The main hall of the Qatar University Sports and Events Complex (QUSEC) is now served by a combination of Yamaha and Nexo audio technologies following an extensive installation by local integrator, Techno Q.

Designed to host basketball and tennis, as well as exhibitions, banquets, conferences and presentation ceremonies, the QUSEC main hall has been equipped with a Yamaha AFC acoustic conditioning system using Nexo loudspeakers.

One of the main audio challenges facing the installation was that the space can vary in volume depending on the use of a 70m x 40m height-adjustable ceiling.

Qatar University Sports and Events Complex ‘At first, we only had basic plans and artistic renderings for the building, so the priority was a study of every element of the project – structure, finishes, acoustic materials,’ says Techno Q Senior Projects Manager, Mohanad Is-Hak. ‘This took several rounds of in-depth discussion to create the system design and deliver what the customer wanted.

‘Motorising more than 70 tons of ceiling panels which included a sophisticated lighting system, acoustic materials, and the AFC system, and ensuring complete sound harmonisation at all ceiling levels, was beyond any difficulties we’d imagined. We had to do a lot of acoustic studies, audio modelling and simulation to make sure that we would achieve what we are aiming for. In addition, we had only nine months to design and build it all.’

Working with Yamaha and Nexo engineers, Techno Q devised a flexible system capable of operating in a number of different modes, each accommodating a different ceiling height. For example, in Ceremony and Conference mode, the ceiling is 10m high, with flown Nexo arrays in the conventional FOH PA system that can be raised or lowered to deliver the best sound to different seating configurations.

The AFC system comprises nine early reflection systems and two reverberation systems, with 136 Nexo loudspeakers for the main arena and extra sustain/reverb tail. Inputs to the AFC system are from 24 cardioid and eight super-cardioid microphones, with system control and management by six AFC processors and three MRX7-D signal processors. Eight MY16-AUD Dante interface cards route the audio outputs to a Dante network switch and, from there, to the Nexo power amplifiers for the main AFC arrays.

The system is used as a general PA/BGM system in Exhibition mode, but it comes into its own in Sport mode, when it is used to enhance the atmosphere and experience for both the players and spectators – as well as the direct sound of supporters cheering their team, a microphone array above the seats picks up the sound, relaying it to wall-mounted ‘field-of-play’ AFC speakers for added level and ceiling AFC speakers for extra reverb, enhancing the sense of space and occasion.

Qatar University Sports and Events Complex Basketball is one of the primary sports played in the hall, and dedicated microphones above each hoop are used to enhance the sound of the ball hitting the backboard, relayed to supporters through dedicated clusters of flown and floor-mounted supporter speakers, with boosted late reflections from extra speakers behind the bleachers and through the ceiling array for ambience.

Similarly, an eight-microphone array above the field of play picks up the sound of the basketball being bounced and enhances it through early reflections from the wall-mounted speakers, further augmented by the diffused field from the ceiling array.

The field-of-play microphone array is also used to benefit other sports, such as tennis, by picking up the sound of the ball being hit and relaying it through the ceiling array. The programming of the AFC system makes it louder in the speakers closest to the ball’s position, enhancing the sense of its position for spectators by making the sound location clearly audible both along and across the court.

For Sport mode, there are also two clusters of Nexo arrays for music and announcements, flown each side of a centre catwalk above the middle of the arena, allowing the space to be divided in two by a curtain. The arrays can be used together when it is one space, separately when it’s divided.

Qatar University Sports and Events Complex For more general events, the hall uses Yamaha CL5 and CL3 digital mixing consoles, with three Rio1608-D2 I/O racks. Fibre tie-lines from the control room to more than 50 access points throughout the QUSEC building make simple plug-and-play possible from any area. Control for the AFC system is via Yamaha ProVisionaire Touch on iPad, with presets for the different modes making the system very easy to operate.

‘We chose Yamaha and Nexo because they are the best,’ says Mohanad Is-Hak. ‘The combination of the best system “brain” with the best speakers delivers says clarity and smoothness. The requirement for the movable ceiling made it very difficult to get the correct positioning and aiming for the speakers and suspended microphones but, after a lot of hard work with Yamaha and Nexo, we achieved it.’

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