Detroit, MI (March 15, 2011) – Major sporting event fans pay big ticket prices to attend games in person, and a large part of their enjoyment depends upon their ability to hear high-quality play-by-play announcements and entertainment over the stadium’s audio system. Here at Ford Field, home of the NFL Detroit Lions, fans are now hearing an enhanced audio experience with the help of QSC’s Q -Sys integrated system platform.
The original audio system at Ford Field was comprised of multiple, interconnected DSP systems of varying ages and types – an infrastructure ripe for potential disaster and sorely in need of an audio overhaul. Losing the stadium audio during a game is the probably the worst nightmare that can happen to any technical crew, and the team at Ford Field experienced this first-hand.
“The former system was a mixture of analog and networked digital audio using a variety of processors and technology. A main DSP was used for overall system EQ and then fed twenty-six other DSP devices which provided the voicings for the main stadium clusters. A back of house system used still another DSP structure to feed the concourses, the locker rooms, the media areas and ticketing,” explains audio consultant/ integrator John W. Horrell of Durrell Sports Audio Systems. “With so many potential points of failure, servicing the system was a big problem – especially if a failure happened just before a game as it did on one terrible occasion when the audio for the entire bowl area was lost.”
This incident was the impetus for a total audio system remake. Durrell Sports Audio Systems was tasked with the challenge of redesigning the entire control system, removing the old components, checking the existing amplifiers and speakers and commissioning the entire audio system – all just three weeks prior to the 2010 National College Hockey League Playoffs. Durrell opted for a Q-Sys system comprised of 2 Q-Sys Core 3000 main frames and 27 Q-Sys I/O frames and they met the tight deadline with a couple of days to spare.
“The Q-Sys installation was a delight and we actually had it connected and talking to all 125 amplifiers within three days,” Horrell recalls. “Operation and Installation are far more efficient. Q-Sys is a single point-to-point type of technology that allows the routing of audio inputs to any specific point, which offered us a huge improvement over the series connected DSP boxes in the old system. Instead of three separate computer programs plus more than 27 DSP processors, we operate within one program. Combine that with less signal latency, better output quality and constant assurance of equipment status -- and Q-Sys was an excellent choice in this situation.”
Another Q-Sys feature that has proven invaluable is the system’s ability to be controlled and monitored via a networked computer system. “Durrell Sports Audio Systems provides our national clients with links to their computerized audio systems from our offices here in Nashville. During the NFL season, we have engineers monitoring all the games being played each Sunday. With Q-Sys, we were able to set up management parameters which alert us if there is something that should be looked at. Problems like over-heated amplifiers or unusual impedances can be singled out and actually addressed from 500 miles away.”
Ford Field also already had a number of legacy QSC amplifiers including PowerLight 4.0 and 6.0 models that were still serving reliably. Since Q-Sys is backwards compatible with these DataPort equipped amplifiers, they were able to be fully integrated into the Q-Sys design and are controlled and monitored just like the newer PL3 and CX models that were added to the amplifier inventory.
Durrell Sports Audio Systems’ successful long-term partnerships with many of the major NFL teams requires them to offer these important clients products which are very well-established, have a long shelf-life and are proven performers in terms of reliability and functionality.
“Q-Sys is just that kind of cutting edge technology product that we can offer our clients,” Horrell added. “Our company has a reputation with our NFL and professional sports partners for being able to guarantee top quality system performance. Q-Sys is the type of product that provides us with confidence margin in its reliability. This system is truly one of the best investments in the audio market, and we are pleased to say that the Detroit Lions and Ford Field have had a banner year —both on the field and with their PA system!”