Poland’s Gdynia municipal football stadium gets audio overhaul

Located in the port city of Gdynia, Poland, the brand new Gdynia Municipal football stadium is home to Arka Gdynia, the city’s legendary football club. The new stadium is a source of civic pride, seating 15,000 in an environment of cheery colors, inviting architecture and modern conveniences. The old stadium, which occupied the same site, sat only a few thousand fans and had an outdated feel, amplified (ironic pun intended) by a grossly underperforming sound system.

To complement the refreshing visual aesthetic, a brand new aural aesthetic wraps Gdynia Municipal Football stadium in clear, articulate sound. D.A.S. loudspeakers receive abundant, high-fidelity power from Ashly network-enabled amplifiers, which in turn receive a signal from Symetrix SymNet DSPs.

Piotr Nowinski, systems engineer at Sopot, Mega Music’s Poland-based audio/visual installation division, led the charge at Gdynia. “Another company executed the design for the new sound system,” he says. “Although we were comfortable with the principles of the design, we weren’t comfortable with the manufacturers that they had suggested. Because we have completed many successful projects with the general contractor, they gave us the go-ahead to substitute manufacturers we could stand behind.” Two of those substitutions were in favor of Ashly amplifiers and Symetrix DSP.

The system is comprised of nearly fifty zones. Each zone contains two D.A.S. loudspeakers – one on an inner ring and a second on an outer ring. A delay separates each pair such that the signals that arrive at the spectators are
appropriately signal-aligned. A handful of the zones cover the field. At the client’s request, a Bosch Praesideo public address system covers the new stadium’s corridors and waiting areas. Although primarily reserved for emergency information, the Bosch system does receive output from the Symetrix SymNet DSPs, allowing the client to provide reinforcement away from the grandstands as well.

Nowinski distributed the processing and power for the sound system using one control room and three node rooms equally distributed around the stadium. The control room contains a Crest XR-20 console, which provides a familiar
surface for the stadium’s sound technicians to wrangle input sources, such as announcement microphones, music, and pre-recorded messages. A laptop PC uses Ashly’s Protea(tm) software to control and monitor the Ashly Networkable amplifiers. To prevent tampering, Mega Music used Protea’s software platform to disable the front panel controls of the NE amps (including the on/off switch). Zone parameters are addressed from SymVue, Symetrix’ user-friendly, computer-based interface software.

The control room and the three node rooms distribute the DSP and amplifier load. Four Symetrix SymNet 8×8 DSPs, four Symetrix CobraLink units, and three Symetrix BreakOut 12 expanders provide the system with open-architecture equalization, matrix routing, volume control, and preliminary loudspeaker conditioning. Ten Ashly DSP-enabled ne8250PE, three Ashly DSP-enabled ne4250PE and two ne1600 amplifiers deliver power to Gdynia’s many loudspeakers. Nowinski used the onboard processing power of the Ashly Networkable amplifiers to provide protection limiting and delays.

Nowinski’s choice of Ashly and Symetrix was quite deliberate. “The Ashly amplifiers are remarkably powerful – delivering 250 watts per channel – and yet packed inside a two-rack-space unit,” he said. “That way, we were able to conserve rack space and still give the client a very powerful system. In addition, the ease with which we were able to network the Ashly units was helpful. The Symetrix SymNet DSP is flexible – so that we can create any processing task we need – and sounds uniquely musical. With SymVue, we are able to hide all of the complicated processing ‘under the hood,’ only giving the user control of those aspect that are relevant. In addition, both Ashly and Symetrix build reliable units that are backed, on those rare instances when it is needed, by great customer support.”

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