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University of Wisconsin Stadium Upgrades with QSC Audio System

Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin

Photo: Bryce Richter/UW-Madison

Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the oldest stadium in the Big Ten Conference (1917), recently underwent a $1.4 million A/V system upgrade that includes the installation of a QSC Q-Sys integrated system platform with redundant Core 4000 processors to provide processing, control and management of all audio at the 80,000-seat venue. The new Q-Sys system handles every aspect of game day audio, from the main P.A. and all general access and VIP area sound reinforcement to post-game operations and broadcast media facilities at the stadium.

The Q-Sys Core 4000 processors join previously installed Q-Sys system cores, including two Core 3000s and two Core 250is already installed in both the Kohl Center and the UW Field House.

Midas PRO1 and Q-Sys Designer

South Dakota-based scoreboard and LED screen specialists Daktronics designed the stadium’s new A/V system, which includes a video display at the north end of the stadium that also incorporates a large point source P.A. loudspeaker system. Senior audio engineer and electronic systems technician Shay M. McElwain and the team at the University of Wisconsin’s Athletic Department provided design and commissioning support.

“We were very fortunate to have Daktronics’ Audio Project Engineer, David Sturzenbecher, assigned to the install. He performed a fantastic install and came up with some really clever programming to make the system thrive,” McElwain says.

The new Q-Sys system also includes a total of 35 I/O Frames and stand-alone I/O-22 units, plus a number of Paging Stations and TSC Series touchscreen panels, along with 93 PowerLight 3 Series PL380, PL340 and PL325 amplifiers.

Four of the five main amp racks at Camp Randall

Photo: Shay McElwain/UW Madison Athletics

“The primary Core 4000 is in the north amp room that’s basically underneath the scoreboard, and the backup core is in a completely different area of the stadium,” says McElwain. The two Cores are on a fiber ring topology offering total redundancy of all audio signals. “Those Cores are also handling the emergency paging and building fire alarm interface,” he says.

Thirty-three I/O Frames and two I/O-22s located throughout the stadium handle signal transport from the main control room to the main and auxiliary loudspeaker systems in the concourses, concession areas and restrooms, as well as the various club and VIP suites, plus a party deck that is available for corporate and other events. “The clubs, suites and various other function rooms each have a TSC-3 touch panel to control the source and volume,” says McElwain. “There’s a playlist of songs housed locally on the cores, so they can listen to music if they want to, and it’s integrated with our TV system.”

The new Camp Randall Q-Sys Core 4000 systems join other Q-Sys cores previously installed on campus. The first Q-Sys installation comprised two Core 3000 processors plus QSC amplifiers at the Kohl Center, home to the men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey teams. According to McElwain, “We made the changeover to Q-Sys and QSC amps back in August 2010 at the Kohl Center and it just made the system come alive.”

Shay McElwain of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department in front of four of the five main array amp racks.

Photo: Tyler Kleven/UW Madison

McElwain notes, “We don’t have a control room on-site at Camp Randall for the video board operations. The video board control room is actually at the Kohl Center, and there’s a mile of fiber that runs between the two buildings. Audio is transported from the Q-Sys system at the Kohl Center to the Q-Sys system at Camp Randall via Core-to-Core streaming. It’s pretty awesome; to be able to stream under the city streets to the control room and have that type of atmosphere going on at the football stadium a mile down the road is pretty intense.”

There are various multi-function rooms in the Kohl Center, including three luxury clubs, also running off the Q-Sys, he says. “In those areas we have TCS-8 touch screens. Everybody can select their volume and sources—TV, music, microphones—and I can program the music playlists.

Shay McElwain of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department in front of the Primary Core 4000 at Camp Randall.

Photo: Tyler Kleven/UW Madison Athletics

“We also have two of the most premier weight room and spring training facilities in the Big Ten at Camp Randall, which are driven by a Q-Sys Core 250i,” McElwain continues. “One of the rooms is filled with QSC K Series K8 Loudspeakers and the other room is has more than two dozen K10 Loudspeakers. The rooms sound so fantastic. It gives our players the extra motivation that they need via sound waves.”

Attached to the south end of Camp Randall Stadium is the UW Field House, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has a capacity of 12,000. This facility is home to the volleyball and wrestling teams. It also hosts occasional basketball games, concerts, and various other events.

“I installed a Core 250i with an I/O Frame in that room this past summer,” reports McElwain. “I also recycled sixteen QSC CX Series amps that I took out of the previous Camp Randall install and repurposed them into that room. It was a major cost effective upgrade for that facility, even though they are not new amplifiers. It also provided us with signal transport between the Kohl Center and Camp Randall control rooms via Core to Core streaming, which we didn’t have the infrastructure to do previously.”

Another recent addition to the campus athletic facilities is the 2,273-capacity LaBahn Arena, home to UW women’s hockey, which was built adjacent to the 17,230-seat Kohl Center in 2012. “I’ve got I/O Frames over at LaBahn,” says McElwain. “They shoot everything over to the Kohl Center, it’s processed and everything shoots back over to LaBahn to the amps and speakers. So we have two separate large arena sound systems that are being run off of those two Core 3000s.”

All of the Q-Sys systems are interconnected via the campus VLAN (virtual local area network), which is managed by Robert Lahey and the UW IT department. “All my Cores in the entire athletic department are on the same VLAN. There’s basically a central hub where all the fiber goes and it gets split through a Cisco router and goes to all of our facilities. So as long as I’m on the same VLAN I can access any I/O Frame or any Core from any building in any facility.”

Just completed in December 2013, The Student Athlete Performance Center (SAPC) was added to the north side of Camp Randall Stadium. This facility also relies on two Core 250i processors for board rooms, classrooms and a new Game Day Room for audio processing.

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