Auckland, New Zealand’s Eden Park has undergone a multi-million transformation in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, including a new three-tier south stand and a new two-tier east stand that replace the stadium’s terraces and increase crowd capacity to 60,000 from 42,000.
The redeveloped Eden Park, which will host the World Cup opening ceremony and game as well as the final, also features an internal concourse that will allow people to circulate around the grounds inside the stadium and world-class facilities including food and beverage outlets, toilets, and corporate areas.
As well as an update of facilities, the stadium has had a complete overhaul of its sound systems courtesy of Barton’s Sound Systems (BSS) who were subcontracted to Fletcher Construction to design and implement combined music, public address, and evacuation systems from Bosch and Electro-Voice.
BSS and acoustic consultants Marshall Day Acoustics used EASE and SoundPlan software to create a 3-D acoustic model of the stadium, helping the project address complex design issues relating to stringent environmental concerns.
According to Project Manager Robert Waddell, the most unique design element of the entire project is the combination of the professional PA system with the fire evacuation system. To achieve this, Waddell specified a Bosch Praesideo system – the world’s first fully digital public address and emergency sound system – integrated with the Electro-Voice IRIS-Net control and supervision software platform. The processing and communication of both audio signals and control data entirely in the digital domain makes the system superior to other currently available public address and emergency sound systems.
”It’s a simple, turnkey solution,” explains Waddell. ”All the speakers inside the building are also used for the pre-recorded fire alarm messages. The Praesideo digital PA and emergency sound system covers many zones, including toilets, public areas, private areas, offices, and stairwells, as they are all defined as evacuation zones. They can all be activated independently or in groups. It’s a highly reliable system, with full amplifier and battery redundancy, so if the mains fail it still works.”
The system’s unique optical network offers Waddell total freedom in system design, interference-free audio, and a high level of redundancy that traditional systems cannot offer. It is fully programmable, and interfaces with other security systems.
Ease of use is a stand out factor with this system; a standard operator on any event day need not be bothered with any aspect of the installation, interfacing instead with a simple system via a PC from which the complete system can be controlled and monitored – from microphones going in through the NetMax DSP processors, to the amplifiers and speakers in place throughout the entire stadium.
”On event day, the operator simply clicks on-screen icons on the screen to control the system via IRIS-Net, the proprietary software that integrates all the Bosch products together under one network,” adds Bryan Davidson, senior engineer with Bosch. “If a speaker icon is green, they know it’s ok; if it’s red they can click on it to easily identify the problem and fix it.It’s very straightforward and intuitive.”
The stadium bowl system features the new Electro-Voice EVH-1152S/66PI horn-loaded speakers in fifteen clusters of three.
”The EVH-1152S/66PI doesn’t sound at all like a horn-loaded box, but more like a front-loaded box,” Davidson continues. “I built an EASE model for the stadium, explored various solutions, got the data for the EVH loudspeakers, and they looked great. It maintains pattern control down to 400 Hz, whereas other loudspeakers tend to stop at around 500 Hz at best. EVH is a winner, not only acoustically but price-wise; it’s a very cost effective solution for stadiums.”
The stadium bowl system comprises fifteen speaker clusters of Electro Voice EVH-1152S/66PI two-way full-range speakers specifically designed for stadium use, EVF-1181S sub-woofers (all powered by Dynacord DSA 8410 power amplifiers with RCM-810 remote control modules) and three NetMax N8000 networkable digital matrix controllers