By David Wiener On April 12, 2012
Clarity and Control Are Key
for Stadiums and Racetracks
HEADQUARTERS: Burbank, CA
OBJECTIVE: Large sporting venues
can be unpredictable for sound operators,
but two products from Aphex can
solve big problems by maintaining clear
and balanced sound.
Shaping the sound for a stadium or a NASCAR track
requires myriad considerations. The operator has to deal
with major shifts in volume from numerous sources of
ambient noise. Plus, dozens of different types of spaces
are usually served by one central address system. Keeping
a large-scale system from distorting is a major concern.
Because the system operator is usually in a booth and
cannot hear into other areas of the venue, it is “difficult for
them to predict or manage all the levels,” said Steven Durr,
principal designer at Steven Durr Designs. “And crowdnoise
compensators don’t do the trick because they’re constantly
searching for a reference point.”
Shaping the sound for a stadium or a NASCAR track requires myriad considerations, like
major shifts in volume from numerous sources of ambient noise.
Durr has been designing and improving sound systems for venues
great and small for more than 35 years. His website details many
examples of mediocre-sounding venues that have been transformed,
including such major sporting grounds as Churchill Downs, Cleveland
Browns Stadium, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Durr handles his audio-level-management issues with the Aphex
Dominator 722. “I use the Dominator on every large system. It’s a
brick-wall limiter. It prevents damage to the loudspeakers because they
can’t drive the amps into distortion. And digital distortion
is really one of the ugliest things on the planet.” At football
stadiums, Durr said, “the ref mics will invariably get into
feedback.” By running the Dominator straight out of the
console, “the operator can simply look at it and know it’s as
loud as it can go.” This also solves the natural variation when
different operators use the system.
Another product Durr uses is Aphex’s Exciter with Aural
Exciter and Big Bottom technology. “I’ve been able to take the
Big Bottom portion of the Exciter and make a system sound
remarkable in the low end without putting any extra strain on
the system, headroom-wise.” The Aural Exciter side of the
Exciter allows you to improve clarity in mediocre loudspeakers.
Equally important, the Aural Exciter’s patented technology is well
known for its ability to “improve speech delineation dramatically.” For
example, the press rooms at most racetracks are packed with people,
400-500 members of the media who need to understand every word
that’s being said during a race. Unfortunately, as Durr pointed out,
these rooms are all equipped with eight-inch ceiling speakers. “The
option is to replace all of the speakers, or find a way to shape the sound
and give it clarity. Aphex’s Exciter is the best and simplest solution to
this problem because it can actually add articulation to a set of speakers
that doesn’t have very much at all.”
David Wiener (www.aphex.com) is
CEO of Aphex.