Electro-Voice audio solution for new Friends Arena

Three years in construction, the 65,000-seater Friends Arena in Solna, near Stockholm, will serve as a venue for major sporting commitments as well as major music and entertainment events. The invitation to tender for the sound reinforcement solution was won by the English firm and renowned stadium sound specialist LBI Projects.

The core of the sound reinforcement solution is made up of compact XLD281 elements from Electro-Voice’s XLVC line array system.

“The XLD281 three-way cabinet is light and visually unobtrusive, sounds excellent and provides very good coverage of the bass frequencies without requiring any support from subwoofers,” says LBI Project’s James Hurst. The XLD281 elements are operated with FIR filters, which Hurst considered essential if the required system performance was to be achieved. “Naturally, we also fine-tuned the system,” adds Hurst, “in this case by toning down the preset boosts at 170 Hz, which, whilst it may on a subjective level have led to an initial reduction in loudness, markedly improved transparency – an important quality often notable for its absence in major stadiums.”

The complete audio installation in the Friends Arena is integrated into a redundant Dante audio network on a gigabit, single-mode fibre-optic basis. Nine compact system racks feed all the loudspeakers in the arena. Each of the racks is equipped with CPS 8.5 power amplifiers with RCM-810 remote modules and redundant NetMax N8000 controllers with DM-1 modules for integration into the Dante network. Four identically configured racks are located beneath the roof; these feed not only the 12 markedly curved XLD281 hangs serving the stands but also the eight horn-loaded EVH-1152S/66 coaxial systems from the EV-Innovation family covering the playing area, with one quarter of the stadium assigned to each rack. Five additional system racks are housed in the ground floor of the arena; these serve all the ancillary zones, such as passageways, catering facilities and areas not normally open to the public, including the banqueting hall, which is equipped with 14 EVF-1152S/64 loudspeakers. Full control and supervision of all the racks is assured by IRIS-Net software.

In standard practice for modern stadium installs, the sound reinforcement system in the Friends Arena is linked to the evacuation system. The latter consists of around 500 ceiling loudspeakers, complemented by 340 horn-loaded speakers for recorded music, 75 bi-directional loudspeakers and three Digital Message Players – all from Bosch. As soon as danger threatens, the voice-alarm system assumes control of the entire system.

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