Sydney integrators, The P.A. People are specialists in installing sound systems at leading stadia and sporting venues across Australia.

The P.A. People has been responsible for events as big as the Olympics and covering an entire precinct’s worth of locations, installing some of Australia’s biggest audio systems while remaining at the cutting edge of technology. The integrator regularly uses Audinate’s Dante as their AoIP technology of choice.

Two major projects that have seen The P.A. People deploy large scale Dante networks recently include the vast new stand at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse and the audio distribution system at the 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium, also in Sydney.

The Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney

The Australian Turf Club’s new Grandstand at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney represented a huge distribution challenge for audio. Ranging over six levels, two structures and 25,000m² of floor space, the installation includes a 1,000 port HP ProCurve Ethernet network carrying audio to and from 115 zones with 154 amplifier channels in use, running alongside 60 channels of video and 30 channels of digital signage to over 800 screens.

Brett Steele, Manager - Installed Systems at The P.A. People and Josh Jones, Project Manager, turned to the BSS Soundweb London series, deploying multiple BLU signal processors and BLU-326 I/O expanders, both with built-in Dante connectivity, to easily connect eleven racks of equipment spread across eight separate locations.

Josh explained that Dante was used to transport audio across all levels and the external areas. The Dante system was also used to take advantage of the DSP loading across the entire venue. Having 64 audio channels available for signal transport, they were able to send audio to the other side of the venue to a BLU that had spare capacity, do some processing and then send it back. The Dante solution allowed them the flexibility of distributing processing instead of buying and installing more localised gear to accommodate the additional requirements of the client.

Both the BLU-806 and BLU-326 have a flexible card-bus architecture that enables differing combinations of analogue and digital I/O to be added according to system requirements. Local analogue inputs at Randwick include the all-important race call, feeds from interstate races, inputs from The Weighing Room and Theatre of the Horse, and BGM. Some function spaces include multiple line sources for external equipment. All channels are transported via the BLU’s built-in Dante ports across the site’s network, before being connected directly by Cat5 via the BLU’s built-in BluLink proprietary digital bus to the 80 Crown amplifiers that power the system. Over 1,000 individual JBL loudspeakers across ten different models complete the system.

Josh and the team used the BLU-806’s internal processing to ensure that the most important audio always gets heard. He explains that there are multiple priority levels with the local race caller getting top priority, followed by other races around the country, and then the BGM; the priority is managed in the BLU806s using four PCs placed across the site running a virtual control desk for the DSPs and amplifiers, created using the BSS London Architect software.

The ANZ Stadium, Sydney

ANZ Stadium’s new PA system, which brings concert-quality sound to a permanent stadium installation, is run by an elegant audio network solution. Designed by Scott Willsallen of Auditoria, the PA system was installed by The P.A. People with Brett Steele, Manager - Installed Systems, overseeing the deployment of a simple but powerful BSS solution that provides not only a fully redundant network backup, but a redundancy for the redundancy.

The PA system at the ANZ Stadium has five BLU-326s, one in each of four amplifier rooms and one in the central control room. The control room’s audio console outputs its mix via AES/EBU and analogue, connecting to a BLU-326. Dante is then used to distribute the mix to the four BLU-326s in the remote amplifier rooms over two HP ProCurve networks, taking advantage of Dante’s built-in ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ ports to provide a failsafe in the event of cable or equipment failure. Not content with just one back-up, Brett’s team then connected the BLU-326s via their built-in BluLink digital audio bus to four BSS BLU-BOB1 breakout boxes, providing an emergency analogue feed if necessary.

Ultimately, the audio distributed around the ground over Dante is used to connect directly to Dante interfaces built into third-party processing and amplification. With over 150 manufacturers now licensing Dante chipsets to build into their products, Dante has become the industry standard in audio networking.

The P.A. People continues to choose BSS processing across a range of their work, from small education and church installations right up to the largest pieces of public infrastructure. Brett describes Soundweb London as an easy-to-use, scalable family of DSPs with a model available to suit most projects, from the BLU-50s and BLU-100s right through to anything that can be built at the top end.

Jands is a leading Australian distributor of professional audio, lighting and staging equipment.