Dortmund, Germany – February 2012 … The Westfalenhallen exhibition centre in Dortmund boasts a well-earned reputation as a multi-purpose exhibition hall: it is the venue of choice for all major German and international events. From January 6th to the 8th, die-hard motocross fans from across Europe descended on the Westfalenhallen for the 29th edition of the ADAC Supercross to see the Who’s Who in the global motocross scene come together, as teams from around Germany and Europe took part in a variety of different categories and races. The spectators watched the racing and freestyle exploits of the motocross drivers with bated breath over the course of the two-day event.
Venue specifications, as well as the direction of the action, meant that centrally positioned LED screens were essential. The live event was broadcast onto huge LED screens hung in the centre of the venue to bring the experience and performance of the leading drivers even closer to the more than 9,000 spectators each day. Music clips, s, statements, progress reports, greetings, and awards ceremonies were recorded and broadcast to every seat in the hall, and every spectator seated around the perimeter of the venue could see at least one full unobstructed LED screen.
Providing sound reinforcement for the event posed a unique set of challenges: (1) providing uniform, 360° sound coverage, and (2) taking into account the distance from the spectators in the first rows, which varied between 20 and 45 metres. Additional factors included the anticipated background noise stemming from the roar of 10 motocross motorbikes at a time driving past fans as well as the resulting cheering of all those spectators.
In the preliminary planning meetings for this project, it quickly became clear to Lars Schnier, D.A.S. Audio’s System Designer in Germany, that, “It’s a jungle out there. The only way to win this fight is with every weapon in your arsenal at the ready.” He quickly decided on the company’s large format Aero 50 line array system to cover the venue’s long throw requirements. The Aero 50 , a passive, 3-way full range loudspeaker system incorporating dual 15-inch low frequency transducers, four 8-inch speakers for the midrange, and two neodymium compression high frequency drivers with 1.5-inch exits, provided the sonic muscle for an event of this scope. Each line array cluster consisted of 6 elements in order to cover the longer distances in the oval.
The longer diameter of the venue was fitted on one side with Aero 12A compact powered line array enclosures and, on the other side, with an Aero 28A system to test and compare the two options. The under-balcony sound system consisted of 24 Variant 25A powered, mid-high line array elements—rigged under the galleries in order to minimize shadows in the rows furthest back.
Sixteen Lab.gruppen FP10000Q power amps—augmented by 4 Lake LM26 controllers—provided amplification and processing for the Aero 50’s as well as signal distribution to the Aero 12A and Aero 28A enclosures. This equipment was distributed throughout the ceiling areas using the accessible rigging in the hall. All system controllers for the Aero 50 loudspeakers, along with the D.A.S. DSP-4080 signal processors for the Aero 12A and Aero 28A enclosures, were controlled by a wireless remote. At the end of the installation, Lars Schnier and his system assistant, Lucas Gripshöfer, had 24 discreet audio zones to measure, level, and bring into phase with each other: a considerable task that the two managed most efficiently.
The Aero 12A proved to be a very good loudspeaker choice for this application. The two clusters of eight Aero 12A’s were positioned to provide coverage over an angle of roughly 28°. The system, as tuned and positioned by Schnier, provided consistent coverage for the entire horizontal and vertical area as far as the adjacent Aero 50 units. Checks on all the different levels during the breaks showed both systems to be complementing one another nicely—providing dropout free audio coverage throughout all areas of the venue.
The results of all of the measurements, loudspeaker placement, and fine-tuning resulted in uninterrupted views of all of the LED screens and a full-range sound system that provided the high level of speech intelligibility and even coverage throughout the venue that the various event managers, technicians, and VIP guests had hoped for—even against the background racing noise, which meant that Lars Schnier and Lucas Gripshöfer for D.A.S. Audio, in cooperation with Soundart GmbH & Co KG and HWS Veranstaltungstechnik, delivered sound quality that helped make the event a rousing success.
About D.A.S. Audio
Celebrating 40 years of innovation, Valencia, Spain-based D.A.S. Audio is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of loudspeaker systems, power amplification, signal processing, and related components. D.A.S. Audio products are found on tour with the world’s greatest performing artists and installed in many of the most prestigious facilities. For additional information about D.A.S. Audio, visit the company online at www.dasaudio.com.
Photo Description: A supercross contestant in mid-air beneath the DAS loudspeaker arrays