Indian Wells Tennis Garden undergoes audio makeover12 July 2017
Located in Palm Desert, California, Indian Wells Tennis Garden has overhauled its Stadium 1 audio system, which is the largest of its 29 courts and the second largest tennis-dedicated stadium in the world.
Indian Wells is the host of the annual BNP Paribas Open, a major two-week pro tennis tournament. The 16,100-seat Stadium 1 has recently been rebuilt, including a complete audio makeover featuring RTS and Electro-Voice, integrated by Technicomm Industries.
“They decided to totally refurbish the main stadium last year. One goal of that change was to modernise the intercom system,” said Steve Burgess, project manager for Technicomm. “We wanted a system that could become part of our site-wide Dante audio network, and RTS was one of the few brands with that capability.”
The intercom system is based on an RTS ADAM-M digital matrix and utilises OMNEO IP technology as its networking backbone. A total of 15 RTS DKP-4016 desktop keypanels and one rack-mount RTS KP-5032 keypanel are spread throughout the Indian Wells facility, each fitted with a gooseneck microphone.
“The programmability of the RTS intercom system put us miles ahead of our previous capabilities,” said Burgess. “We were able to route several Dante audio streams into the system and tailored each keypanel to what that operator needs on it. We were even able to incorporate the audio stream for the Hawk-Eye line judging system, which was a huge advantage for the broadcast team.”
The Hawk-Eye system requires audio input from the court effects and umpire microphones, which previously was achieved with the help of an outboard mixer.
“Having a Dante network with RTS keypanels changed all that,” said Burgess. “Now we use the speaker on the keypanel as the playback device. All we had to do was go into our Dante controller, drag the source channels over to the destination and boom, it was done. Very simple, easy to use, and sounded great. It’s a good example of the flexibility of a Dante-based system. It also eliminated a whole bunch of gear out of the broadcast booth, which was another goal of ours.”
Another major aspect of the Indian Wells upgrade was the public address system. “We had a loudspeaker demo shootout; six companies, no loyalties, and the EV products flat-out won on sound quality and aesthetics,” explained Burgess. “The EVID ceiling speakers were the clear choice based on superior sound quality.”
A total of 60 EVID PC 6.2 premium ceiling speakers were installed in the facility’s premium areas, including the owner Larry Ellison’s private suite, along with other viewing suites, the champions’ lobby, and fitness centre. For wall-mount indoor/outdoor applications, the facility chose the EVID 4.2, a weather-resistant design that combines attractive styling and flexible mounting with high fidelity and intelligibility.
The installation itself was a major challenge for Technicomm due to delays in the physical construction process of refurbishing Stadium 1. “We were joking that we needed more Bosch power tools, because we were basically working through February 5th, and the tournament started the next day,” said Burgess. “We ended up connecting and testing everything outside the audio cage before we deployed it. Jeff Shorsher and Calvin Ogawa from RTS really had my back, programming the system on site and interfacing it with the broadcast system. They made sure that when we put the gear out in the field, it worked right the first time. I want to thank them for their incredible support.”
While the audio and intercom upgrades were focused on Stadium 1 and broadcast logistics for the annual BNP Paribas Open, the facility is in year-round use for other events as well, including music and arts festivals, major concerts, and as a graduation venue for area high schools.