Three point AV

Lithuanian integration firm Audiotonas has completed the audio installation at the Siauliai Arena, one of five basketball arenas being built to host the 2011 European Championships.

Siauliai — the fourth largest city in Lithuania — had long toyed with the idea of building a modern sports arena, and the opportunity came when Lithuania won the right to host the 2011 European Basketball Championship.

Two years ago, Siauliai started to prepare, gaining financial support from the EU for a multifunctional complex — a sports and entertainment arena. Developers were selected and the Lithuanian Government granted this structure the status of an object of national importance. A budget of €18.75m was set and the EU committed €14.16m — making this the first structure of its type in Lithuania to receive support from the EU.

The building would be of glass construction and the sports arena — with a capacity of over 5,000 seats — needed to be easily reconfigurable into a concert venue with 7,000 seats.

Among the project team were distributors, Audiotonas, the Kaunas-based company winning a competitive open tender to provide all sound reinforcement including public address and voice evacuation systems.

Audiotonas’ Algirdas Sidiskis reports that despite the additional costs involved, the company managed to get the originally specified loudspeakers replaced with Martin Audio’s AM horn-loaded stadium series, based on the pedigree of the brand.

The AM series was sold on its versatility, since the sound reinforcement not only needed to demonstrate high speech intelligibility but also reproduce music across the full bandwidth — both for the instant shows that take place during the basketball time-outs and also when the venue is operating in full concert mode.

The system was designed using CobraNet for both signal distribution between racks and installed by Orunas Urbonas.

The sound reinforcement was divided into ten clusters, comprising a combination of 16 x AM906 high-powered mid/high large-format 90° x 60° horn enclosures and 14 x AM604P 60° x 40° enclosures, supported by eight AS118 18in hybrid folded horn subs. The clusters were carefully designed and angled to provide even coverage — from the bleachers up to the top tier. Six of the AM604P’s are mounted inside the video cube structure itself and focused onto the basketball court. These are operated by three synchronised motors so that the orientation and coverage pattern can be changed, according to the event.

The entire system is powered by a pair of Martin Audio MA6.8Q and eight MA4.8Q 4-channel amplifiers, and controlled under Biamp Audia Flex digital audio processing.

The floor-to-ceiling height measures 14 metres; but in order that the signal feed to all clusters is local and equidistant, the amplifier racks are mounted in the roof void construction above the centre of the arena. All audio signals to amplifiers are delivered over CobraNet, using the EXPI and EXPO input and output modules on the DSP.

The video cubes and score boards were installed and manufactured by Finnish Company Oy Darepro. There are LED two score boards, one at each end of the arena – these are only used for match days. There is also a four-screen video cube suspended in the middle. Each screen runs at a resolution of 144 x 220 actual or 288 x 440 virtual, the LED screens themselves are 16mm pitch.

Darepro also provided the control system for the screens, which is located in the main control room. Whilst not including any complex video mixing or scaling equipment, the facility remains for broadcaster or other sources to be shown on the centre screens. The signal distribution between control room and screens is via fibre, which Risto Laine, Managing Director of Darepro Estonia, said is now part of the company’s standard installation solution.

In addition, Audiotonas designed and supplied the entire voice evacuation system, using AV-Digital Variodyn D1 equipment and around 500 of their own AMC public address speakers – both the MC4 and MC5 models.

The VA solution encompasses the whole arena and totals 19-zones. It runs separate amplification to the PA system, but is interfaced to it via the Biamp Flex racks, to allow for emergency over-ride. Paging microphones came from Audix.

The Siauliai arena is one of 5 new stadiums to be built for the 2011 championships. The first to be finished was the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Algirdas and his team have won the contract to install a second using a similar, now proven, solution based on Martin Audio and Biamp products, along with AMC brand speakers.

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