Horder Communication Solutions (HCS) recently completed an upgrade of the indoor and outdoor audio systems for the South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC) at its Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide, South Australia.

Morphettville RacecourseThe SAJC is proud to be South Australia’s largest premier racing club, playing host to 58 days of racing action throughout the year at Morphettville Racecourse. In addition to racing on a weekly basis, Morphettville is a multipurpose venue featuring 22 function rooms able to host events of all occasions seven days a week.

Early in 2017 the SAJC published an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the upgrade of the audio systems at the Morphettville Racecourse. The existing audio systems were based on a network of Media Matrix Nion controllers and primarily Lab.gruppen amplifiers, which were to be retained. The loudspeakers were a diverse collection of box and ceiling loudspeakers, of varying quality and suitability. Overall, most areas did not perform well and complaints from members and guests were frequent.

HCS responded to the EOI, presenting a solution using the Community range of products. HCS had recently upgraded the Strathalbyn Race Track with a combination of Community D4 ceiling loudspeakers and R Series outdoor loudspeakers and the result had been described by the club as ‘stunning,’ so it was a compelling choice to continue with the Community solution.

Providing audio to multiple zones, the sources varied from ‘all venue’ Race Day caller, broadcasts from local and interstate meetings, to conference presentation and live sound reinforcement.

The systems needed to provide a diverse range of acoustic solutions in the different areas to be covered. These included: large open indoor areas, requiring high-resolution reproduction in noisy environments from ceiling speakers; two large open conference and exhibition pavilions with high ceilings; multiple intimate conference and presentation areas; the Main Grandstand and Horse Mounting Area; Heritage Grandstands, requiring sensitive loudspeaker positioning; and Lawn Areas.

After acceptance of the HCS bid, Ease modeling of all areas was carried out by Hills AV technical staff in conjunction with HCS, to provide final validation of the solution and the BOM, which included 338 Community D Series ceiling and pendant loudspeakers, 12 D Series subwoofers and 44 R Series loudspeakers. Community provided input files that made this process simple and accurate, with results that closely aligned with the predictions.

The indoor open areas were fitted with a combination of Community D4, D5 and D6 ceiling loudspeakers, where the wide dispersion pattern was an advantage for the low ceiling heights. The club described the sound in the main Members’ Area as ‘fabulous’ on the first Race Day.

Community D Series

The Large Conference and Exhibition Pavilions are 45m x 25m and 30m x 15m ‘permanent temporary buildings,’ with glass and composite panel walls and high composite panel and canvas ceilings. One area has a suspended Tule inner lining to hide the ceiling structure, the other an open area with hung lighting truss frames. Both areas were fitted with three rows of Community DP6 pendant loudspeakers, interspersed with D10SUB high-output ceiling subwoofers painted white and hung as pendants.

The room with the Tule treatment had the loudspeakers hung above the lining, resulting in a completely hidden sound system. High-frequency degradation from the Tule lining was minimal. The result was outstanding and a small rock band used the in-house system as their reinforcement shortly after commissioning. The response was ‘jaw dropping disbelief that such a system could sound so good’.

The lower levels of these pavilions are large open low ceiling areas and the installation of D4 ceiling loudspeakers, closely spaced and tapped to low power levels, resulted in a clean and consistent sound quality that compensated for the reflective nature of the room. These were arranged into grid blocks to allow muting of selected areas for exhibition breakout. R.15Coax ultra-compact loudspeakers pointing down the ‘long axis’ were used to provide coverage to the narrow breakout balcony areas.

SAJC had previously experienced coverage problems with the Main Grandstand and Mounting Yard and these were easily resolved by the selection of the appropriate combination of Community R Series loudspeakers. The loudspeaker mounting point was the front of the grandstand awning, 18m above the front of the tiered seating area and backed by floor-to-ceiling glass, and immediately above the Horse Mounting Yard, Parade Ring and Diva Bar breakout area.

Sound levels needed to be tightly controlled across all areas with the criteria of high SPL on the tiered seating, while avoiding reflections from the rear glass, very high SPL to the Diva Bar, breakout and side lawn areas and low SPL over the Mounting Yard, while retaining good coverage of the jockeys, owners and trainers areas.

Two rows of R.35Coax loudspeakers were chosen for the seating areas and a combination of R.35-3896 and R.25-94TZ provided a very evenly controlled pattern over the front Diva Bar and Mounting Yard areas. The combination of R Series models met the client’s tight criteria, with a very even SPL across all areas and high intelligibility during a race broadcast.

The choice of R.15Coax and R.25-94TZ provided even coverage for the Heritage Stands, at the same time allowing the installation crew to effectively hide the loudspeakers in the structure while respecting the heritage ironwork and construction of the stand.

The Lawn Areas are covered by six high-power, full-range large format horn-loaded R1-66Z loudspeakers, spaced across the 120m x 20m lawn frontage between the buildings and the track. With strategic positioning of additional R Series loudspeakers providing infill, the system achieves a very even and controlled SPL across the whole 265m Race Day presentation area.

‘I wanted to achieve ‘a warm bath of clear audio’,’ says John Horder from HCS. ‘The combination of Community and Hills’ technical services was the perfect toolkit to achieve this and exceed the client’s expectations.’

‘The system proved itself on Race Day,’ reports Blake Kirby of Hills AV. ‘With thousands of racegoers in attendance it was possible to walk from any location to another within the complex and be subjected to the same uniform, outstanding sound quality.’

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