Sarawak Stadium's Line Arrays by Audiocenter

Audiocenter Line Arrays for Sarawak Stadium, Malaysia. The Sarawak Stadium in Malaysia was built for the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship. It is the home to Sarawak Football Club (Sarawak FA), a Malaysian Super League football team. With the capacity of 40,000 spectators, it had notable matches in the past such as Quarter Final match between Brazil and Argentina during 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, the Charity Shield between Sarawak FA and Selangor FA, quarter-final match of 1998-99 Asian Cup Winners’ Cup
between Sarawak FA and Kashima Antlers of Japan and the fourth venue to host matches of Malaysia, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven for the Champions Youth Cup 2007.

In 2016, Sarawak Stadium hosted SUKMA, a Malaysian sporting event held once every two years. This is the second time for Sarawak to host such a prestigious event. The facilities has never been upgraded so, to make SUKMA successful, facilities needed to be upgraded with the latest technology. The sound reinforcement system was of the utmost importance for the organizer. It was the main communication system between the event organizers to the spectators and every performer and athlete on field. A good, high quality audio and durable system is a necessity for the stadium with requirement of 90 dB evenly across the front-to-back seats. The variance of the dB must not exceed /- 3 dB with extra 10 dB headroom and frequency response must be linear. 

AV Electronics Marketing (AVEM) having successfully installed an Audiocenter system in Stadium Shah Alam in the past, took the previous inspiration and proposed an improved Audiocenter configuration design to the local contractor, Kejuruteraan Daya Timur (KDM). AVEM, with the help from Audiocenter’s engineer, Roshan Malim, did the system design and EASE simulation. The primary challenge of designing for the stadium was that it was not built to be a PA friendly venue. It was built in 1995 with a simple PA system in mind. There was no foresight of proper rigging points for future expansion at that time. In designing a venue, speaker position was one of the most crucial criteria for a good sound. This was the biggest challenge the system designers faced due to unavailability of installation points at
the position they found that will provide the best performance. Furthermore, future maintenance was one of the considerations in mind. A hanged cluster of array at the top of the stadium would make any maintenance work extremely difficult. Using cranes for maintenance work was out of the question as the heavy machinery would damage the floor of the stadium. To ensure the clusters
were accessible for maintenance crews, the clusters were installed directly below to the catwalk. Each cluster point also came with a fixed hooking point. It was for the purpose of chain hoist usage for lowering down or flying up the cluster. Maintenance work in midair is always dangerous and this technique provided a safer environment for the crew to solve anything from the ground. Once the position was determined, 6 units VHLA-12 MKII were hanged in a cluster. A total of 8 clusters of array were flown to provide coverage of the audience. Another 4 clusters of array were facing the side audiences.

Due to unavailability of mounting areas at the side, the side clusters were positioned at the edge of the main audience area wit the panning aimed at the side. Not forgetting the athletes on the field, 4 clusters of array were flown facing the field. V-HLA12 MKII line array is a bi-amp speaker system. A total 16 units of 2 x 380W DA-2.2 amplifiers and 16 units of 2 x 1200W DA-12.2 amplifiers were used to power up a total of 96 VHLA-12 MKII cabinets. The DA-2.2 were used for the High Frequencies while DA-12.2 were used for the Mid Frequencies. The high amplifier damping factor of >2000 was the reason the amplifiers were chosen to match Audiocenter’s flagship VHLA-12 MKII system. The result was an outstanding performance with the required 90 dB SPL and with 10 dB extra headroom. Seat-to-seat SPL measurements were well within the required /- 3 dB variance.

The rainforest was just stone’s throw away, and the Sarawak River was just within walking distance, with the sea is approximate 30 km away, making high air humidity, temperate weather and frequent rainfall the most challenging environment for any system. Each wooden cabinet and Beyma driver were specially treated to withstand the harsh environment and more effort was given to rust-proof the flybars. The system was built to last and ready take up any challenges by Mother Nature. Signal delay due to the long cabling and different cluster positions were easily solved with delay time. Signal latency and signal drop were reduced to a minimum by using fiber optic transmission. From the main audience side to the opposite audience side, the deployed fiber optics was approximately 650meters in length. In contrast, a standard 12 AWG loudspeaker cable had a 5.32 dB loss for 650 meter which means the decision to use fiber optics in between helped the project team solve a major hurdle.  Each cluster was managed with a DSP processor, making the system extremely high with DSP processing in term of horsepower. Digital speaker management was the soul of the system, and the 40bit floating point resolution, 24bit AD/DA and 100dB dynamic range Proel PC-260 was used to get the job done. Reverberation and echo were reduced to minimum by tweaking the audio signal. Using the powerful SMAART 7, certified SMAART engineer Roshan was able to remove the annoying frequencies and re-balance the whole audio spectrum to specially tailor it to the venue's identity. The system performed even more amazingly when the full crowd was present during SUKMA 2016 during open in 22nd July 2016 opening ceremony.

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