MELBOURNE CRICKET GROUND
Audio upgrade project case study
"The G is an iconic stadium anything we do here has to be world-class and a bespoke solution was the best solution moving forward for us. The feedback has been all positive, both from the patrons who’ve attended and the stakeholders, for the reason it being a uniform sound no matter where you are in the venue and the clarity of the sound. the system has come leaps and bounds there’s no echo or feedback and the sound is very consistent across the whole venue."
Rey Sumaru, GM - IT & Innovation, MCC
For the MCG project, we did extensive modelling in EASE and proprietary loudspeaker software. The modelling process allowed us to find the best loudspeaker products to fit the MCG geometry. In total there are 44 arrays covering the entirety of the bowl without including under balcony coverage.
We selected d&b audiotechnik and utilised extensively the ArrayProcessing capabilities of these products, which help to match the frequency response of the array to the venue geometry. The preparation of the 3D model needs to be extremely precise to be able to use this technology adequately. An additional complication was that the roof structure varies to the listener locations in terms of distance. This means that each array needs to be optimised to be able to use ArrayProcessing optimally.
"The audio system we had was a nightmare both operationally and the quality was terrible and inconsistent so now we’ve got something that’s really consistent, high quality, every seat gets the best possible audio so it’s an exceptional experience."
Tim Phypers, Audio Visual Lead, MCC
One of the most encountered problems in sound reproduction in stadia is long reverberation times. This is even more so in under balcony areas and atria where the ceiling is typically reflective and the areas are enclosed. In order to improve the patron experience at the MCG, we designed the inclusion of absorptive treatment in atria and under balcony areas. We included 100 mm absorption panels fabricated by Megasorber that blend with the building architecture. We were successful in reducing the reverberation times significantly in these areas. The gallery below includes measured reverberation times before and after the treatment.
"One of the things the designers came back to us with was to consider acoustic treatment and we wanted the best solution so we decided to say yes it’s worth the money that we would invest on it to give the quality sound we’re looking for so we did go down the path of installing acoustic treatment across our concourse areas which has drastically improved the quality and it’s very noticeable."
Rey Sumaru, GM IT and Innovation, MCC
Audio Control Systems
We completely re-designed the audio control system for the MCG. The control system is based on Q-Sys redundant cores. This is an important characteristic as the performance system also serves as a certified emergency system. The control system allows for different levels of control depending on the end user. Within our scope, we designed announcement playback and paging stations for venue control and security.
Some areas were identified as having great acoustic separation between the bowl and patron areas, resulting in duller sounding spaces. We designed and deployed touch screens to every bars and restaurant in the stadium providing control for local inputs as well as stadium feeds and audience microphones improving the game day atmosphere.
Loudspeaker system installation
One of the most difficult parts of the project was the installation of the new bowl arrays and the removal of the old system. The MCG is in use most of the year and the installation could only happen in a very reduced time window. The arrays were assembled off-site, hauled to the stadium and positioned at the field level. From there, they were raised with a crane to the seating upper levels and hoisted into position. The rigging is attached to the roof beams and allows for adjustment to ensure that the arrays are directed to the correct location, ensuring that the acoustic optimisation is ideal.
The installation process
Operator control system
As part of the upgrade, we re-designed the signal distribution system and operator control station. The installation includes a new Digico SD9 and a signal routing system based on Digico 4REA4 units and Optocore converters. The system includes the installation of infrastructure for Digico racks at typical stage locations via an Optocore ring.
At the control location, the operator is able to control levels of different parts of the system to account for crowd noise and occupation. The operator also has control of a new crowd microphone system that allows for adjustable microphone directivity to adjust for crowd occupancy.
The people and companies that made it happen.
Our sincere thanks to Rey Sumaru for giving us the privilege of this iconic project and for trusting us with the sound of the G. Thanks to Susi, Tim and Raman who were with us all the way and thanks to Emma from Case Mealin for managing this project so well.
The audio system design was by Scott Willsallen and Luis Miranda with Justin Arthur assisting with the commissioning of the system. The project design team included Irwin Consult and Wonder Works with Emma Pearce from Case Mealin as project manager.
Congratulations to Dan Woodward and Matt Edgecumbe from Ruteldge AV, a Diversified Company, and their amazing team for their high-quality work and delivering such a complex installation in a venue as busy as the G. There was plenty of personal and company pride involved in this project and it shows in the quality of the installation.