Spain-based pro audio manufacturer, DAS Audio, have provided the sound system for the Westfalenhallen Exhibition Centre in the German city of Dortmund which recently hosted the ADAC Supercross event.
The 29th ADAC Supercross event took place between January 6th and 8th and saw die-hard motorcross fans descend upon the multi-purpose Westfalenhallen exhibition hall. Here they got to see the Who’s Who of the global motorcross world as teams from around Germany and Europe took part in a variety of different categories and races.
The two-day event involved the racing and freestyle exploits of the riders being shown on centrally positioned LED screens. This helped bring the top riders performances even closer to the 9,000 spectators who filled the centre each day.
The screens, which provided unobstructed views to all in the venue, were also used to broadcast pre-recorded music clips, advertisements, statements, progress reports, greetings, and awards ceremonies.
Naturally, the screens required some substantial sound reinforcement. However, the venue and applications resulted in some unique challenges.
So, what were these challenges? Firstly, audio engineers had to provide a uniform, 360° sound coverage. Secondly, they had to take into account the distance from the spectators in the first rows, which varied between 20 and 45 metres. What is more, any design had to take into account the anticipated background noise stemming from the roar of 10 motocross motorbikes at a time driving past fans. Equally, cheering spectators added to this issue.
DAS Audio were asked to provide this audio installation. However, from the outset of planning it was apparent that it would stretch the company’s experience and tech to the limit.
“It's a jungle out there,” explained DAS Audio’s System Designer in Germany, Lars Schnier, “The only way to win this fight is with every weapon in your arsenal at the ready.”
Soon a plan had been formed. Schnier decided that DAS’s large format Aero 50 line array system. This would be ideal to handle the venue’s long throw requirements. The Aero 50 is a passive, 3-way full range loudspeaker. It incorporates dual 15-inch low frequency and four 8-inch speakers for the midrange. Furthermore, it offers two neodymium compression high frequency drivers with 1.5-inch exits. Each line array cluster consisted of 6 elements in order to cover the longer distances in the oval.
In order to accommodate the longer diameter of the venue arranged a test. Schnier decided upon installing a Aero 12A compact powered line array enclosures on one side of the venue. On the other side, he set up an Aero 28A system.
Under the balcony Schnier installed a sound system of 24 variant 15A powered, mid-high line array elements. This was rigged up under the galleries in order to minimize shadows in the rows furthest back.
In terms of the amplification and processing of the system, Schnier utilized 16 Lab.gruppen FP10000Q power amps supported by 4 Lake LM26 controllers. This also provided the signal distribution to the Aero 12A and 28A enclosures. All of this equipment was distributed throughout the ceiling areas using the accessible rigging in the hall.
All system controllers for the Aero 50 loudspeakers are controlled by wireless remote. Similarly, wireless remotes control the DAS DSP-4080 signal processors for the Aero 12A and Aero 28A enclosures.
At the end of the installation, Schnier and his system assistant, Lucas Gripshöfer, had had a massive 24 discreet audio zones to measure, level, and bring into phase with each other.
After these results, Schnier made the decision regarding the Aero 12A and 28A test. He ultimately decided that the Aero 12A proved to be the most appropriate loudspeaker for this application.
It was therefore arranged for two clusters of eight Aero 12A’s to be set up. They were positioned to provide coverage over an angle of roughly 28°. This system ensured that entire horizontal and vertical area was fully covered in support of the Aero 50’s. Subsequent checks undertaken during the breaks revealed that both systems were complementing each other perfectly.
Thanks in part to the excellent sound quality provided by Schnier and Gripshöfer, the high-energy motorcross event was a huge success. High-octane performances and high speech intelligibility was provided to attendees much to the pleasure of managers, technicians and VIP guests and, of course, the spectators themselves.