Believed to have cost around S$1.33bn (US$1.06bn), the Singapore Sports Hub includes a 55,000-capacity stadium, the 6,000-capacity OCBC Aquatics Centre and the 3,000-capacity Arena, which can be divided into six halls, Water Sports Centre – as well as commercial areas for leisure, shopping and dining activities.
Built on the site of the former National Stadium in Kallang, the complex, responsibility for the event sound system and giant HD screens fell to Electronics & Engineering (E&E). Working to an architectural and engineering design prepared by the consultants, E&E specified more than 130 Powersoft K-Series and Duecanali Series amplifiers to drive the various PA and sound reinforcement systems.
The audio installation features equipment from manufacturers including EAW and Community loudspeakers, Powersoft amplification and Allen & Heath mixing systems, all integrated through a digital audio network based around Symetrix’s SymNet Edge open-architecture Dante-enabled DSPs. According to E&E MD Ronald Goh, the project is ‘probably the largest high-powered distributed audio system that we have ever worked on’.
E&E, which also installed the original National Stadium’s audio system in 1973, required that the DSP system incorporate bespoke integration of Powersoft amplifiers – a process that entailed a close and successful cooperation with Symetrix technical support in the US. ‘We worked with the Symetrix team to include customised Powersoft modules that allowed for integrated monitoring and control of K-Series and Duecanali amplifiers within SymVue and SymNet Composer,’ confirms Goh.
The aim was to provide intelligibility, high output and pattern control through the venue. In order to achieve this, a combination of EAW QX Series loudspeakers – weather-protected (WP) and custom painted to blend into the ceiling – were installed under the roof line. The point source system 35 QX544-WP, QX594-WP, QX596-WP, QX5641-WP and QX566-WP enclosuers.
‘The QX loudspeaker is able to achieve constant directivity all the way from 80Hz to 20kHz,’ explains Goh. ‘Because it is a coaxial loudspeaker the high and mid is on the same plane, and I have bass on the same plane also. It sounds amazing.’
The VIP sections are covered by three MQX installed on each side of area. The MQX is a custom tri-axial three-way system, which provides high output with optimal directivity from a relatively compact enclosure. It uses components from two QX564 built into a custom cabinet that uses a two-cell MF/HF section driven by two of the QX co-axial devices all symmetrically surrounded by eight 12-inch woofers.
Low end sound reinforcement is provided by 12 clusters – each comprised of four EAW SB528z-WP subwoofers – suspended from the ceiling in a downward firing cardioid array delivering extended low frequency information down onto the listening area but not up into the stadium roof.
The two-level OCBC multi-purpose indoor arena consists of six halls that are designed to be scalable in size and to cater to an array of indoor sports events for both National Sports Associations as well as the general public. A distributed audio system comprised of 46 EAW MK2396i and 8 MK2399i loudspeakers takes care of the audio needs for Halls 1 & 2 two on Level 1.
The 3,000-seat aquatic centre is designed to host a variety of community, regional and international competitions. The space, designed to provide the general public and elite athletes with state-of-the-art facilities, will also host community-run events and premier aquatic competitions. In this application, E&E again turned to EAW’s MK Series loudspeakers to create a distributed, point-source system for the room. Thirty-four two-way MK 5399 loudspeakers were installed in the catwalk to cover the expansive area. Another 22 LS432 column loudspeakers are mounted poolside to service the corridor and side seating areas to the pool.
The Sports Hub includes a watersports centre located along the Kallang Basin that offers canoe and kayak courses, with a 500m Regatta course. Announcements and playback to the vast area are made via a three QX loudspeakers installed on top of the water sports centre tower.
More than 85 SymNet Edge frames have been installed across the project in amplifier/control room racks and facility panels, providing the technical crew with huge versatility and consistent support for Audinate’s increasingly ubiquitous Dante media networking technology. ‘SymNet Edge was chosen both because it powerfully supported Dante – the chosen audio distribution platform for this project – and because the modular input/output cards, including AES/EBU and the analogue I/O cards, provided us with the flexibility required for the audio distribution network,’ Goh explains.
Quick and easy remote control of the processing set-up is enabled by the installation of the SymVue GUI on technical personnel’s laptops and tablets. Transmitting and receiving up to 128 channels (64x64), the digital network itself is configured and administered over the site’s IT infrastructure.
The network design for the audio transmission involved switching via 40 Netgear Gigabit 1000 base network switches. The main racks hold 70 Powersoft K10 amplifiers (1.2kW into 2Ω) and 26 K2 amplifiers, incorporating the company’s proprietary DSP+AESOP giving integrated sound shaping and system management.
The location for the amp racks was determined at an early stage in order to minimise the cable runs to the speakers – 16 air-conditioned racks are placed up on the catwalk, from where they power six EAW MQX speakers, 35 QX speakers and 48 SB528zP subwoofers to serve the stadium bowl. The system processing is from Symetrix SymNet Edge DSP, with a PC to run Dante software control and patching.
This was logistically challenging in view of the available space. E&E Deputy Managing Director Gary Goh says that, despite the limited rackspace, the Powersoft amplifiers provide extraordinary power from a 1U-high chassis: ‘To derive sufficient power from such compact real estate required the switch-mode technology of Powersoft’s K series, with its incredible power-to-weight ratio. It really helped to maximise the space efficiency,’ he reports.
The audio distribution is based on an network running AES inputs as standard and analogue inputs as backups. The amplifiers are controlled and monitored via Powersoft’s Armonía Pro Audio Suite software and deliver EAW Greybox settings in the DSP to the loudspeakers.
Elsewhere, a similar network was constructed for the OCBC Arena, using Powersoft’s energy-saving Duecanali two-channel installation series. Via Netgear 1000-base network switching, in Amp Room 1 22 Powersoft Duecanali D3904 amplifiers were specified to power large quantities of EAW and Community loudspeakers at various levels in all six halls – with signal processing again carried out in SymNet Edge, with signal transport over Dante.
Operating on the same principle in the Aquatic Centre are a further 15 Powersoft Duecanali D3904 amplifiers populating Amp Rack 1 & 2 to power the EAW loudspeakers installed at the catwalk to serve the swimming pool area and further column speakers, installed at pool side, to service the corridors.
The final use of Powersoft amplification is in the Water Sports Centre, which, like the other zones is fully featured with Netgear switching, Symnet DSP, full audio control/mixing and playback devices. Here, three Duecanali D3904s can be found in the Amp Room driving three EAW speakers installed at the top tower of the centre.
Symetrix International Sales Manager is Mark Ullrich ‘delighted to see our processors selected for such a prestigious project and deployed in a way that truly exemplifies the benefits of SymNet’s Dante networking’.
‘The clients trusted us to deliver all their technological requirements, and I am confident that we have succeeded,’ Goh adds.