Pride Park Stadium

Technical Details

Project:
Pride Park Stadium

Location:
Derby, UK

Manufacturers:
d&b audiotechnik

Acoustician:
RH Consulting, UK

Installer:
Central & County Closed Circuit

Concept

Home to Derby County Football Club (DCFC), the 33,000+ capacity Pride Park Stadium now offers a concert quality, compliant, and simple to use sound reinforcement system that will be easy to maintain and modify as the venue’s needs change in the future. While its primary purpose is to deliver crystal clear speech for safety reasons, the club’s new system delivers a level of musicality for that fully immersive party atmosphere.

That this project was realized in just eight weeks is testament to the creative and collaborative approach Derby took to their investment, as Stuart Fisher, Chief Technical Officer at DCFC explains: “We worked together with RH Consulting for audio modelling, engineering and commissioning; with d&b for speakers, and QSC Q-SYS for controls, managing everything internally to get the best fit for our needs at every stage throughout the process; we didn’t want a one size fits all solution. In this respect, getting the system installed with d&b really was a partnership, and remains so. We wouldn’t have been as comfortable with our approach without that level of collaboration.”

The new system relies on a redundant secure network designed within the club and was installed by DCFC’s own maintenance department, and installation partner Central & County Closed Circuit (CCCC).

Within the bowl twenty two clusters of the V-Series Vi loudspeakers realize the design brief for sound pressure levels, musicality and Speech Transmission Index (STI). The impressive pattern control of the 3-way passive Vi point sources freed the team from pursuing a line array solution, which would have meant a greater number of loudspeakers, amplifier channels, and subsequent cost.

With maximum utility in mind, the current draw of the four channel, installation specific 30D amplifiers, and flagship D80s, enabled the club to achieve its targets for sustainability and efficiency in both idle and driven states. Weather resistant and air conditioned amplifier racks are mounted on the stadium roof and monitored for temperature and humidity.

Integrated to a Q-SYS backbone – a key requirement of the upgrade – the system serves both Public Address and Voice Alarm (PAVA) needs; in addition, RH Consulting ensured the system met all the required national and European voice alarm standards, making Derby the only UK stadium compliant, to the letter, with FIFA standards. RH Consulting liaised with the local council and provided all the licensing and safety documentation, which was approved without question.

Thinking outside the box, utilizing the knowledge and skills of in-house teams together with existing contractors, and external partnerships of equal enthusiasm and dedication to the task, have undoubtedly contributed to the success of Derby’s story. “In a time when we are so often asked to compromise on quality and time available it’s tempting just to get a project over the line to the minimum requirement,” says consultant Roland Hemming. But this is not one of those projects. “The result is unquestionably the best sounding stadium in the UK.”

For Derby’s Stuart Fisher, the benefits of taking a bespoke approach are clear: “In terms of achievable sound quality for the stadium, the d&b system exceeds expectations. When RH Consulting signed off, the measurement for voice evacuation was the highest value of any stadium recorded in the UK with a STI score reaching up to 0.74 and no seat below 0.52. That’s the biggest accolade.

“Since the new system was commissioned we’re getting comments all the time regarding the clarity: from fans, the board of directors and visiting teams. As for the impact on match days; one of the reasons for the upgrade was to address the audio dead spots we had in the bowl, because the sound was directed back into the stand the players couldn’t hear anything. Now we have the same quality and clarity everywhere in the stadium, including for the players. We couldn’t have achieved the current level of performance with any other system and this is what really matters, because everyone, no matter where they’re seated, experiences every minute of the game together.”