Installation
The step-by-step system overhaul process at the Wellin Hall, inside the performance venue of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.

The town of Clinton, NY is the home of Hamilton College. Precision Audio Services has provided audio engineering services to the college’s Music and Theater Department for several years, and this spring the company heads up a sound system upgrade in Wellin Hall. The 700-seat hall has served as the central hub of music education and concerts for the college since its construction in the 1980s. The bare concrete and polished wood walls combined with flown wooden acoustic panels above the audience creates a highly reverberant environment—perfect for the hall’s original purpose of unamplified acoustic performances.

However, these properties that make the environment desirable for acoustic performances, also make sound-reinforced events a significant challenge. "With an RT60 of almost 2.5 seconds, achieving a clear mix and vocal delivery is typically a major source of frustration for visiting mix engineers,” says Michael Lawrence from Precision Audio Services. “Although to a large extent, this is simply the reality of working in such an environment, one of the goals for the new design was to increase the consistency over the space and minimize excess energy splashing onto the walls and other non-audience surfaces, both areas where the current installed system struggled."

Another design challenge was presented by the way the space is used – or, more accurately, ways. The hall hosts a wide variety of musical, theatrical, dramatic, and speech events that necessitate a large degree of flexibility, where the current system presented some limitations. “We have three different mix positions depending on the needs of the show,” explains the venue’s Technical Coordinator, Bill Di Paolo. “Sometimes we are driving press feeds, live stream feeds, backstage zones, and we need a way to pull those feeds off the console without the operator having to jump through hoops. Another thing that’s been a bit of a problem for us is that the current mains are dead hung, so there’s no way to get to them for maintenance if there’s an issue. We had to swap out a bad box last year and it turned into a whole labor call just to get the box down to the deck to be worked on.”

The system design is far from the traditional install-patch approach. “Sometimes I have to adapt to things very quickly, on the fly, and in the past that’s been a challenge where we couldn’t get physical access to a loudspeaker, or all the signal flow was happening in the back of a rack somewhere with no easy way to get signals in or out of the rig at various points in the chain,” Di Paolo notes. “For larger events, we typically have a dedicated sound engineer but often it’s just me trying to handle multiple things at once, or we have a student operator, and so we need to be able to get to things easily.”

Starting from the console outputs, the new system design approach allows quick and easy changes before or after the processor, all the way to the loudspeaker positions themselves. No punch-down connectors in the back of racks – all the system patch points were brought to the front of the drive rack in a custom XLR patch bay system from Elite Core Audio, resembling more of a touring rack design mentality. I knew of several DSPs that would have been an appropriate fit for this project, but settled on an Allen & Heath AHM-64, which I felt offered the “best of both worlds” between a typical install-type free-wire DSP and a more live-oriented fixed-structure DSP.

An A&H IP6 controller sits next to the mixing console, configured for quick access to mute/unmute the entire PA plus dedicated mute and level controls for the ADA assistive listening system, the backstage 70-volt system, and the press send. These feeds are derived from the console mix and accessible via the patch bay, so providing a press send is as simple as plugging in a cable and turning a knob to adjust for the mic or line level requirement of the press equipment.

The main PA hangs presented some issues as well – the existing hang point locations didn’t allow for the hangs to be lowered for maintenance due to the proximity of the loudspeakers to the hall’s architectural elements and lighting fixtures. "We decided to move the hang points onstage about 18 inches, which would further the clearance away from the side walls to allow the arrays to be freely raised and lowered. It required the creation of new points via custom-length bridles between existing steel. This enabled the system to be lowered for maintenance or simply have the trim height adjusted for various events. The standard trim height was chosen to be the best compromise of sightlines and coverage, while the chain falls gave the option to lower and re-splay the arrays for theatrical events in this space – something not achievable in the past." Lawrence explains.
Installation
The Sulim Kadyrov Mosque, located in the village of Oyskhara, has a capacity of up to 15,000 people. Opened in 2020, the 70+ RCF speakers project for the building was carried out by Master Sound with the assistance of the Moscow-based RCF distributor ARIS.

In 1932, Sulim Kadyrov was convicted by the authorities for teaching the Holy Quran and religion of Islam. For his actions, he spent 14 long years in the Gulag camps.

The grand opening of the mosque took place on August 21, 2020, with the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov attending as a special guest. The celebration coincides with the 69th anniversary of the birth of the first President of the Chechen Republic, hero of Russia, Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov.

The air volume of the hall, taking into account the under- and upper- balconies, is about 14,000 m3, with a total surface area is 6360 m2. Acoustic calculations were measured by the computer modeling software AFMG EASE. The sound system covers the entire premises of the prayer halls (the main prayer hall and two halls on the basement level), providing optimal intelligibility as required.

Since there are no intelligibility standards required in Russia, ARIS engineers used external scientific publications about acoustic standards in mosques, including those carried out by ARIS, and with the support of the Acoustics of Halls, inside the Research Institute of Building Physics laboratory (RAASN). According to these studies, taking into account the volume of the main prayer hall, the optimum reverberation time for RT60 in the frequency range of 500-1000 Hz should be from 1.9 to 2.2 seconds. "Since there were no possible adjustments to the original finish, the challenge to reach the optimal RT60 was difficult," comments Alexandr Shamray, Head of Sales at ARIS. "To achieve good intelligibility, the Speech Transmission Index (STI) must be around 0.60, for excellent transmission, or more. Taking into account the extremely high resonance of prayer halls and the lack of a meaningful reduction using acoustic absorbers, we focused on​ intelligibility parameters. Relying solely on controlled directivity and quality of the sound system we worked on reaching 0.50-0.55 (or higher)".
Event
I campionati del mondo di Snowboard sono tornati in Valmalenco (SO) nel gennaio 2021, seppur a porte chiuse, a causa dell'emergenza sanitaria. Quattro giorni di gare sulla neve dopo ben 9 anni di assenza della competizione dell'Alpe Palù, tra i ben sessanta kilometri di piste del comprensorio. La Frate Professional si è occupata dell'allestimento degli impianti audio e video installando un sistema senza fili composto da varie postazioni stacking con il line array RCF HDL 26-A e i sub HDL 35-AS.

Il sistema audio richiesto dalla committenza doveva garantire la sonorizzazione di tutta la superficie di gara, della partenza e dell'arrivo, con una distanza tra i punti di diffusione principale di 800 metri in linea d'aria. Fabio Frate e la sua squadra hanno pensato ad una soluzione strategica: "Per evitare la posa di lunghe tratte cablate abbiamo scelto di usare dei Bridge Wireless Neutrik Xirium dalla cabina degli impianti di risalita, evitando l'attraversamento dei cavi nel parterre, fino all'arrivo, dove è stata posizionata la regia. Una linea bilanciata esistente, degli impianti della seggiovia, ha permesso inoltre il collegamento cablato con il punto di diffusione sonora alla partenza."

Il sistema audio è rimasto installato sulla pista per 5 giorni incluso un giorno di pre-allestimento. L'impianto ha lavorato senza sosta per 8 ore al giorno ed è stato lasciato all'aperto (e sotto la neve) per tutte le notti tra le varie giornate di campionato, utilizzando per la protezione solamente l'accessorio rain cover per il pannello ingressi sul retro di ogni modulo. "RCF ci aveva garantito che il sistema sarebbe stato a proprio agio, visto che tutti i componenti sono impermeabilizzati e in grado di lavorare senza problemi a temperature inferiori allo zero, e così è stato. Qui la notte si raggiungono temperature inferiori ai -25 gradi". Oltre all'impianto diffusione sonora Frate Professional ha installato anche un Ledwall Outdoor passo 3,9 mm per la visualizzazione dei contributi video sincronizzati all'audio.
Installation
Lo stadio dei Cincinnati Bengals rinnova tutto il sistema audio. Con più di 580 diffusori RCF di grande formato inclusi sistemi customizzati appositamente dall'azienda italiana, lo stadio Paul Brown si riconferma uno degli impianti sportivi con il miglior suono degli Stati Uniti.

Negli ultimi 20 anni i Cincinnati Bengals hanno affrontato i rivali del campionato NFL nel Paul Brown Stadium. Chiamato con l'acronimo PBS, si tratta di una arena da 65 515 posti a sedere nota storicamente per la potenza e la qualità del sistema audio residente. Oltre allo sport, il PBS è famoso per aver ospitato artisti che vanno da Kenny Chesney fino ai Guns N 'Roses. Ogni evento nello stadio ha una caratteristica ben precisa fin dalle origini: il suono che viaggia tra gli spalti deve avere la stessa qualità di un concerto live, sia nelle partite che in altri eventi speciali.

L'installazione del nuovo sistema audio è terminata in autunno 2020, debuttando il 4 ottobre davanti a una folla ridotta che ha visto i Bengals battere i Jacksonville Jaguars. Progettato e implementato da Durrell Sports Audio Management di Nashville, nel Tennessee, il nuovo sistema è ibrido e mantiene alcune componenti del vecchio sistema, affidabili e ancora funzionanti, aggiornando tutto il processing digitale e installando numerosi altoparlanti RCF custom costruiti in Italia.

"Paul Brown Stadium è diverso da qualsiasi stadio in America quando si tratta di audio", spiega John Horrell di Durrell. “Ogni aspetto della produzione degli eventi sportivi o non, dai semplici annunci alla musica, qui è il più "live" possibile. Non c'è niente che assomigli anche vagamente a un programma televisivo preregistrato. Ecco perché, quando siamo stati scelti per l'aggiornamento dell'impianto, abbiamo ritenuto che fosse essenziale creare un sistema in grado di offrire prestazioni molto elevate".

Il sistema audio originale dello stadio, vecchio di 20 anni, è stato sostituito in tre fasi, partendo nel 2018 e installando, tra le altre cose, nuovi diffusori RCF per le coperture e gli spalti superiori. La fase due ha portato circa 120 nuovi altoparlanti RCF agli spalti inferiori e altri 70 per le coperture nel 2019, insieme a otto subwoofer RCF doppio 21" su ciascun lato della copertura.

La fase tre del progetto è stata approvata nel gennaio 2020; entro febbraio i lavori erano già in corso, con la squadra di Durrell coadiuvata dalla Kentucky's United Electric di Louisville, per trasformare la nuova visione in realtà. Malgrado la pandemia abbia stretto la presa a livello globale sia sulla manodopera che sui i materiali già a partire da marzo, il team di progettazione e installazione ha costantemente rispettato le scadenze di costruzione con l'aiuto prezioso dei fornitori e di RCF stessa.
Installation
The Florian Krygier Municipal Stadium has recently undergone a complete modernization which includes the installation of a new sound system based on RCF P Series speakers.

The Florian Krygier Municipal Stadium located in Szczecin, Poland, is a football stadium with a long history. It was built in 1925 with the name of Florian Krygier, named after a Polish football coach who was an instrumental figure in Pogoń Szczecin’s history.

Since the 1950s club management was under MKS Pogoń Szczecin until 1989 when Szczecin City Commune transferred operations to the Municipal Sports, Recreation and Rehabilitation Centre (Polish: Miejski Ośrodek Sportu, Rekreacji i Rehabilitacji - MOSRiR). Until the beginning of 2007, it was the most prominent facility in the Polish Orange Ekstraklasa football league. It is currently used for football matches and is the home stadium of Pogoń Szczecin.

The stadium itself has recently undergone a complete modernization, so only part of the old stadium is still in place. A significant reconstruction started in 2019 with planned completion scheduled for 2022. The investment includes the Training Centre for Childres and Youth (Centrum Szkolenia Dzieci i Młodzieży), remodeling and expanding the stadium, football fields, and associated infrastructure. The new stadium will reach 20,500 seat capacity and 22,000 square meters of covered area. It will transform into a “closed” stadium with four grandstands and roofed.

The first phase of modernization of the stadium within the west and south grandstands has been completed recently with a new sound system based on RCF P Series speakers. All P 6215 are suspended to the roof of the stadium coupled in vertical clusters, two speakers per cluster.
Installation

Belli&Pettinati sceglie RCF per il restauro del Duomo dei Militari, chiesa padovana di valenza storica. Mantenendo il minimo ingombro e accoppiati a sub compatti S 5012, i diffusori a colonna RCF L 2406-T hanno garantito tutta la gamma dinamica, alta intelligibilità e ottime performance musicali per le funzioni religiose e gli eventi musicali dal vivo ospitati dalla struttura.

La Chiesa di San Prosdocimo ricopre un’importanza particolare in quanto prima Chiesa dei Militari in uso al Ministero della Difesa-Esercito Italiano. Edificata a Padova tra il 1400 ed il 1600 (le origini della costruzione risalgono all’ anno 1180) è stata a più riprese modificata e ampliata fino a inizio 1800 quando, con le emanazioni di Napoleone viene adattata e trasformata, insieme ad altri luoghi di culto, come panificio e magazzino militare. Successivamente, con le opere di restauro iniziate nel 1988, l’edificio viene riconsacrato nel 1990 e riaperto al culto pubblico con un proprio cappellano militare.

Gli effetti del terremoto dell’Emilia nel 2012 la rendono inagibile fino al 2019 quando ha inizio un nuovo e definitivo restauro. All’interno, oltre a custodire alcune preziose opere quali quadri, sculture e vetrate artistiche è collocato un prezioso ed imponente organo a canne, frutto della collaborazione tra le due aziende tedesche specializzate Steinmeyer per la parte fonica e Laukhuff per la parte della consolle con comandi elettrici-elettronici, capace tra l’altro di garantire ben 64 combinazioni libere di memorie ad uso personale del concertista.

L’autunno scorso è iniziato lo studio di fattibilità per concretizzare il nuovo allestimento audio, con alcuni vincoli: utilizzare materiali di sicura affidabilità nel tempo e non richiedenti assistenza specializzata nella gestione quotidiana; allestimento non invasivo ma integrato con le caratteristiche architettoniche del luogo che, per la sua origine e storicità, è tutelato dalla Soprintendenza delle Belle Arti; possibilità di ospitare agevolmente piccole e scelte manifestazioni musicali acustiche e artistiche.

Corporate
RCF SpA, società leader internazionale nella produzione e commercializzazione di impianti audio professionali e Cellnex, principale operatore europeo d’infrastrutture di telecomunicazioni wireless, hanno eseguito una serie di test per valutare la compatibilità elettromagnetica delle reti multi-operatore DAS e Small Cells con i sistemi audio dell’azienda reggiana.

I sistemi DAS e Small Cells sono una delle infrastrutture principali da cui sarà implementato il nuovo standard di comunicazione 5G. Questi sistemi permetteranno una perfetta copertura mobile per la trasmissione di dati e contenuti negli spazi con grande frequentazione di pubblico. Grazie a questa collaborazione tecnica, gli impianti DAS (Distributed Antenna System) e Small Cells di Cellnex godranno di una certificazione ad hoc che permetterà all’azienda di infrastrutture di Tlc di installare i propri sistemi presso le strutture indoor e outdoor di stadi, arene e spazi dedicati alla musica e agli spettacoli da vivo come la nuova RCF Arena di Reggio Emilia, l’arena outdoor più grande d’Europa.

Per compatibilità elettromagnetica si intendono tutte quelle procedure atte a verificare che un apparato elettronico, come ad esempio un sistema di mini-antenne, non interferisca con altre apparecchiature e che non sia esso stesso disturbato da altri apparati che utilizzano lo stesso spettro elettromagnetico. I test che vengono effettuati dai produttori di apparati, come ad esempio RCF, per verificare il livello di immunità ai campi elettromagnetici sono stabiliti dalle stringenti normative tecniche europee e da ulteriori normative internazionali.

In particolare, RCF e Cellnex hanno effettuato delle procedure di test con il supporto di tecnici specializzati di entrambe le società. Il risultato è stato una effettiva immunità dei sistemi audio di RCF ai campi elettromagnetici degli impianti DAS e Small Cells di Cellnex. Anche nel caso di sistemi DAS installati in ospedali, aeroporti o ascensori dopo aver determinato la potenza al connettore d’antenna tale che non generi un campo elettromagnetico che superi il livello di immunità dell’apparato più sensibile, si procede con test di tipo funzionale o con campagne di misura del campo elettromagnetico. Grazie a queste procedure è possibile escludere la possibilità per l’impianto DAS di interferire con i sistemi già presenti a tutto vantaggio della sicurezza degli utenti.
Installation
Harmon AV, an events production and sound integration company based in Fort Myers Florida, has seen a steady increase of integration business over the past few months. With COVID restrictions lifted statewide, Bobby Harmon, co-owner and integrator at Harmon AV, has seen a big push with clients wanting to improve sound quality, become more digitally capable, and stream video online. One notable installation was a complete system upgrade at Burnt Store Presbyterian Church [BSP] in Punta Gorda which features an RCF HDL active line array system.

When the conversation started about upgrading BSP’s audio it was apparent that the 20-year-old system was in dire need of an upgrade. “The challenge for us was to find a PA that was properly voiced and was going to cover the room for varying types of services,” said Harmon. “Initially when we discussed upgrading the system, one thing that came up was their live concert series. The church holds several live concerts [with full bands] throughout the year, and usually hire outside companies to provide additional sound.”

Other acoustic challenges throughout the church included echo and bounce-back which were addressed by Harmon AV. “One issue we had to address was the reverberance of the room, which they liked for the traditional services, so they didn’t want to change that,” continued Harmon. “We talked about room acoustics and treating it, but the music minister didn’t want to change the natural acoustics of the room. Another issue brought up by one of the pastors, was the ‘echo in a cave’ sound of being when speaking on the stage, which we determined was bounce-back from the backwall. We knew we could solve these issues with a line array system and few fills throughout the room,” said Harmon
Event

Bellator MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is one of the largest combat sports promotions in the world and the second-largest in the United States. The promotion takes its name from bellātor, the Latin word for "warrior". Recently legalized in France, the fight will take place inside an octagonal cage in the center of the building where the fighters are allowed for any attack except for low kicks and behind the neck.

The Accor Hotel Arena, located in Paris-Bercy, is the fifth-biggest indoor tennis arena by dimensions in the globe, with seating capacity ranging from 7,000 to 20,300, depending on the event. The event follows three shows held behind closed doors at the Allianz Cloud in the Italian city of Milan. The initial sound system design, which required several hanging clusters for a 360° coverage of the entire area, underwent a system adjustment since the public used only two sections. Initially, it was supposed to host about 20,000 spectators but due to current Covid regulations, the capacity was reduced first to 5,000 and finally to 1,000 socially-distanced seats.

The event splits into two sessions: one in the afternoon, broadcasting live on the American CBS TV, and one after 11:30 pm, live on the British BBC, restricted to adults-only. The Italian agency Riptide produced the entire event from the broadcast to the video production and from audio to lighting. Provider for the audio production equipment was Piano e Forte Service from Reggio Emilia (Italy), who also provided all rigging equipment for audio, lights, and LED walls.

Bellator MMA is mainly a format for screens, which recently made its debut to the live environment. Given the audience’s numerical limitation present in the room, the television segment has taken on a preponderant value. The system was then designed by making the television and live action autonomous. Following direction from Claudio Giovanetti, who took care of the broadcasting (both CBS and BBC) as well as being the reference for the Italian production, everything is split independently and redundantly.

Installation
Podolsk (Moscow Region, Russia) - The Palace of Culture "October" is an 850 seat theatre with two levels, established in 1966. The venue hosts many types of events from dance to concerts and local events. RCF Russian distributor, ARIS, provided a new HDL 28-A line array with SUB 9004-AS for a new and improved sound, recently allowed to open to the 240 seat balcony to the public, previously closed for acoustical issues.

Installed more than ten years ago, the previous sound system was unable to cover the rather spacious balcony properly. Therefore, tickets to the balcony during box office concerts were not sold, avoiding complaints from disappointed patrons. When the budget was approved for a new sound reinforcement system, a mandatory requirement from management of the House of Culture was to provide a high-quality sound experience to all sections of the venue including the balcony and parterre.

ARIS suggested hanging two RCF active line array clusters of six elements each. The two upper elements in the cluster exclusively targeting the balcony, and the four lower elements pointing the parterre. Three SUB 9004-A active 18-inch subwoofers were configured in L / R stacks providing sound at lower frequencies. All control and monitoring of the system is carried out from the sound engineer's booth using RDNet protocol.
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