Arizona Cardinals’ stadium reveals new L-Acoustics system

The University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, has unveiled a new L-Acoustics sound system to elevate the fan experience for the start of the 2016 NFL season.

Designed and specified by the Arizona Cardinals, the system consists primarily of flown L-Acoustics K2 arrays permanently installed in July by AV systems integrator Pro Sound & Video.

Since its opening in 2006, the music playback needs of the stadium have expanded, requiring better low and high-end reproduction, according to Jamie Gillespie, systems audio engineer for the Arizona Cardinals. At the same time, both the stadium and the Cardinals are always looking for a lighter system to take into account the venue’s structural ratings for their massive truss system, which will be used for a centre video cluster for NCAA Final Four games scheduled for 2017.

L-Acoustics’ K2 was the solution to all of these issues. “The K2 box weighs only 123 pounds, but it’s in the same class and has the power and throw of boxes that weigh twice as much,” said Gillespie. The K2’s power and high intelligibility meant that he could dispense with the delay rings that had been necessary in the previous system’s design to ensure sound reached the upper levels of the stadium.

Using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D modelling software, the Cardinals were able to design a system consisting of a total of 10 array hangs: eight arrays comprising 13 K2 enclosures each topped by four K1-SB subwoofers, and two end-zone hangs of nine K2 enclosures each, for a total of 122 K2 and 32 K1-SB.

The system is rounded out with a dozen ARCS Wide enclosures used to fill the upper seats at the north end of the stadium and end zone, and eight X8 coaxial speakers to fill in a “shadow” area for seats used for special events under the main scoreboard. A field fill system, using four hangs of four L-Acoustics Kara enclosures each, is hung behind four of the main arrays and used to cover the playing field for the Cardinals cheerleaders’ presentations and other on-field activities. A total of 81 LA8 amplified controllers power and process the entire system.

“The full bandwidth of the K2 enclosures provided an incredible amount of usable LF, which, combined with the K1-SBs, eliminated the need for ground-based subs,” explained Pro Sound & Video’s executive vice president David Shoemaker, who led the installation project. “This setup has provided the facility with an unmatched performance in stadium sound.”

Despite the fact that this project represented one of the largest fixed installation projects in L-Acoustics’ history, the full system was on-site within four weeks of the official order and everyone involved was overjoyed with the results. “The timeline to perform the installation by the first game was aggressive,” Shoemaker recalled. “We were absolutely thrilled when L-Acoustics was able to ship the entire order at once, giving us plenty of time to put in a temporary system for this world-class soccer event as well as ample time to prep the permanent rig for flying.

“The L-Acoustics K2 system has proved to be a significant upgrade to the stadium. The voicing is exceptional; the coverage is smooth and consistent from row to row, array to array, and all with plenty of headroom,” Shoemaker concluded. “All reports back have been over the top, and we are very pleased to be part of the success that this system has provided.”