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RCF installs large-scale acoustic solution for Baku Olympic Stadium

RCF, together with Asimetrik, has completed one of its biggest permanent installations for the new Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.

The RCF project team started work when construction of the 68,000-capacity stadium was already at an advanced stage, and it was officially inaugurated in March 2015 and will host the first European Games in June.

RCF’s Engineering Support Group (ESG) and R&D Department worked together with local distributor Asimetrik to develop the best acoustic solution for the venue. After the final approval and a Factory Acceptance Test in April 2014, with the main contractor, subcontractor and local distributor visiting RCF’s production facilities in Italy, official installation of the system started with the team’s first trip to Baku in November 2014.

“We used as many as 270 customised units of TTL55-A for one MW of audio power. This is one of the biggest permanent installations we have undertaken so far,” RCF explained. “It was a very stimulating project because our standard TTL55-A active three-way line arrays had to be adjusted and customised, particularly in respect of their mechanic and electronic system

“We made a few visits to Baku and provided some specific instructions for the set-up. The whole installation process was supervised remotely from our headquarters through RD Net.”

TTL55-A modules were chosen due to their familiar vocal clarity and high SPL of more than 120dB. These were two of the contractor’s main requirements for the system, because part of the audience is seated 63m from the speakers. The final configuration is composed of 20 clusters, 10 clusters containing 17 cabinets and 10 clusters with 10 cabinets.

An active line array allows simple and discreet wiring, with only two signal cables ­ one for the audio signal and the other for the digital control system. The overall acoustic design of the stadium includes 64 units of P2110 (10in coaxial two-way speakers) for the under balcony area and 12 units of H1315 (three-way horn-loaded bi-amped mid throw cabinets) for the playing area.

All TTL55-A cabinets were customised by RCF with metal backbones and internal supports for additional safety, making sure that the line array’s weight is safely supported by the steel structure and not just by the cabinets’ plywood.

The acoustic system in Baku Olympic Stadium has to withstand outdoor conditions 365 days a year, so all cabinets were processed with a special weather-proofing treatment consisting of external and internal polyurea finish and use of stainless steel for the mounting hardware and frame. Loudspeakers are reinforced with a special waterproof film and a multi-layer coating on the grille, highly resistant to humidity but transparent to sound.

The RD Net interface allows oversight of the whole system, including transducers, amplifiers, power supply and the whole audio connection path. The additional GPIO unit (General Purpose Input/Output) communicates any incongruity from the desired settings in terms of safety and acoustical performance.

“Baku Olympic Stadium exceeded the customer’s expectations in many ways, not only in terms of excellent intelligibility, even when the stadium is empty, but also for the system’s high SPL and its distribution, designed to be in compliance with the latest international legislation. Moreover, the audio system fulfils all requirements of the EN 60849 standard for the electro-acoustic systems applied to emergency services, another area of long-standing expertise for RCF. Now we can’t wait for the European Games in June,” concluded RCF team members.