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part of the budget could be called on to 
buy a better loudspeaker system.
ANZ Stadium expected nothing less than 
scrupulous and exhaustive competitive 
tendering; charging Willsallen with 
establishing such a procedure. His initial 
bid package invited 18 of the world’s 
leading pro audio manufacturers, 

Representatives for all bidders 
were open for feedback, so we could 
comment on their initial proposals and 
they could respond to those comments. 
Besides a broad in-depth evaluation 
process of the proposal from a 
technical and qualitative perspective, 
I also took an integrated approach to 
the installation process. It is normal 
for installers to forge relationships 
with particular loudspeaker brands, 
Stadium and Arena managers all over 
the world will be familiar with this cosy 
scenario. But it doesn’t necessarily 
follow that the best installer for your 
project will have a relationship with the 
best manufacturer for your project. So I 
set out to separate manufacturer from 
installer in the bid process. At the end of 
the bid process we got the best installer 
and the best equipment.” 
Not that Willsallen’s tenacity in driving 
a deal on behalf of his client ended 
there, “I also included the maintenance 
contract within the installers bid. This 
precludes installers from making 
unrealistic loss leader pitches for the 
main project in the expectation that they 
will become the favoured bidder for the 
maintenance contract when it comes 
up and can make a profit there. The 
benefits are twofold; rolling installation 
and the ongoing maintenance contracts 
into a single bid item precludes 
unrealistic and unsustainable bids: just 
imagine what happens to a bidder who 
secures the installation project on a 
wildly underpriced bid, and then fails 
to secure the maintenance contract? 
More positively, such an interleaved 
proposal means the successful bidder 
has a vested interest in doing a really 
first class job on the installation to 
minimise long term costs to their own 
maintenance programme.
Having reduced the original 18 
contenders to a short list of three 
through his empirically moderated 
four-page criteria, Willsallen invited 
a shootout at the stadium. “For the 
shootout Scott and I and the stadium’s 
MD Daryl Kerry were in attendance,” 
says Davies. “We also invited many 
ANZ’s management challenged the idea that a stadium 
couldn’t have ‘opening ceremony’ quality sound.

of the event audio operators who were 
accustomed to using the old system 
here in previous years. Scott was 
initially passive, allowing us to form 
our own opinions and perceptions. He 
then commented upon them and would 
explain why that might be so.
Shoot-out decision
The shootout was won by German 
manufacturer d&b audiotechnik. “The 
d&b Vi systems succeeded for a 
number of significant reasons,” explains 
Willsallen, “Not just by being the best 
performer on the day. When we first 
looked at renewing the system in early 
2012 Shane Bailey, Director of National 
Audio Systems (NAS), one of the original 
18 bidders, had suggested these new 
systems from d&b. From the point of 
view of stadium requirements the Vi 
loudspeakers have several compelling 
features, in particular the fact that 
they are fully passive. What does 
that mean to the layman? Given the 
restrictions of using only pre-existing 
rigging points and cable infrastructure, 
we had a limited circuit count of just 
eight channels at each position around 
the stadium roof. In simple terms being 
passive meant we could put in more 
boxes at each position off the same 
number of channels within the existing 
cables, that’s a huge advantage. Most 
of the arrays have to cover 130 degrees 
in the vertical plane so more cabinets 
to fill that arc are a real benefit. 
Secondly the two types of full range 
loudspeakers, the Vi8 and Vi12, at 80 
and 120 degrees horizontal respectively, 
proved ideally matched to the general 
seating patterns. Remember, ANZ 
Stadium was looking for concert quality 
delivery, and to every seat in the house. 

From a technical perspective, the 
icing on the cake is the d&b V-SUB. 
Subwoofers produce the low end sounds 
that distinguish concert systems from a 
more traditional stadium PA. But low end 
energy into a stadium is very difficult to 
manage; such bass sounds can rumble 
around what is an echoey environment 
at best, compromising any benefits 
gained from having a powerful PA. But 
the V-SUB is cardioid; that means it 
projects sound rather like a flashlight 
beam, in a defined direction. Many other 
brands have achieved this, but typically 
they do so using multiple cabinets in 
combination. That’s OK, but lose one 
cabinet through a technical fault and 
that flashlight directivity is lost, thus 
splashing unwanted low end all over 
the place. The V-SUB is also passive so, 
were a single cabinet to fail, there’s no 
loss of cardioid behaviour from the other 
SUBs in that particular array.
Once the decision was made Willsallen 
defined the precise installation; over 
400 d&b loudspeaker cabinets were 
suspended from the ANZ Stadium roof 
in the final design. “I wrote my Masters 
on listening measurements in stadia; 
it’s a complex branch of physics. As 
much as possible evolving a design 
of this scale exists on the computer 
and that saves a lot of money. I called 
upon the d&b Application Support 
department to confirm my calculations; 
their specialist Stefan Goertz was a 
great help in that respect. Culturally, 
Germans by tradition deal in absolutes, 
something is either correct or it isn’t. So 
there’s no ambiguity just to please the 
client. That said, it remains important 
to compare empirical data derived from 
the modelling software to what you 
measure in the venue. Compare and 
then listen. Having Stefan here from 
d&b for the commissioning was very 
useful in that respect, we have the 
calculated performance, the measured 
performance, and then we have each 
other’s subjective listening.
The new system was installed by 
The PA People in June 2013 and was 
commissioned on schedule for the 
opening game of the States of Origin 
series, a uniquely Australian competition 
of man and muscle. “A week later we 
revealed the new system to all the 
various officials of the five sporting 
codes that play at ANZ Stadium, 
recounts Davies. “We stage some 50 or 
so sporting events a year, at least six 
are full houses, and another third draws 
about a 35 percent capacity, so they 
were all very interested. The ability to 
impart even more emotion to the game 
was an obvious benefit to them. 

In some ways we were surprised 
by how wholeheartedly the various 
authorities embraced the idea, but 
you only have to look at something 
like the Indian Premier League cricket 
competition to see where that game is 
headed. The thing with all sports is that 
people come because they want to have 
fun; by communicating directly through 
the high quality sound system that Scott 
has produced for us we have a way of 
enhancing the fun and drama. That’s the 
ANZ Stadium vision and we believe this 
is the future for sport.” n
The chosen sound 
system is set to thrill 
fans from all the sports 
played in the stadium.
ANZ Stadium’s General Manager 
Simon Davies and Scott Willsallen.

 O2 Ar
ena, London, Eng
is d&b.
They say the linear frequency response and the astonishing pattern control of 
d&b systems are one thing, whilst the comprehensive control electronics along 
with remote control is another, which altogether help in realizing the same sound 
quality that is appropriate for each seat in the venue. Whatever: d&b as usual.

Funktion-One’s sound solutions, including what is 
believed to be the world’s largest commercially 
available bass horn, are performing an outstanding 
job in the Russian Winter Olympic resort of Sochi.
he Olympic spirit; bestowed upon 
the world by the Greeks and carried 
through the winding passage of time by 
those entrusted to protect its enduring 
legacy. It’s a spirit of bravery and belief 
– an unapologetic commitment to being 
the best you can be. 
As Sochi prepares for the 2014 Winter 
Olympics, it does so with a huge amount 
of new infrastructure, including 11 
new sports venues. It’s a significant 
level of redevelopment, but most will 
have expected that from the Russian 
Federation in the lead up to its first ever 
Winter Games.
What was, perhaps, a little less 
predictable is that one of those venues 
is now the proud home of one of the 
largest bass horns in the world. It’s 
both a unique and stirring excerpt from 
British loudspeaker manufacturer 
Funktion-One’s contribution to the 
new Sochi landscape, which includes 
state-of-the-art audio solutions for 
the 2km long Bobsleigh Track and 
12,000-capacity Bolshoy Ice Dome. 
The Bobsleigh Track can be found 
amongst the Mountain Cluster – one 
of two multiple venue sites that will 
be used during the Games. The other, 
known as the Coastal Cluster, is less 
than 48km away, making Sochi the most 
compact Winter Games in the history of 
the Olympic Movement. 
The project started with a speculative 
conversation in 2009, between 
company founder Tony Andrews and 
Andrei Kremenchugskiy from Funktion-
One’s Russian distributor, Edelweiss 
Audio. Andrews was asked about 
designing high intelligibility sound 
system solutions for the two venues. 
The Ice Dome presented typically 
difficult acoustic challenges and the 
mountainside Bobsleigh Track had areas 
where sound coverage was required and 
areas where it was not. 
Having recognised a lack of audio quality 
in sports arenas and stadiums generally, 
Andrews had started to consider how 
Funktion-One could raise the standard. 
At the time, F1 were in the early stages 
of developing new technology that would 
lead to today’s MST (Modular Stadium 
Technology) Loudspeaker Horns.
Physics AND  
All too often, audio solutions for large 
public space environments such as 
stadiums and arenas produce poor, 
indistinct results, which have become 
accepted as the norm. In contrast, 
the MST Horns have been designed 
specifically for the challenges that 
these environments present. Due to 
their size, the large format loudspeaker 
The Sochi Bob Sleigh 
Run course layout.
The Mega Bass Horn with MST Loudspeaker Horns on the Sochi Bob Sleigh Run.

horns deliver excellent lower frequency 
dispersion control without recourse 
to impact compromising corrective 
processing techniques. In acoustically 
challenging environments, sound 
can therefore be focused where it’s 
needed, without unnecessarily exciting 
the reverberant space. This control, 
combined with ultra-low distortion and 
exceptional pattern control, results 
in clear message transmission and 
intimate, intelligible and involving sound 
which feels perceptibility close to the 
listener. Their weight – only 65kg – 
makes them very user-friendly.
Andrews explains: “Sound as humans 
understand it, is ten octaves wide. It’s a 
large bandwidth with the dimension of 
the frequencies involved being orders 
of magnitude different in size. You can 
easily achieve high frequency directivity 
– a horn of only three or four inches 
will control frequencies above 5kHz, the 
waves are tiny, in the region of an inch. 
Whereas bass waves can be 30 or 40 
feet long – longer, even. So my objective 
with the large MST waveguides was 
to control all the speech frequencies, 
including the chesty ones.

If a waveguide is not big enough to 
control these frequencies then they 
will diffract off its edges to the point 
where some of them will be propagating 
behind the waveguide reflecting 
back from the roof, arriving some 
milliseconds after the original – that is a 
real destroyer of intelligibility because 
you’re no longer on a nice original 
singular arrival.
“More sound going directly to the 
audience area means less excitement 
of the reverberant field. So, the 
point of the big waveguide is to have 
maximum directivity which leads 
directly to improved intelligibility. It’s 
just the application of common sense 
and physics.
Outdoor and  
indoor sound
Fourteen MST Horns have been deployed 
across the 2km downhill Bobsleigh site 
– in four separate positions. They are 
grouped in pairs or in fours, and combine 
individual attributes of 40 degrees 
horizontal and 20 degrees vertical 
dispersion to form horizontal coverage 
parameters of 80 or 160 degrees. 
The MSTs span a frequency range from 
150Hz up to 18kHz.
Where extra reinforcement is needed, 
the MSTs have been supplemented 
by 163 Funktion-One F55 compact 
speakers, 14 AX88 2-way passive mid-
high loudspeakers, 18 AX8 speakers and 
six F118 single 18-inch bass enclosures.
Less than 50km from the Bobsleigh 
Track, in a south-westerly direction 
towards the Black Sea, a collection of 
venues reside in neat formation. The 
Coastal Cluster caters for winter sports 
less reliant on mountainous terrain and 
altitudinous weather conditions. Here, 
the Bolshoy Ice Dome sits proudly as one 
of the largest arenas in Sochi. Shaped 
like a frozen drop of water, its roof is 
decorated with light-emitting diodes 
that light up in different colours. Inside, 
the arena is divided into two areas – the 
central rink and training rinks.
The sound system features 40 Funktion-
One MST Horns. This installation 
actually played a part in the MST’s 
development, when Edelweiss Audio’s 
Andrei Kremenchugskiy visited Funktion-
One HQ in the UK to hear a prototype 
of the speaker. Kremenchugskiy was 
extremely impressed but had some 
suggestions, which were absorbed into 
the development process. The finished 
product offers directivity, intelligibility 
and performance that set a new 
precedent for sports venues. 
The MST Horns work in pairs – 16 groups 
of two MST Horns with one F221 double 
21-inch bass enclosure and two in 
Bolshoy Ice Dome’s roof structure.
Bolshoy Ice Dome is the main ice arena 
for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympcs. 
Photo credit: Getty.
Aerial view of the Funktion-One MST 
Horns in the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

each of the four corners of the arena. A total of 
44 Funktion-One Resolution 2SH skeletal speakers 
are used to cover the rear of the upper seating as 
well as the VIP section. 
Kremenchugskiy adds: “We want as little sound 
as possible on the ice itself – it’s a requirement 
of the International Ice Hockey Federation and 
broadcast companies – and we’ve achieved that; 
there’s real separation between the seating and 
the playing area.
Mega bass
It seemed that both installations were reaching 
their final stages, when the client asked about 
extending the audio infrastructure at the 
Bobsleigh Track to make it into a full music 
bandwidth system. Andrews had suggested 
during that initial conversation that the best 
solution would probably be a huge bass horn 
and much to Funktion-One’s surprise, the 
Russian authorities placed an order for a 
Mega Bass Horn. This, however, was still 
merely a concept.
While many people would be defeated by 
the six-week timeframe, Andrews, driven by 
obligations to both the client and audio quality, 
accepted the challenge. And from a standing 
start, work began on what is believed to be the 
world’s largest commercially available bass horn.
Using an extremely rigid and weight saving 
construction, Andrews and the team at Funktion-
One designed and built the huge horn as a flat 
pack, to be assembled on site. Andrews then 
travelled to Sochi to meet the delivery and 
worked with Edelweiss Audio on its installation, 
at one point working a 17-hour day, in freezing 
temperatures, 40-feet above the ground on an 
open platform. Though it was brazenly ambitious, 
the design, build, delivery and installation of the 
Mega Bass Horn were tethered to an ideology that 
runs through Funktion-One’s DNA. The objective, 
regardless of the environment in question, is to 
deliver the best audio quality possible – even if it 
means doing something that has never been done 
before. More accurately, particularly if it means 
doing something that has never been done before. 
The Mega Bass Horn is positioned at the bottom 
of the course and shoots back up the mountain.

It’s very accurate and very smooth bass,” says 
Kremenchugskiy. It’s all around you – you can 
feel it and hear it. It’s soft but it still pushes you.
Locally, the response to the installations has been 
extremely positive. Russian news crews have 
flocked to see the new state-of-the-art sound 
systems. Internationally, the installations have 
captured the imagination of the professional audio 
industry, with the Bobsleigh Track system winning 
the Pro Sound Award for Permanent Installation 
of the Year in September. Funktion-One, buoyed 
by the MST’s success in Sochi, is extending the 
range to include a wider dispersion model and 
looks forward to applying its pioneering stadium 
technology to sporting environments all over 
the world. n
Visit Funktion-One at these forthcoming Trade Shows in 2014:
ISE Amsterdam, 4-6 February, Stand 7-C210
Pro Light & Sound Frankfurt, 12-15 March, Stand 8.0-G94
David Bruml: david@funktion-one.com or telephone 01306 712820
arranged MST 
Horns in the 
Bolshoy Ice Dome.

a1panstadia_adfinal.pdf   1   18/11/2013   11:00

L-ACOUSTICS is meeting 
the growing need for 
sports facilities to 
provide a concert-like 
sound experience. 
hen the founder of L-ACOUSTICS, 
Dr. Christian Heil, invented 
the V-DOSC system – the very first 
line source system featuring the 
exclusive WST technology in 1992 
– it revolutionised the professional 
audio industry.
Since 1984, a large body of theoretical 
research and experience has been behind 
every system that L-ACOUSTICS has 
developed. Today, L-ACOUSTICS sound 
systems are considered the number one 
choice for energising international events 
ranging from the Hollywood Bowl to the 
Olympic ceremonies and the FIFA World 
Cup, and at countless facilities worldwide.
As sports and entertainment businesses 
continue to converge, sports facilities 
are increasingly required, by fans and 
advertisers alike, to provide a level 
of excellence in sound reproduction 
equal to a live concert-like experience. 
On the following pages L-ACOUSTICS 
presents a select number of sports 
facility challenges and solutions tackled 
by owners, consultants, engineers and 
contractors with L-ACOUSTICS systems. 
From the early stages of design through 
to system commissioning, every sound 
system sports facility project presents its 
own unique set of objectives, challenges 
and constraints.
London 2012 Olympic Games
additional sound reinforcement for the 
opening and closing ceremonies. The 
equipment was supplied by Delta Sound, 
Norwest Productions, Autograph and 
Britannia Row Productions.
Scott Willsallen recounts: 

To create the best sound possible for 
these Games, we had to use a lot of 
resources, the best companies and 
equipment and many talented people 
working together over several months 
and even years in some cases. We also 
needed a great sound system with 
minimal visual impact that could provide 
the best possible performance for the 
ceremonies and the track and field 
events throughout both Games.

What set the London 2012 Olympic 
Stadium apart, visually and acoustically 
at least, was the spectacular ring 
of flown arrays for the upper bowl, 
suspended above the audience and 
athletes for almost four months 
against the elements. For a sound 
systems designer, the primary area of 
concern is the geometry of the space to 
work within. 

I would like to think that the amazing 
performances from the athletes were 
due to the brilliant sound system, but 
perhaps it was also due to their years 
of training and commitment!

The atmosphere was incredible. Take 
any one element away and it would 
have suffered. The presentation of 
sport is becoming a strong focus for 
all disciplines and every element of the 
presentation has to keep up. I’m very 
proud that London 2012 was the best 
sounding Olympics ever.

I have to think very hard to remember 
the occasions where I have experienced 
component failure in an L-ACOUSTICS 
system. The reliability of the products 
was key for London 2012 when you 
consider how difficult it was to access 
the flown loudspeakers.

With over 450 loudspeaker products 
directly exposed to the elements for 
over four months, our total failures 
were just two 15” woofers. This is a 
testament, not only to the quality of the 
L-ACOUSTICS products and systems but 
also to the efforts Delta Sound made in 
preparing the systems for the event.
As soon as L-ACOUSTICS was selected as 
the brand of choice for the sound system 
at the Olympic Stadium for the Olympics 
and Paralympics at London 2012, the 
collective team faced a gargantuan 
task. Exceptional sound was required 
to electrify a brand new stadium with a 
capacity of 80,000 for the opening and 
closing ceremonies of the Olympics and 
Paralympics as well as for every single 
athletic event held within the Olympic 
Stadium over a 29-day period.
The amount of kit required to meet these 
diverse needs was exceptional. Most 
large-capacity touring gigs do not usually 
require more than 100 large format line 
source cabinets, but the Olympic Stadium 
hosted over double that figure.
Scott Willsallen, from Auditoria Pty Ltd, 
London 2012 Ceremonies Audio Systems 
Designer responsible for the design and 
implementation of the technology at the 
Olympic Stadium, says: “I’ve never put 
that much power in the air with a sound 
system before.” As far as L-ACOUSTICS 
is aware, no one has ever assembled 
so many amplifiers to one network 
before either.
The total inventory comprised 220 
V-DOSC line source cabinets, plus 51 
ARCS II downfill cabs spread out across 
22 arrays, suspended from a custom 
tension ring made especially for the 
event. An additional two arrays were 
suspended from the roof with 6 KUDO in 
each. On the ground, a further 88 SB28 
subs and 88 KUDO were provided as 
Opening ceremony rings. 
Photo: Scott Willsallen

Freeman Coliseum
The sound system of San Antonio’s 
Freeman Coliseum is frequently called 
upon to provide speech reinforcement 
for graduation ceremonies, corporate 
functions and other similar events. As 

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