Yamaha on board for Bosbaan overhaul

AUTHOR: Inavate

When Amsterdam’s Bosbaan rowing lake decided it was time to say goodbye to its 20-year-old audio system it had to find a replacement that would distribute audio over an outdoor area covering more than 2200m by 118m.

Bosbaan (meaning Woods Course) is the oldest artificial rowing course in the world, built in 1936, enlarged in 1954 and again in 2001. Owned by Amsterdam City Council’s Dienst Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling (Social Services department), the facility hosts a wide range of rowing events, from local to international competitions.
Because of its high profile, often involving television and radio broadcasts, Bosbaan’s audio system is required to fulfil a wide range of uses, including crowd and commercial announcements, live reporting and commentary on events, background music and DJ playback, emergency evacuation and crowd interviews. It also carries non-public communication between all locations at the course for organising and other staff.
A new Cobranet system, designed by Eric Mattijsen of Duivendrecht-based Audio Electronics Mattijsen BV), was installed. It features a range of Yamaha equipment, including a DME64N digital mixing engine and two DME4io-C satellite units, MYADDA96 and MY16CII interface cards, a MLA8 eight channel head amplifier, two CP4SF, two CP4SW and one ICP-1 control panels and a total of 11 XP7000, XP5000, XP2500 and XH200 amplifiers.
"Spread out over the course, there are four major locations where the system is accessed. These are all connected via a fibre optic network, fully redundant and monitored by a custom-built network operational identifier," says Mattijsen.
The first of the four access points is the Start tower. All local audio inputs and outputs are fed via a DME4i/o-C, as well as switching connections being established here. The audio inputs comprise starting signals - both live voice and pre-recorded, plus race announcements like instructions to rowers to align all boats. Feedback via the fibre optic network is used for internal communication between the here and the course Finish tower.
The second key location is the Finish tower. Here the DME64N acts as the heart of the system, connected to the outputs which feed all the Yamaha amplifiers for the main PA system, plus the wireless, playback, microphone, monitoring and communications inputs.
Technical control of the system is from a dedicated computer with customised interface, able to access all control software for all the locations, via remote desktop or VLAN. It also included status monitoring of virtually all devices in the system.
Adjacent to this a custom made mixer and the Yamaha control panels, which are provided and programmed with DME presets to make system use very straightforward. Via general-purpose ins/outs (GPIOs), all faders and switches are connected to the DME64N, controlling mute, volume and switching functions in the software.
"We paid extra attention to making all I/O's, both audio and control, accessible via the digital domain. This meant that external/remote control is possible for every function in the system, whichever of the key locations the user is at," says Mattijsen.
The third key location is the park keeper building, where the second DME4i/o-C is situated. The unit provides further local inputs and outputs, its main purpose being to providing non-public communications and announcements in the Boating area, where all preparations, equipment storage, weighing and drug testing are done for the competitors.
Last but not least, there is an extra set of connections into the system by the Finish tower. The main purpose of these is to allow temporary expansion of the system for larger events, as required.
"It’s a complex system because it has to cope with such a wide variety of input and output types," says Mattijsen.
"Inputs include a range of microphones throughout the site (both internal and external), wireless microphones, CD players, Flash card players and recorders, external inputs from third parties and various connections for non-public communications via simplex wireless devices.
"On the output side there are over nine loudspeaker zones, commentary monitoring via both loudspeaker and headset and recording outputs for organisations such as broadcast companies."
"Since its first use in late April, the new system has been used at over six major national and international rowing competitions and has run flawlessly," he concludes.