Bose Professional provides bespoke audio for Royal Ascot 2021
It’s Downton Abbey meets the Kentucky Derby. Royal Ascot is UK horseracing’s most auspicious event: five days (15-19 June 2021) of pomp, circumstance and actual royals, and it’s been going on near Windsor Castle in one form or another since Queen Anne gave it the green flag over 300 years ago.
Each day of Royal Ascot begins with the Royal Procession at 14:00, when the Queen and other members of the royal family arrive in the royal Landaus, accompanied by the playing of the British National Anthem and the raising of the Royal Standard. The event attracts more than 600,000 visitors each year over the span of a month’s worth of related events.
This year, the course was lined with more than ribbons, though. Bose Professional, the Official Technology Supplier – Sound for Ascot Racecourse, provided a sound system comprising almost 1,000 surface-mount and in-ceiling loudspeakers throughout the racecourse, promenade and other public areas, including 250 private boxes – more than in any other sports venue in Europe.
Consisting of ArenaMatch AM10, AM20 and AM40 loudspeakers as the basis for the system, installed by integrator SSE Audio, the audio solution integrates Panaray MA12EX modular columnar array loudspeakers, ArenaMatch Utility AMU108 and AMU208, and a variety of FreeSpace loudspeakers throughout the entire venue. The system, including a fully compliant voice alarm evacuation system, is powered by networked PowerMatch PM8500N power amplifiers containing specific Dante cards.
“Ascot has very specific needs,” says George Vaughan, head of technology at Ascot. “The core of the Ascot experience culminates in 11-12 minutes, yet guests are here for upwards of six hours or more. For us, audio is a key element that goes beyond simple commentary needs. It’s about everything from announcing race details, upcoming event information and the distribution of music that keeps our guests entertained throughout the entire experience. And with Bose, their experience is ideal.”
Given the architectural design of the building and the audio needs throughout the variety of spaces, there were several unique aspects of the system design. For instance, loudspeakers are typically mounted at the edge of a building’s canopy and aimed towards spectators. This was not possible with the design of the grandstand, which prioritised the line-of-sight for spectators and required the loudspeakers to be mounted on the building behind the spectator and grandstand areas. This presented a potential safety issue with sound projected towards the horses, which could inadvertently spook them during races.
The ArenaMatch loudspeakers, with their IP55 weather rating, provided the reliability and flexibility for SSE Audio to create a custom solution. The AM10, AM20 and AM40, providing corresponding 10°/20°/40° vertical coverage patterns, and the ArenaMatch Utility AMU105 and AMU108, providing 100°x100° and 90°x60° coverage patterns respectively, created an ideal coverage pattern for the grandstand while avoiding audio overspill onto the racetrack.
“Bose innovation has allowed us to take people on a journey,” adds Craig Staddon, head of sales at Ascot. “It simply brings the racing experience alive more.”