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Yamaha steps into the Arena

May, 2009

Installation Series speakers get the better of volleyball crowds

As well as being famous worldwide for its excellent Prosecco sparkling wine, and birthplace of soccer champion Alessandro del Piero, the Italian town of Conegliano also has a women’s volleyball team that has made incredible progress over recent years.
Founded in 1971, Spes Volley recently chalked up six consecutive promotions, passing from the third division provincial championship to national B2 Series. In 2005, it reached the national A2 Series Championship, which it won in 2008, passing to A1 from the 2008-2009 seasons, with an average crowd of 2,800 spectators at its games. Championship and cup games totalled approximately 37,500 spectators at home games, and these big crowds can now enjoy a more exciting experience at matches, thanks to a capillary new Yamaha sound reinforcement system.

Named Zoppas Arena after the team’s main sponsor, the venue was inaugurated in October 2008 and Spes, the sports society running the complex, also gave advice on the work for completing the arena.
Matteo Masat, in charge of Spes communications and organization of the events hosted in the Arena, explains, “As well as being an AV technology buff, I worked for several years in the video production field, so have the job of supervising our audio, lighting and video systems, obviously with the close support of the specialized technicians involved. The project consisted essentially in the installation of sound reinforcement in the main arena and another smaller multifunction system in a room dedicated to press conferences, corporate presentations, etc.”

Among the alternatives proposed by the audio contractor (Onda Teleelectronics of Bologna, which has over twenty years’ experience in developing projects for audiovisual and multimedia communication, security, broadcast and education), Spes chose a Yamaha system, designed by the Bologna company and inaugurated at the beginning of 2009.
Masat explains, “Mainly conceived for speech reproduction, the system had to ensure uniform audio distribution as well as the best possible intelligibility with thousands of shouting fans. We stage mainly sports events and, when the MC at the game gets excited, he shouts too, so things become even more complicated, but we have seen that the system works well and we are able to control the reinforcement effectively.”

The main arena was in fact acoustically problematic, with a reverb time of over seven seconds. As well as the top tier of seating, able to host 2,500 spectators, the venue also has a series of (motorized) retractable sections, which hold 500 along the sides of the court.
From a horseshoe-shaped truss rig no less than forty Yamaha Installation Series loudspeaker enclosure are flown, divided into ten groups of four: two IF 2115/64 in biamped configuration for the top seating, a central IF 2115/95, inclined to cover the court, and another (identical, but positioned horizontally) for the retractable seating. During games, the enclosures dedicated to the court are normally muted but, should the need arise, are ready for use for other types of events. Two more IF 2115/64 in biamped configuration (white versions for a lower visual impact) are installed on either side of the large LED screen on the wall at the end of the court.
The most demanding part for the designers regarded the enclosures pointing down on the retractable seating, as the sound “bounced” off the wooden flooring, creating reflection and phase problems. A lot of work was obviously done on the frequencies, cutting the low frequencies in particular and concentrating on speech frequencies, the most important for the client. All this was done using two Yamaha DME (Digital Mixing Engines) - a DME64N, which handles the processing of the biamped enclosures covering the main seating areas and those alongside the screen, and a DME24N, which controls the single enclosures covering the parterre and court.

A Yamaha IM8-24 analogue console dominates the main control room, with a pair of MSP 3 monitors and, behind the sound engineer’s seat, a row of racks hosts the Yamaha power amplifiers (22 XP 7000 and 12 XP 3500) and the rest of the audio equipment: the two Yamaha DME multi-channel processors are connected to CP4SF remote control panels, ensuring extremely user-friendly control of the various sections of the system: LED screen, left-hand tier, right-hand tier, control room tier, parterre, court and “journalists” (the enclosures positioned vertically in front of the control room, under which there are the desks for the journalists following that games, can be independently muted).
Masat continues, “We also have a small audio/video control setup with three cameras – one fixed, with a wide-angle lens that covers the court from above, enabling game strategy to be followed, a remote controlled one with a zoom lens for screening close-ups of the crowd on the LED screen, and the third – a handheld unit – at the side of the court. A video recording is made of the games and about fifty DVDs available for fans at the end of play.

Six Yamaha IF 2108W enclosures from the Installation Series are installed in the multi-function room, where equipment also includes gooseneck microphones fitted with a “plug-on” for wireless transmission, so the speakers’ table can be positioned anywhere in the room. The control rack hosts another DME24N, which, as well as processing and distributing the audio fed to the enclosures, is also used as a mixer and has a feedback suppression program. Masat adds, “After each game, there is a press conference and the audio is fed to the control room, then out into the main arena, along with the video coverage of the speakers, with a remote-controlled camera. All the spectators are therefore able to follow the event comfortably from their seats.”
Masat concludes, “Now that we’ve used the system for a few months, I must say we’ve achieved the best result, considering the difficulties involved in amplifying a venue of this size with four thousand shouting spectators.”
Giordano Bruzzi, technical/sales manager at Onda Teleelectronics, states: “The result at the Zoppas Arena, as far as speech intelligibility is concerned – at a very high volume and with very noisy crowds – is really good and that was the aim we’d set ourselves.”


Products IF2115/95 , DME64N , IM8-24

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