ADLIB Designs and Installs Audio Solution for Manchester Velodrome

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Liverpool, UK based ADLIB's specialist installation division has designed and installed a complete new CODA Audio system - the first fixed install of its type in the UK utilising CODA's LA8 (compact) and LA4 (ultra compact) line array speakers at The Manchester Velodrome, the country's National Cycling Centre.

This is the latest in a series of high profile projects involving bespoke permanent sound designs for ADLIB.

The company had been supplying rental systems for many National Cycling Centre events over the last decade, which has been very successful in delivering the clarity and coherence required to cover the 3500 capacity Velodrome venue. They have also serviced a number of events with PAs at the adjacent BMX Centre.

ADLIB's sales and installations team, headed by John Hughes and Roger Kirby, was approached by ISG Regions Ltd., who was managing the building development works for Manchester City Council, about a fixed solution for the Velodrome track.

ADLIB used its vast knowledge of designing bespoke audio systems for all types of spaces, together with their specific experiences of temporary sound installations at the Velodrome to generate proposals for the client. They wanted to replace the original audio installation that had been in place since the venue first opened its doors in 1994.

Once the plans for the system design were approved, the installation schedule was gruelling. It involved ADLIB's crews working at height, in confined spaces and using a variety of mobile high level access platforms during 5 weeks of overnight shifts.

There is an auxiliary lighting grid suspended 14 metres above the venue floor which was used to distribute the majority of the loudspeakers and all cabling was routed via the high level access platforms which are 25 metres off the ground with a substantial amount of the cabling - which had to be very diligently managed - installed prior to the introduction of speakers into their key locations.

ADLIB already held the required industrial standard accreditations, health & safety qualifications and had been engaged in additional training to conform to the standard construction site regulations, all of which were needed before they could undertake any work on the site.

All of ADLIB's engineers have IPAF certifications (International Powered Access Federation) having worked on previous projects involving working at height, and all of this knowledge and experience ensured they were ideally placed to work responsibly to meet the standards needed required by the client.

Working alongside a construction company also meant tight scheduling and timescales that had to be rigorously adhered to, combined with meticulous and thorough project management at all stages. ISG Regions' and health and safety representatives were onsite for the duration that ADLIB's engineers were working, and delays to the project were an absolute non-starter.

In terms of sound, providing consistent full-range coverage for balanced music reproduction along with clear comprehensible spoken commentary across the venue was top of the agenda, while the brief included speakers to facilitate different setups needed for a whole variety of sporting track and court events.

The primary acoustic challenges of the vast space were to minimise high level reflections from the domed ceiling and numerous other hard and flat surfaces including the polished wood of centre court space in the centre and the perimeter cycling track surface. This would avoid the potentially costly introduction of acoustic dampening material and flown ceiling baffles.

ADLIB believed that a line array would deliver optimum unified audio coverage that was required. Having used a variety of CODA's loudspeaker ranges with great success in rental productions, they understood that the Airline LA8 loudspeakers would provide a perfect solution in this demanding environment.

Extensive measurement and analysis was also undertaken with the client before committing to the final system configuration, with the speaker arrays flown from temporary chain hoists. This also established that the system sounded great for music as well as delivering excellent speech intelligibility.

CODA's Focus software was used to acoustically model the venue, and the resulting design was based on four ‘North-South-East-West' LA8 clusters each of two speakers, flown above the centre of the arena, augmented with three hangs firing at the main stands towards each side of the Velodrome.

Both of the ‘D' areas inside each track end serve different purposes. One ‘D' end is utilised as the main presentation, press and the VIP area, with the opposite end serving as competitor entrance ramp and pre-race holding areas. Each of these areas receives coverage from a single hang of three loudspeaker elements.

Due to the floor detail and varied building architecture at the track end spectator areas audio coverage is delivered from a combination of loudspeakers. Namely, two Airline LA8 hangs of paired loudspeaker elements and three Airline LA4 hangs of paired loudspeaker elements.

In total there are four audio zones across the 46 x Airline LA8 speakers in 16 hangs and the six hangs of 2 x Airline LA4s.

Signal processing and signal distribution is managed by Soundweb London BLU-100 devices. A separate voice evacuation system linked to the fire alarm is used for emergency announcements which interface with the main CODA system signal when activated.

John Hughes concludes, "It's really rewarding to work on projects of this scale with such demanding operational requirements. We are very proud that ADLIB installations can deliver these high levels of service, excellence and technical support as well as offering the imagination and acoustic engineering skills to design a flexible and appropriate system with limited budgetary constraints.”

For more press info. on ADLIB, please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888, or Email ‘louise@loosplat.com', Contact ADLIB direct on +44 (0)151 486 2214 or check www.adlibsolutions.co.uk

Photo credit: Deana Kay

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