A QSC Q-Sys audio networking system was chosen by event communications company Show Hire to handle public address audio at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire, UK.
Based around a Core 500i processor, a PS-1600 paging station and several I/O frames, the Q-Sys installation, supplied by UK distributor Shure Distribution UK, was used to route and control public-address audio around the 1,500-acre site.
"We've handled the public address at Badminton for a few years," explained show hire events manager Ross Slaughter, "and, until this year, we've always used analogue equipment, distributing audio signals using copper cable. Following our successful installation of Q-Sys at last year's Farnborough International Airshow, we thought we could bring the audio at Badminton into the digital age as well."
Show Hire were aided in this endeavour by the organisers of the Badminton Horse Trials, who arranged for a fibre-optic cable network to be installed on site prior to the 2015 show. "It made everything so much easier," continued Slaughter. "I prepared the Q-Sys network off-site, and we brought the kit to the show. Then we plugged the Core, the I/O Frames and the touchscreen controller into the network via the various cabinets around the site, and it was ready to go."
The Core 500i processor was situated at the event's main arena, along with a local I/O Frame. There was also an I/O Frame in the event secretary's tent and a PS-1600 paging station for making announcements over the public address (PA). Announcements were routed via the Core and sent out over the PA. An additional I/O Frame was positioned on the cross-country course – at the furthest extreme from the main arena – with a QSC PowerLight PL325 amplifier providing the necessary amplification to power the speakers out on the course.
"In the past it has always been hard work getting signals out to the cross-country course,” Slaughter admits. “In terms of distance, it's not far – probably about quarter of a mile – but the route involves cabling through trade stands, which can be difficult. This year, everything worked first time, and it was a lot easier than running copper around the course. We plan to do it this way in the future, and are talking to Badminton about using the Core at future events to automate scheduled announcements, regular safety reminders and so on. We won't be going back to analogue any time soon."