The British Olympic Association’s (BOA) operational headquarters during the London 2012 Olympics (Team GB House) was kitted out with a full audio complement from Harman Professional brands.
Located opposite both the Olympic Park and Stratford Station, Team GB House was designed to serve as a place to relax for 550 athletes representing Great Britain at the Games, with secure access from the village.
At the core of the centre was an advanced digital communications infrastructure, designed and installed by multimedia systems integrator Netpractise, who previously provided audio visual solutions for the BOA at their London HQ.
All principal audio tools in the key areas at Stratford came courtesy of the Harman Pro brand portfolio — supplied and specified by Sound Technology in partnership with resellers CoNi. Among these components were JBL VRX line array elements and CBT constant beamwidth series, Crown amplification and BSS Soundweb London configurable DSP for audio routing and system optimisation.
In order to facilitate the substantial multicast requirement, which included feeds to 22 screens onsite, the AV specialists provided end-to-end connectivity via TCP/IP, specifying the formatting, transmission and signal routing, building on the I/O expansion offered by the BSS digital architecture.
Sound reinforcement in the Hospitality Suite was comprised of three white ceiling-mounted JBL VRX932LA enclosures, two either side of the stage, operating as a single point source with the third used as a delayed fill for the rear of the rectangular room. For LF extension a VRX 915S single 15-inch reflex subwoofer is ground mounted off stage, while an auxiliary VRX 915 is brought into action when a party atmosphere is required or when a DJ plugs into the input provided for the purpose (there is also a mini-jack plug-in for MP3 background music during the day). The main system is powered by two Crown CTs 2000 power amplifiers.
The P&G Nearest and Dearest relaxation lounge, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, which is not accessible to press or public, comprises eight JBL Control 25s that are powered by two Crown CDi 1000 amplifiers.
The Press Room features two JBL CBT70J Constant Beamwidth column line array loudspeakers, which are powered by a Crown CTs 1200. Meanwhile, there are six table microphone inputs for AKG’s C747 miniature shotgun mics — the same microphone model as installed at the lectern position in the Hospitality Suite for presentation purposes.
Netpractise also provided six channels of AKG radio microphones in total, including four AKG DMS700 wireless systems (with two DSR 700 dual receivers), two handhelds - featuring AKG’s reference D7 capsule and two belt-packs - with CK77 miniature-premium lavalier microphones.
Elsewhere, around the perimeter are 14 JBL Control 52 surface mount satellite speakers divided into two zones of eight and six respectively to ensure intelligibility throughout the area, each driven by a Crown CT875 8-channel power amplifier.
There are two main control rack positions; a local audio drive rack next to the main Reception desk and a main Comms Room, whereby four 47U racks are almost fully loaded. Installed to the AV racks are the Exterity IPTV head-end, with dual content servers and an Extron XTP HDMI matrix switcher solution, which provides centralised high definition video distribution.
The Soundweb London fixed-format (12-in/8-out) BLU-100 processor in the comms room has had its capacity expanded via BLU-BIB break-in box (offering eight additional inputs) and BLU-BOB breakout, giving an additional eight outputs, located in the local amp rack. They have deployed a BLU-Link solution, with BSS’s high bandwidth digital audio bus providing easy connectivity, using standard Category 5e cabling, which can extend across a distance of 100m between compatible devices. This means that only two runs of CAT5 are necessary for the Hospitality area.
Also connected to BLU-Link is a BSS BLU-120 I/O Expander at the back of the press conference room which feeds a stage box with 16 x XLRs, providing a switchable line level output facility for use by broadcast company camera crews.
The Centre will operate without a sound mixer over its 18 hour daily duty cycle. Instead, an iPad with custom GUI will be used to facilitate source switching, content selection and audio volume/mute control across all zones.
Netpractise project manager Thomas Martelli, said: “We owe a lot to our principal suppliers, such as the Sound Technology project team for their professional support. For a project as high-profile and technically complex as this, we felt it was critical to its success to involve the in-house technical resources of Sound Technology and other suppliers.”
Following the conclusion of the Olympics Games, Team GB House will be handed from the BOA to the British Paralympic Association (BPA), to become Paralympics GB House for the Paralympic Games. At the conclusion of that, the site will be completely decommissioned and the technical equipment will go on to start a new life elsewhere.
In conclusion, Netpractise operations director, Ian Wilks, stated: “Having worked on previous projects for the British Olympic Association, we were delighted to be given the opportunity to deploy the AV technology for Team GB House. The client brief dictated that a robust, flexible and innovative solution was required and it was decided that the Harman Pro range of audio products were a perfect fit and complemented the video distribution components. Working closely with the Sound Technology technical team, from the initial design phase, through to installation and final commissioning enabled Netpractise to deliver ahead of time and ensure that the audio system exceeded expectations.”
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