Stage Electrics takes audio underwater at Plymouth Life Centre

The new Plymouth Life Centre has a new and substantial audio installation from Stage Electrics that takes the company’s expertise underwater as well as around the pool and other facilities.
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The new £46.5 million (€58 million) Plymouth Life Centre, designed to be one of the country's leading centres of sporting excellence, has already hosted training sessions for Olympics 2012 diving teams as well as being used for synchronised swimming . The centre has a new and substantial audio installation from Stage Electrics that takes the company’s expertise underwater as well as around the pool and other facilities.
Plymouth's largest ever investment in leisure facilities includes a leisure pool, 50m Olympic size competition pool and a professional diving pool. A distributed system around the main pool areas is based on K-Array KK200 line arrays, each matched with a KN10SW 10” subwoofer, both powered by K-Array KA10-10 DSP-equipped amplification.
K-Array KK200 modules cover the main pool areas: two apiece for the diving and leisure pools, with accompanying KN10SW-P passive 2 x 10" steel skin sub-woofers, finished in white. Four sets of KK200s and KN10SW-P cover the competition pool where banks of seating accommodate 400 spectators.
The competition and diving offices’ show relay systems feature Bose Freespace DS 40F speakers, again in white, while show relay in the stair wells is handled by Bose Freespace DS 16SE speakers, all powered by a Cloud VTX4120 amplifier. All components near to water are appropriately IP rated. The audio was designed by Jamie Gosney and installation was project managed by Richard Coombes, whose team carried out the installation. 75% of the works were done during the night, with a large proportion of the cable infrastructure installed in the plant room alongside the hydraulics systems that raise and lower the pool floor.
For the underwater action, Stage Electrics specified specialised loudspeakers from the North Canton, Ohio-based O.E. Enterprises, two of whose Oceanears DRS-8 units have temporary fixings to the pool’s walls, powered by Crown CTS3000 amplifiers. An integrated user friendly playback rack and Sennheiser radio mic system was supplied for poolside use. 
The reflective effect of the air/water boundary at the pool surface means sound from above barely reaches the swimmers. Added to which is the speed of sound in water, some 4.4 times that of sound in air. An Allen & Heath IDR8 DSP system, via which audio is zoned over seven areas in the main facility hall including one zone for the underwater system, provides the delay to sync the underwater system, providing matching audio when swimmers’ heads emerge from the water as part of their routines.
Stage Electrics’ account manager Anne Pengelly says: “This is a complex installation not least because of the demanding environment but also because of the sheer physics involved in coordinating the audio above and below the water. The final result is impressive and is another high quality audio installation delivered by Stage Electrics.”



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