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Exceptional sound system performance at the European Olympics

 Exceptional sound system performance at the European Olympics

The European Olympic Games is one of the most significant sporting events in the world, and hosting such an event requires a high level of planning and preparation. Scott Willsallen, known for his expertise in designing sound systems for major events such as the Sochi Winter Olympics, was tasked with designing the live and audio broadcast systems for the opening and closing ceremonies of the first-ever European Olympic Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

The primary challenge for the project was the limited roof structure of the Olympic Stadium, which meant that the loudspeaker stacks could not be very tall. To overcome this challenge, Willsallen chose the L-Acoustics K2 system, which allowed for consistent horizontal pattern control and was ground stacked around the oval layout of the stadium to provide localized sound to the action [2]. The system comprised 24 ground stacks of K2, arranged in an alternating left/right configuration, along with 12 K2 for localized fills, and was driven by 210 LA8 amplifiers.

Apart from the limited roof structure, the system needed to cover a distance of up to 63m from the PA to the audience's back row, which was a long distance for a ground stack. To ensure that the sound quality was not compromised, delays of K2 and K1-SB covered the upper tier on the east and west sides, while 8XTs and 12XTs were used for localized fills. Monitoring for the cast was principally in-ear, with the addition of L-Acoustics 12XTs and 115HiQs for coverage of the mass movement areas.

The team was impressed with the sound, and the system performed superbly. The Opening Ceremony was honored with a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding live and direct-to-tape sound mixing. Auditoria, the company Willsallen is associated with, has provided sound design and services for a variety of high-profile events, including the 46th UAE National Day, the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the Dinosaur in the Wild immersive experience, and has won multiple awards and crucial recognition for its high-quality work.

In conclusion, the design and implementation of the sound system for the European Olympic Games was a challenging task, given the limited roof structure and long-distance coverage requirements. However, through the use of the L-Acoustics K2 system and careful planning, the team was able to deliver exceptional sound quality that impressed both the live and broadcast audiences.



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