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Harman audio is a winner at new athletics arena

Harman’s JBL Intellivox DC430 provides clarity at €10 million athletics arena

The Athlone Institute of Technology recently added a high specification indoor athletics arena to its campus. Representing a €10m investment, this IAAF-standard six-lane track, surrounded by 1,500 spectator seats, required a sound system that offered high intelligibility.

However, Dublin-based Sound Productions were only introduced to the project after it had been completed. According to senior project manager Peadar Carley, the budget was limited and the performance of the PA system specified by the previous contractor had suffered as a result. Sound Productions were therefore asked to evaluate and propose a solution.

With a reverberation time in excess of five seconds, Sound Productions wasted little time in specifying a solution that has stood them in good stead on many previous occasions when working in highly reverberant spaces, by turning to a pair of JBL Professional Intellivox-DC430. The digitally controllable arrays, formerly badged as Duran Audio, were supplied by Sound Technology, Harman’s UK and ROI distributor.

“We were confident in proposing a demonstration of the actual units at one of the athletic events,” said Carley. “The client was immediately satisfied once they heard the performance of the system.”

The DC430 is the second tallest of these fully-integrated digitally controlled loudspeaker arrays. This column has proven to be a versatile and effective solution for vocal reinforcement within reverberant venues, with a single Intellivox-DC430 being capable of covering an area of up to 50 metres while maintaining an even sound pressure level.

Two of the speakers were installed side by side opposite the viewing stand — principally to reproduce speech but also to handle background music. At the same time some of the existing speakers were reconfigured, at the client’s request, to act as delayed infills and to deliver background music.

“As the ceiling height of the arena is relatively low for the size of the area, the speakers needed to cover the 50m distance evenly from a single point without creating a hot spot close to the loudspeaker,” said Carley. “Aside from the quality of the performance the client was also impressed with how discreet these speakers were.”

While the equalisation beam steering is handled by the Intellivox DSP, routing and other audio tools are handled in a separate control environment, and the existing mixing desk and amplification were re-integrated and re-commissioned.