Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

Crown Amplifiers QSC Q-Sys JBL VLA

We installed over 5,500 JBL speakers installed as part of the PAVA system

Teaming up with Harman Professional

After nearly four years in construction, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club moved into their new state of the art stadium in North London at the beginning of April 2019. Following initial audio consultancy work carried out by Vanguardia, all the audio systems in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were designed and installed. We have worked in association with sound equipment manufacturer, Harman Professional Audio Solutions, who were appointed as the official audio supplier for the stadium. Most of the equipment for the installation was provided by Harman including JBL loudspeakers powered by Crown amplifiers.

The audio installation provides both high quality audio throughout the stadium (for pre-match entertainment for example), as well as delivering important information, safety and evacuation announcements as part of the venue’s security and emergency procedures – the PAVA system.

The latest audio installation in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

In Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the main audio system comprises line arrays that are flown from the stadium roof to provide audio inside the bowl using JBL VLA 2100 compact cabinets with VLA C125S subwoofers. A total of 154 cabinets and 54 subs make up the 18 line arrays around the stadium bowl.

“From system modelling we calculated each array should be between eight and twelve cabinets to ensure coverage to every seat. We then recommended the addition of the subs for each array, essential to deliver the demanding audio requirements of the NFL. They’re configured in cardioid configuration which cuts down on reflections off the main stadium roof.”

Eddie Thomas- VP Special Projects

Each array is contained within a custom flying frame bolted directly to the stadium roof. Our manufacturing arm Sigma Fabrications designed and built the flying frames in house after liaising with stadium steelwork supplier Severfield. Each frame was built in our Redditch HQ, and loaded with the JBL VLA 2100s and VLA C125S subs before being shipped to site. Once on site a special cart was developed that allowed each array to be carried and hoisted into position. The cart remains on site for when the arrays are lowered in the future for inspection and maintenance.

5,500 loudspeakers for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

In addition to the main bowl, speakers have been installed throughout every enclosed area, including concourses, private boxes, bars toilets car parks etc to ensure coverage for everyone within the stadium complex. In the concourse areas we installed JBL pendant and ceiling mount speakers. With over 5,500 speakers to install across the complex, sub contracted the physical installation work outside the bowl to Tyco, before conducting testing and commissioning as part of bringing the systems online.

QSC Q-Sys installed as the heart of the digital network

The entire audio system is built on a digital network, at the heart of which are a pair of QSC Q-Sys Cores. The cores provide all the digital signal processing (DSP) and signal routing for each of the 5,500 loudspeakers on site. Because the system is a critical element of the fire and evacuation procedures, the network has comprehensive redundancy built in throughout.

“There are many levels to the redundancy: two cores are running simultaneously, one as a primary system, the other as a backup. If the backup detects a failure of the primary it will kick in and take control automatically.

Then there’s the main network which is on a fibre optic backbone and there are two separate baths run over different physical routes to every device – in the event of a fire or other failure damaging the network in one place then there’s still a physical route in place.

Adjacent loudspeakers in an area will be on separate channels A and B, fed by different amplifiers. In the event of a failure, be it a critical one where all of one channel goes down throughout the stadium or just a single amplifier channel develops a fault, at least 50% of the loudspeakers in an area will remain in operation.

“In addition to the digital infrastructure there’s also an analogue backup – ultimately if the entire network went down we could still put out paging announcements to the entire stadium – it’s incredibly robust in terms of its fault tolerance.”
Paul Lambert – Site Manager

“This constitutes one of the biggest Q-Sys networks ever assembled and we have really pushed the envelope in terms of exploring its capabilities. Over the past few years we’ve developed our knowledge and experience of the technology and it’s now our go to solution for projects of this type.”

Eddie Thomas – VP Special Projects

How our starting team integrated the Q-Sys system

Technical Specialist Paul Todd undertook much of the programming for the project. Paul, alongside Eddie Thomas has been instrumental in developing our knowledge and understanding of the Q-Sys system, working on numerous projects over the past few years.

“Solotech’s challenge was to integrate the JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers and Dante digital audio transport protocol with the Q-Sys control to provide a system that not only provided excellent flexible audio throughout, but also the robust, fault tolerant and monitor-able system that PAVA requirements dictate.

We worked with Harmann to develop the software plug in for the Crown amplifiers, essential to provide control and monitoring for the Q-Sys system. Audio transport was Dante so wasn’t a major issue but we developed the plugin to provide the system health over the network. For a PAVA application not only does your system have to work, you have to be able to see in real time if a failure should occur.”

A breakdown of our GUIs

Paul Todd was responsible for programming and developing the user interfaces for the system. Touch screen GUIs (graphical user interfaces) present system control in a logical and simple format. The system can be viewed on a map of the stadium, allowing the user to select a zone or zones and then route audio to their selection.

“Key to the project was to make the system work in a PAVA application. We developed a phased evacuation matrix so that in the event of an emergency the stadium could be evacuated in a safe and orderly manner. For example if a fire was detected in a toilet block in the South Stand then the priority is to evacuate that area first.

It may ultimately be necessary to evacuate the whole stadium but the system is designed to deliver those messages in a phased manner, key to guaranteeing a safe and orderly response from the public.”

Paul Todd – Application and Design Services Manager

How hundreds of screens are running on a QSC-Q network

AVI, the AV contractor for the project has installed hundreds of screens and local control interfaces throughout the venue, all running on a separate QSC Q-Sys network. We worked with AVI to bridge the audio and AV networks together, allowing audio from the screens and local interfaces to be routed to the speakers local to each screen. The system is configured so the PAVA system is always top in the hierarchy so in the event of an emergency or public safety announcement the external audio is overridden by the PAVA system.

Project Management

“Working on a new build project of this scale obviously has its own unique set of challenges. There’s so many different contractors and trades all working on site and you need to coordinate your work schedule with and around them. There’d be times when we’d be wanting to install a speaker in a ceiling space, only to discover that the ceiling wasn’t built yet so you have to reschedule your workload. Also it’s only once you can see parts of an installation that you realise elements of the design may need to altered.

Jake Miller – Project Manager

So, how did the guys at Tottenham feel it turned out?

“We’re delighted with the way the system has turned out. The system in the bowl sounds excellent, we can deliver audio quality at high SPLs to each and every seat. The QSC Q-Sys system delivers a system that is incredibly flexible for the variety of applications the stadium requires and the PAVA system ensures public safety at all times.”

Eddie Thomas – VP Special Projects

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