AV on ice

A new ice-rink in Magnitogorsk, Russia has been completed by a consortium of Finnish engineering firms. A fully digital public address and BGM system has been installed by Soundata.

The city of Magnitogorsk is both a monument to Stalinist planning blight, and one of the modern wonders of 20th century industrialism. Literally translated as “Magnet Mountain City”, it was built from scratch close to the border of Kazakhstan.

The Arena Metallurg is a new multipurpose arena and home to Metallurg Magnitogorsk ice Hockey team. A full sized hockey rink, the arena has a capacity of seven thousand five hundred for games, increasing to ten thousand fine hundred when the ice is melted for the concert configuration. It was completed in 2007 by a consortium of Finnish firms and project managed by Pekka Halonen of Lemcon consultants. The BGM and public address system is made up of d&b audiotechnik’s installation range and designed and installed by Soundata of Helsinki.

Soundata were approached by Lemcon to design the system in the spring of 2006, and it was agreed by the summer. Installation was completed at the end of November.

Juha Tamminen managed the project for Soundata and described the solution they employed: “The system consists of d&b audiotechnik’s speakers and amplifiers. That is the core of the system. We used the Qi7 and Ci90. All the amplification is from d&b D12 amplifiers and the system is controlled using ROPE C digital control software.

“Both of the short sides of seated area are covered by Qi7s and the long sides by four Ci90 loudspeakers. We use the Ci90s on the long sides because they have a wider dispersion angle. One short end has a second tier of seating, which requires a further four Qi7s for a total of eight at one end and four at the other.

“A further four Ci90s are hung below the central media cube in a cluster configuration, and these are aimed down onto the rink. They are installed to provide audio for ice dancers or other entertainment on the ice itself, rather than for the benefit of the crowd.”

The d&b system is hooked into the arena’s main emergency voice alarm system, which can override the performance sound if necessary.

Soundata also installed the control room and intercom solution. The box is equipped with an Allen & Heath GL2400-24 mixing console, a beyerdynamic MTS67/3 gooseneck microphone for voice announcements and a pair of Genelec 8030As for monitoring. External audio sources for the system are Denon CD and DVD players, whilst pre-recorded jingles and messages are stored on a 360 systems InstantReplay unit. According to Tamminen this was selected for its flexibility and ease of programming.

ASL provided the intercom system. The main station is the PS430 and a total of four roaming units were supplied with it.

The reasoning for selecting the d&b system was primarily reliability. “We used the same system to do the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, where we used a weather-proofed version of the Ci90. In this case we used the standard products but they are totally capable of dealing with the main problem in the ice rink. It’s not the cold, but the humidity in the roof of the arena, which is the big issue.”

The system is fully digital and the amplifiers and loudspeakers are monitored using d&b’s Rope C software installed on the control room PC. DSP comes in the form of a BSS Soundweb, 8-in 8-out 9088 processor.

The central media cube was a turnkey solution provided by specialists Darepro. It consists of four LED screens with an area of 8.5m2. They are manufactured by Darepro’s parent company the Darekon group. The screens consist of the 8mm pitch V8 product. The control software is Darepro’s but digitisation and source switching is supplied by Barco. Beneath the video screens are suspended four scoreboards, also from Darepro and driven by their software. Hanging below the media cube is the cluster of d&b Ci90s that provides audio to the ice.

Concluding, Tamminen described some of the challenges: “Actually the hardest part of the project was getting the men and equipment into Russia. This was our first project in the country and it was a bit of a learning experience. You have to have certification for every piece of equipment you import, and you must get a new one every time you import something. Therefore it’s necessary to do everything in one go, even things like the accessories and cabling. Also we couldn’t bring anything back, so we had to use everything or leave it behind. That needed a great deal of planning.”

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