Old Barn Audio has completed its third Martin Audio CDD installation within Olympic class venues owned and operated by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA).
Following successful fit-outs of the Lee Valley White Water Centre and Lee Valley Ice Centre, they have now completed a challenging installation at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton.
This required the company to install a 30 metre long roof truss section down the middle of the 200m six-lane oval track, six and a half metres up in the air, to support over half a tonne of Martin Audio’s popular CDD 12, CDD 10 and CSX sub woofers.
Built ten years ago at a cost of £15m, the Centre plays host to a wide range of athletes — operating as an elite venue for Olympians as much as a walk-in facility for the general public. Boasting 4,000 admissions a week, it is the busiest indoor athletics facility in the UK.
In such a wide open, cavernous venue, pristine sound is vital, as much for commentary at athletics meets as general messages and voice evacuation. However, the previous sound system was sadly lacking, as Centre manager Mick Bond explained. “It piggy backed onto the fire alarm system so it was not really fit for general purpose. It was a constant source of frustration and produced feedback whenever turned up.
“We managed to get funding for a replacement system and got various quotes. Old Barn Audio were both competitive on price and were tried and tested as far as we were concerned.”
Their project manager Neil Kavanagh knew that LVRPA wanted to main continuity with the proven CDD formula and his solution was to specify largely CDD12, enabling the CSX 118 sub to take care of the lower frequencies.
This he knew would not only provide the level of speech intelligibility required for commentary and handle background music during daytime training, but also have sufficient muscularity to handle for small concerts. “The venue is also available for hire so by providing a high spec. Martin Audio system this will facilitate a lot more business, leading to an excellent return on investment,” he said.
Kavanagh’s first conundrum was how to tackle the acoustics of an inherently ‘live’ cantilevered venue, while at the same time integrating the pre-existing sound system. He specified 10 x CDD12, two CDD 10 and four CSX 118, ensuring that the subs fired down at the rubber floor, which would provide absorption, while the full range boxes were arrayed and directed at the 500 raked seat stand on one side of the oval (avoiding the facing wall entirely).
The internally wired truss itself is suspended from four points, with two tonne weight-loading and safety bonds at each end. The speakers themselves are fixed using half couplers and are safety bonded.
“We assembled everything 1.5m off the ground and hoisted it into positions on four chain hoists and tethered it at the four hanging positions,” said Kavanagh. The installation required 200m of single 19-core cable running back to the power room and 400m of additional speaker cable on the truss.
The result is a potent solution devoid of any reflections, which comes as no surprise to Neil Kavanagh. “What I really like about the CDD series is the accuracy of dispersion. It has been designed to offer a lot of sound within the budget. Not only that, but the inherent coaxial speaker technology offers power coupled with a sonic performance that is unrivalled for the price.”
Control and amplification also followed the model set in the two other Lee Valley venues. As for integrating the pre-existing horn system this is now detailed to handle voice announcements only. “We have put a ducker into the main system so that it cuts for messages,” Neil Kavanagh explained.
In summary he said, “Now that the Lottery Funding has finished and venues built for the London Olympics need to stand on their own two feet, a powerful sound system such as this is a wise investment. We are also grateful to Martin Audio for the excellent support.
And according to Mick Bond the new Martin Audio system has proven extremely popular with the staff. “Although it was only recently installed it is already more than meeting our expectations,” he said.