Directional Sound Solution for Olympic Park

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Directional Sound Solution

At the heart of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Olympic Games stood Park Live, an area within the Olympic Park in East London dedicated for (up to) 10,000 fans with giant TV screens and picnic lawns in acres of newly created parklands.

Park Live provided the perfect location during the Olympic Games for a picnic or meeting place for friends/family, and was the only place in the Olympic Park where audiences could watch live sports action on giant screens during the course of the Games.

At the heart of Park Live stood an enormous stage area, raised on columns in the River Lea, with two giant Panasonic video screens. The screens were broadcasting live images from BBC and Channel 4 to the large numbers of watching fans in the parklands on both side of the River Lea.

The stage area sponsored by British Airways was where athletes were interviewed after competing in events allowing fans to get up really close to the real winners and other visiting stars.

Park Live proved to be the ‘Henman Hill’ for the duration of the Olympic Games, with often more than twenty thousand fans from all nations watching the action live on screen, or simply enjoy a relaxing time on the new riverside lawns.

Equipment List

  • 95 x SoundTube XT850i-GN In-Ground Speaker
  • 12 x Mysystems HR Array Column
  • 5 x Cloud VTX-4240 4-Channel 240W Amplifier
  • 6 x Cloud VTX-4400 4-Channel 400W Amplifier
  • 11 x Cloud VTX-WM1 Web Monitor Card
  • 36 x Cloud CXL-400T 400W 100V Transformer
  • 9 x Cloud CXL-1600T Transformer Tray
  • 1 x Yamaha DME-64 Digital Mix Engine
  • 1 x Yamaha 8in 8out Analogue Card
  • 2 x Auvitran AVY16-ES100 Ethersound Card
  • 4 x Auvitran AVBx3-EX100 Ethersound Tool Box
  • 1 x Ampetronic Induction Loop Amplifier
  • 3 x Furman Power Conditioner and Sequencer
  • 1 x Toshiba Laptop

A key factor in the delivery of the audience experience at Park Live during the Olympic Games was the distributed audio system providing the audio to match the images on the two giant Panasonic screens and the audio for the live presentations on the stage area at Park Live.

A critical element of the sound system design was to provide clear, intelligible sound throughout the acres of parkland of Park Live for 10,000+ fans but the sound also had to be contained within the area of Park Live so that the audio specifically did not interfere with other areas of the Olympic Park and in particular didn’t interfere with the nearby Arena, hosting events for the blind (using audible signals to recognize the passage of the ball) during sporting events for the Paralympics 2012.

Designed by Sound Directions UK for M-IS working on behalf of British Airways and LOCOG to create Park Live, the distributed sound system covered acres of newly created parklands, on both sides of the River Lea.

Stanislas Boivin-Champeaux for Sound Directions UK produced a system design incorporating in-ground loudspeakers placed strategically across the Park Live parklands in addition to using custom-designed high-frequency ribbon-arrays located strategically on the central stage, hidden from audience view.

Blending in perfectly with the surrounding parklands newly-laid pathways, lawns, wild shrubs and flowers, a critical factor in choosing SoundTube XT850i-GN in-ground loudspeakers was as much the aesthetics of the SoundTube product as well as its audio performance and characteristics. Aproximately 90 SoundTube in-ground loudspeakers were installed to provide a multi-zoned and distributed sound system.

Boivin-Champeaux for Sound Directions UK commented, ‘The performance of the SoundTube XT850i-GN is excellent, however the custom ribbon-arrays were added to supplement the in-ground loudspeakers and add some atmosphere to the sound in both park areas, enhancing the listening experience’

The sound system design used a Yamaha DME-64 to control the audio feeds, allowing the division of the audio signal from the video feeds / live stage into a number of zones, providing complete flexibility in terms of audio control and alignment.

Andy Huffer for HD Pro Audio, appointed by Sound Directions UK for the programming and commissioning of the distributed sound system for Park Live, commented ‘The Yamaha DME-64 incorporated into the sound system design allowed us to make really fine adjustments to the audio levels in each zone of the parklands and to the timing of the delays to ensure the audience experience was maximised wherever in the parks the audiences chose to sit. It also allowed us to operate the system remotely and make any fine tuning changes during the course of events without always needing to be on site ’.

The sound system design incorporated an Auvitran AVY16-ES100 Card and two Auvitran AVBx3-EX100’s for each rack of equipment, in addition to an Ethernet switch with fibre optic converter, which allowed audio to be sent easily via fibre optic links to the audio racks on both sides of the River Lea from the centralised rack mounted in the control room on the stage area.

Cloud Electronics VTX-4400 and VTX-4240 4-channel amplifiers from were used to drive the SoundTube loudspeakers and custom HF ribbon arrays. More than 40 channels of amplification required to cater for the large number of zones across the parklands the Cloud Electronics VTX4-channel amplifiers were chosen for their performance, reliability and cost effectiveness.

Boivin-Champeaux from Sound Directions commented ‘I really like Cloud Electronics amplifiers, our system design coupled the VTX-4400 and VTX-4240 with a series of Cloud CXL-400T 100V transformers and they provided a really clean and strong audio signal. The VTX-WM1 web cards fitted to the amplifiers turned out to be a really cool and essential feature as they allowed remote monitoring and load testing of the amplifiers throughout the course of the Olympic and the Paralympic Games. There was also a lot of synergy between a British amplifier manufacturer and these very British events’.

Park Live was open to the public from early morning to late evening for spectators to visit before and after sporting events in the Olympic Park for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for London 2012.