Creating Acoustic Design For Today’s Stadium Experience

Crowd cheering in stadium with acoustic design aspects

One of the most captivating experiences a person can have in their life is going to a sporting event or concert in a stadium. From the moment they approach the stadium until well after the event ends, a fan will revel in every aspect of it. But there’s one key factor at these stadium experiences that fuels the pulsating energy – the sound.

Why Does Acoustic Design Matter?

Acoustic design is important not only for new stadiums and arenas, but also for older venues under renovation. In fact, it’s even moreso for those venues and events that rely on visual media displays. Let’s take a closer look at how effective acoustic design plays a part in an amazing stadium experience.

Acoustics for Stadiums

Acoustic design for stadiums is an intricate process that can often take years to put together. The first rule is to not have speakers overlap each other. This is to ward off any mishaps due to sound cancellations at certain frequencies. The result is a form of audio coverage that some describe as rectangular in effect.

The trick is then getting these areas of audio to meet without clashing. That takes a high amount of skill from professionals who understand the craft of acoustic design. These professionals account for the construction budget, as well as the architectural design of the venue. The latter part can pose some headaches due to two factors – age and weather.

Acoustic Design at Lambeau Field

One example of acoustic design and the impact on the age of a stadium is right next door in Wisconsin. Lambeau Field, home to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers is a legendary stadium. Acoustically, Lambeau was built with a traditional bowl structure with luxury suites. This created a headache as the single-point sound system that was previously in place helped it to become an open-air echo chamber.

2012 Stadium Renovations

Renovations at the stadium in 2012 put a high emphasis to correct the acoustics. First of all, the stadium wanted to use a distributed sound system. As a result, large cabinets delivers sound out over the crowd. In addition to this, the sound is enhanced by smaller speakers.

This sound design also factors in how far the sound reaches audiences. Combined with new video boards, fans at Lambeau Field applauded the changes. Weather played a part in the design array as well, as each speaker had to be treated to withstand the frigid temperatures.

How Weather Impacts Stadiums

Another example of how weather impacts acoustic design for stadiums lies in Petco Park in San Diego, California. Home to the Padres of Major League Baseball, the park’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean is key. This location means that all the exposed speakers had to be swapped out for weatherized products that could hold up to saltwater exposure. In addition to the speakers, the team revamped the whole sound system to have better amplifiers through the suites.

Stadium Design and Construction

The art of stadium design and construction has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. This can be seen with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia which opened in 2017. Home to the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League & Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, the stadium’s construction totaled $1.5 billion, with one component being their sound system, provided by the engineering team at Danley Sound Labs.

Acoustic Design Networks at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Their sound design network consists of a distributed system with eight arrays for the two lower levels, which complements a system of synergy source horns. These speakers were set up to provide the higher energy the stadium requires. Similarly, the correlation with the various forms of visual media on display means the stadium achieves optimal sound without sacrificing coverage goals.

Danley utilizes seven of their speakers in these arrays to achieve crisp sound with low power consumption. This particular example of intelligent acoustic design has also made the stadium an attractive venue for other events. For example, the stadiums will host Super Bowl LIII and the NCAA Men’s Final Four set to take place in 2020.

Want to Learn More?

Has reading about acoustic design for stadiums intrigued you? The Institute of Production and Recording offers a program in live sound and show production that gives students more insight and experience in creating such experiences.

Contact us today to learn more about the live sound and show production program and starting a rewarding career in the music industry.