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d&b audiotechnik are in the game at Baku

d&b audiotechnik are in the game at Baku

Earlier this year Azerbaijan’s largest city and capital, Baku, hosted the inaugural European Games. Between 12th and 28th June almost six thousand athletes competed in twenty different sports ranging from traditional athletic competitions to less high profile events such as beach soccer and BMX cycling. Competitions took place across a number of different venues, some permanent, some temporary, some large, some small. Specialist audio supplier, Dimension, and Sports Technology director, Damian Rowe had the challenging task of supplying audio systems for the competition venues throughout the games, and for the many corporate and press facilities that required a pro audio presence.

Rowe is no stranger to events of this magnitude; a veteran of the Sochi Winter Olympics, London 2012 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, his CV is something of a gold standard. “Across the twenty one venues, over half were rigged with d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers as their primary systems. Wherever possible, we always choose d&b for this type of job for one very simple reason: they are the best product available. The combination of power, processing and control you get from the wide range of systems is unsurpassed.”

Project manager, Mike Sumner was head of audio for Glasgow and Baku, and worked alongside Sports Technology in Sochi and London. “It’s probably easier to say which d&b systems we didn’t use rather than the ones we did. T10s were the perfect choice for the Basketball Arena that had a capacity of two and a half thousand, while the nearly 4,000 seater Beach Arena, that hosted beach volleyball and beach soccer, was rigged with V-Series. In other venues we made use of Q7s, B4s and M4s for example. No matter which product is chosen from the range, be it new or old, d&b reliability and quality of sound reinforcement is a given. The value of that is hard to quantify, especially when you are working so far away from home.

“In the Crystal Hall indoor arena, originally built for the Eurovision Song Contest, there were three venues. In the boxing venue, we used an almost identical T10 system to the one that was in both the Excel Centre for London 2012 and the SECC for the Glasgow games, a solid endorsement of that loudspeaker as one could get.”

However, in the Crystal Hall venue for fencing, karate and taekwondo, Sumner tried something new. The Y10P loudspeakers were used as a stand-alone point source system as there was no means of flying an array. This was something of a difficult space that was changed around dependent on which sport was being played. “I’d never used them before; they were light and easy to rig and performed exceptionally well, giving a really warm feel in the low to mid range.”

Sumner is an enthusiastic user of d&b’s ArrayCalc: “I use ArrayCalc throughout the planning process and then once we’re on site it plays an invaluable role. With events of this nature, we visit the venues and measure the rooms that are then built into ArrayCalc. But, of course, it’s not unusual to find that the venues are not completed in time or when we arrive on site the spaces have been altered significantly. With ArrayCalc we can pitch up and make the necessary changes without it becoming a time consuming or logistical nightmare. I wouldn’t leave home without it. Even when we are using loudspeakers from another manufacturer, that don’t offer a calculation programme, I would still refer to ArrayCalc to offer a ballpark solution. The fact that it’s free and available to everyone is amazing.”

Providing appropriate audio solutions for everything from morning press conferences to huge sporting events is always a challenging project and necessarily fraught with unforeseen difficulties, changes and frustrations. Sumner undoubtedly views d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker systems as somewhere he can comfortably hang his hat. “There are many reasons that I would always be happy using a d&b system at an event such as this; not least that they perform so well. There is always a speaker in the d&b range that will fit the job perfectly and the fact everything is so interchangeable means that, across 20-odd venues, we were able to provide the right solution in the right place. In an environment where help can be hard to come by easily, a choice of d&b loudspeakers is something of a ‘get out of jail’ card for me.”

16th September 2015

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