When construction for Safeco Field started in 1997, seating areas and space allotments had yet to be finalized. So the biggest challenge facing the project team - which consisted of CCI Executive Vice President Ron Simonson and Project Manager/System Designer Mark Pearson, was time.
"We had to design and complete the installation within a 20-month period so we faced an evolving design as the ballpark was being built," Simonson said.
While the primary focus of CCI's work was the design and installation of the main field sound reinforcement system, their role expanded to include numerous independent A/V systems for various restaurants, lounges, and suites."We designed a high-density distributed sound system that could reproduce stereo program material with reasonable depth," Simonson explained. The system is made up of custom JBL boxes that provide coverage for two main zones - the upper deck seating and field-level seating. A total of 34 boxes - 25 two-way enclosures, loaded with JBL 50 Series horns and JBL 2226 HPL 12" drivers, and nine three-way boxes, which include a JBL 2242H 18" subwoofer - are mounted along the upper edge of the stadium to provide coverage for the upper deck seats. Field-level seats are covered by 25 JBL custom two-way enclosures, which are mounted along the front edge of the upper deck. A 140-volt distributed audio system using JBL Control 28T-60W loudspeakers cover the seats located under the balcony of the club, suite and upper deck levels.
QSC CX Series amplifiers, specifically designed for use in installed sound systems, provide power throughout the stadium. The amplifier racks, located in three equipment rooms in left, behind home plate and right fields, contain CX502s driving the high frequencies, while CX1102s power the lows. CX1202Vs drive the under-balcony 70-volt system. Two PowerLight 9.0 PFC s and a PowerLight 4.0 provide up to 20,000 watts of power (into 2 ohms) for the 18" subs that cover the upper deck seating level. "The best seating in the house for sound is in the upper decks - it really rocks up there," Pearson said.
From the start, CCI recognized that the size and scope of the project would necessitate the use of fiber optic cabling and computer control. CCI turned to QSC's RAVE (Routing Audio Via Ethernet) to handle digital signal routing from the main control room to three remote amplifier rack rooms, and QSControl, an Ethernet-based system that allows users to control and monitor networked amplifiers and audio devices via a standard PC.
The RAVE system distributes 40 channels of audio over a 100 BASE-T Ethernet network. A BSS Soundweb system was selected to handle signal processing before the signal is distributed through the RAVE network. Two RAVE161s and a RAVE188 unit are rack-mounted in the master control room (located on the club level behind home plate) distribute audio to two RAVE160s and RAVE188s in each amp room. Using one input from theRAVE188 in each amp room, the signal is the "back fed" from the CM16 monitor bus to the main control room where it is patched into QSControl.
Simonson said QSControl not only remotely monitors and controls the amplifiers, but it provides the system operator with a comprehensive view of the facility for troubleshooting purposes. "We can control sound not only on a level by level and system by system basis, but on an equipment room by equipment room basis. The system operator can turn segments of the system on and off, or easily identify problems in specific equipment rooms. They can see which amplifier in which rack has a potential problem, then quickly go in and fix it, as opposed to trying to track it through line diagrams."
Pearson added: "QS Control is the only product out there for a large venue like this. You can monitor what your speakers are doing, you can tell if your system has an open or short - even before a patron might report that they're not getting sound in a particular area." The fact that QS Control relies on standard 10 BASE-T Ethernet network was another advantage. "The simplicity of wiring and hooking up the racks made our job easier. All you have to do is plug in a data cable, power cord and speaker cord into the amp and that's it. It makes for a very clean installation."