When the call of "goal!" reaches the tens of thousands of ears in the stadiums hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the audio will have been distributed and amplified by Peavey Commercial Audio products.
Prosound, sub-Saharan Africa's leading pro-audio and lighting design and installation firm, was tapped to outfit and update nine of the ten soccer stadiums in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Prosound technical director Mark Malherbe selected MediaMatrix® and Crest Audio® for the audio distribution, control and amplification system needs in the stadiums.
The nine stadiums newly outfitted with Peavey products include the jewel in the crown of South African football: the newly renovated Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, which will host the opening ceremony and final championship game of the 2010 World Cup.
Prosound has created systems for over 30 stadiums in Africa, including the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
2010 marks the first time in the event's 80-year history that the FIFA World Cup has been held in Africa. Running from June 11 to July 11, the tournament takes place in 10 venues, five new and five renovated stadiums. When Prosound was selected for the audio and lighting design in nine of the venues, Mark Malherbe knew he wanted to go with MediaMatrix and Crest Audio for a common audio backbone in all the stadiums.
"We've been using MediaMatrix since almost day one, and it means we can adapt quickly — we can fit in with any change and don't have to quickly learn a new product," said Malherbe in an interview with InAVate magazine.
Prosound provided the details of each installation in the June cover story of ProAudio Middle East magazine.
Soccer City Stadium
With a capacity of 94,700, Soccer City is the largest of South Africa's stadiums. Originally built in 1987 with a capacity of 80,000, the venue underwent a complete renovation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The stadium's outer perimeter has been designed to resemble a giant African pot, known as the calabash, and its aesthetic appeal is heightened when the stadium is lit at night. The orange seating is punctuated by grey stripes which point to the other nine stadiums being used for the competition.
This stadium has played an iconic role in South Africa's history, hosting Nelson Mandela's homecoming rally in 1990. On that day 100,000 people swarmed the stadium to hear him call for a unified South Africa. It's fitting then that in its new guise, the stadium will host both the opening ceremony and final of the 2010 World Cup.
In the redesign, speakers are driven by 147 Crest CKi series amplifiers located in 10 racks around the venue. Each one powers a corresponding pair of speaker clusters. The amplifiers are all located in the roof near the loudspeakers. Malherbe explained:
"I wasn't allowed to put too much weight up in the roof, so we had to make some compromises. If I'd gone for longer speaker cable runs, and mounted the amplifiers more remotely, I'd have lost a huge amount of power in the cables, no matter what gauge I used. This would have just ended up in my having to put more speakers up — and more weight.
"Locating the amp racks just off the maintenance gantry meant that my runs were much shorter and the power losses were much, much smaller. I didn't need extra amplification or speakers to compensate. The upshot of this is that the signal path is overwhelmingly digital. Runs of Cat6 and optical fiber connect the CKi's with the parent MediaMatrix NION® n6 DSP controllers, and from there to the sources and mixer in the controller room."
"We chose the Peavey/Crest combination for a couple of reasons," said Malherbe. "First, there is an almost seamless integration between the amps and the DSP, secondly they complied with the life safety requirements of the spec in terms of redundancy, and finally my technical guys are more familiar with the MediaMatrix solution.
"We've got six NION n6 processors to control the system, which provides enough overhead capacity for redundancy."
Located in the heart of Pretoria, the 50,000 seat Loftus Versfeld is one of South Africa's oldest stadiums.
The system at the Loftus used two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 42 Crest Audio CKi amps.
"As in all the other stadiums, all amplification was CKi. There is a mixture of mainly 1600 and 800V's to do all the voice evacuation," said head systems engineer Grant Scott. "We have two NION n3's for processing, we are just using one and the other is redundant for standby." Prior to the NION's being installed in 2007, it was a total analog solution. "It was very difficult; we had an amplifier room in the players' tunnel, they were all Crest Audio CD®'s at that stage, and we had one more behind each screen. We had long speaker runs." With the new system there is a full redundant fiber loop around the stadium, there are new amp rooms in both the west and east stands, and it is CobraNet® distribution throughout.
Cape Town's Green Point Stadium stands in the Green Point suburb a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean with Table Mountain as its backdrop. During the World Cup it will be a 68,000-seat stadium. The system includes two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 62 Crest Audio CKi amps. There are four amplifier locations within the stadium, one in each stand.
"It's all Crest Audio CKi power amps with the nX cards in them. It's all CobraNet distribution which is fibered to the breakouts and all processed by two NION's in the main control room," explained Malherbe.
Located in the heart of Johannesburg, Ellis Park stadium was given a significant face-lift before the Confederations Cup finals and now seats 62,000 fans.
Prosound put in the original system in 1981, which stayed in place until the Rugby World Cup in 1995 with only maintenance performed but no changes in the fundamental design.
"Now we have done a complete upgrade, there are entirely new loudspeakers, all Crest Audio amps, and all MediaMatrix processors," said Malherbe.
The system includes two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and 48 Crest Audio CKi amplifiers.
Nelson Mandela Bay
The brand new 48,000-seat Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth is set on the shores of the North End Lake.
DSP for the venue comes from two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 processors and the power is via 34 Crest Audio CKi amps.
Peter Mokaba Stadium
Named after one of the renowned sons of the struggle and emancipation of South Africa against the apartheid regime, the Peter Mokaba Stadium is in Polokwane.
For this stadium, five Peavey MediaMatrix NION n6 processors were used and power came from 30 Crest Audio CKi amps and 16 Ci20x8 eight-channel amps.
Mbombela is siSwati (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa) and literally means 'many people together in a small space.' The 64,000-seat stadium in Nelspruit is the first football stadium built to international standards in the Mpumalanga Province.
In the Mbombela Stadium, two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3's were used for DSP and 26 Crest Audio CKi amps were used in the system.
Free State Stadium
The 48,000 capacity Free State Stadium in Bloemfontien takes its name from the province in which it is located. For the 2010 World Cup, a second tier was added to the main grandstand, which increased the seating by 10,000.
This system is powered by 46 Crest Audio CKi amps, and two Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3's were used for processing.
Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Built in 1999, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg required only a minor upgrade for the World Cup. The capacity of the stadium was increased to 42,000.
The audio system is powered by 29 Crest Audio CKi amps. A single Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 was used for processing.
For more on MediaMatrix and Crest Audio in the World Cup stadiums visit:
Article on the stadium preparations by Chris Fitzsimmons of InAVate magazine, including an interview with Mark Malherbe of Prosound
James Ling's cover story at ProAudio MiddleEast magazine featuring details on each stadium installation
Crest Audio website