmö FF, the stadium is also a UEFA-rated venue, can host international club competition matches, and runs a thriving football training school from its ten training pitches. As a popular city landmark, the stadium also hosts an eclectic business and entertainment calendar in a 2,000-capacity event space and up to 800 people daily in its restaurant.
“Foremost, the stadium needed a new audio system that would satisfy FIFA requirements, and, although three or four other brands pitched for the job, L-Acoustics is the perfect choice to fulfill that brief”, says Bigélius. “The decision to specify L-Acoustics was also swayed by the versatility of the system, its vast product range, and the brand’s reputation across all sound reinforcement genres. It was the logical and intuitive choice”.
Eleda stadium comprises three two-tiered all-seater stands and one standing terrace converted to seats for international matches. The in-house Eleda team collaborated with Creative Technology on the audio design, deciding on an L-Acoustics A Series constant curvature medium throw system to manage and control the audio direction in the upper and lower terraces without bleeding onto the pitch. The loudspeaker components were configured using L-Acoustics Soundvision software which aided the design of the optimum number and location of enclosures, resulting in over 80 individual cabinets installed around the stadium.
The system is hung from the roof structure over the stands, arranged in five arrays of three L-Acoustics A15i Wide 2-way passive speakers in the West stand, six arrays of three A15i Wide in the East stand, four arrays of three A15i Wide in the North stand, and four arrays of three A15i Wide in the South stand. Each corner of the stands also has an array of three A15i Wide and an A15i Focus. At pitch level, five arrays of A15i, four of which comprise three A15i Focus and one with two A15i Wide and an A15i Focus, are also installed. A separate loudspeaker system dedicated to players, comprising 12 L-Acoustics A10i cabinets, is installed at ground level around the circumference of the pitch.
Effectively, we had two systems, one for the athletes and one for the spectators. Naturally, there is a degree of reflection from the stands and noise from the spectators onto the pitch, but it is not intrusive, and everyone is very happy with the results. We have intelligible commentary and announcements for the fans without disturbing the players’ concentration on the field, continues Bigélius.
A total of 22 L-Acoustics LA4X amplifier controllers are stationed in four different locations around the stadium. A P1 Milan AVB Processor serves as the front of the system, and M1 software was used to calibrate the system.
Since L-Acoustics systems are compliant with fire regulations and evacuation systems and are compatible with third-party AV control integration, it was easy for CT to network the audio system into the more extensive control guidance system that manages all essential parameters of the stadium. This included the fire alarm system, which handles between eight and ten zones.
L-Acoustics is a Q-SYS Technology partner, and for this project, the entire system is controlled via QSC Q-SYS audio, video, and control technology. There are three operator areas, one in an AV control room, another from the players’ entrance, and the final in the manager’s VIP area. The system can also be controlled remotely.
The Eleda team is happy with the new audio system, which provides excellent coverage and focused clarity. As part of a much larger control system, L-Acoustics’ ability to synchronize makes it a great investment for the stadium, Bigélius concludes.
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