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Tech Focus: Stadium Sound — AV Systems Are Increasingly Sophisticated

As coronavirus pandemic affects construction, ‘community noise’ and architecture continue to influence audio design COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, but physics isn’t one of them. Key concerns regarding sound inside (and around) sports venues have occupied the top of the list for much of the past decade: notably, low-frequency distribution, speech intelligibility, and SPL management. But the solutions are becoming more sophisticated. Stephen Siegel, president/co-founder, Fulcrum Acoustic, which has installed sound systems at the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium and Baylor University’s McLane Stadium, says that, although every sport wants to hype the sonic low end, managing all that bass is becoming an issue. “‘Community noise,’ as it’s called, has become a problem,” he explains, “as more stadiums get built in downtown neighborhoods, with more sound — especially low frequencies — escaping from the bowl. ” The broader solution has been to use cardioid configurations of the larger number of subwoofers that systems deploy to boost the low end, a technique that can improve the directional focus of low frequencies, whose propagation tends to be omnidirectional.

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