Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park and its stadium have a long and storied history and are an important part of the city’s heritage and landscape. However, being over 100 years old, the building developed structural issues and was scheduled for a complete facelift in 2012. The project required a rebuild of the seating, including a completely new construction of the South side stands and a structural upgrade to the North side stands.
Now named TD Place Stadium, this major sports facility is the new home of two new professional sports teams: the Ottawa Redblacks, the Canadian Football League’s newest expansion team (formerly the Ottawa Rough Riders), and the North American Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury. It will also host major concert events. The extensive restorations also necessitated a full replacement of the stadium’s entire sound reinforcement system.
Montreal-based SFM got involved well in advance. Working with the original specification from BAI Consulting in Austin, Texas, the company proposed a sound reinforcement solution based on EAW loudspeakers. The design itself was created by EAW‘s Applications Support Group (ASG), which specified a mix of individually hung and clustered point source loudspeakers to deliver full-range sound with even, consistent coverage throughout all seating areas of the multi-purpose facility. The system relies on full-range, 2-way loudspeakers from EAW’s QX and MK lines, augmented by SB Series subwoofers and UX8800 processors. All loudspeakers were ordered in their “WP” configuration, which designates a weather-protected finish.
The overall design, which included detailed EASE models to show the system’s coverage, was approved by both BAI and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), with the AV integration contract being awarded to Montreal-based Solotech’s Gatineau field office. According to Solotech Project Manager Greg Frechette, the decision to go with the EAW design was driven by the unique capabilities of the EAW cabinets, the mounting challenges involved, and basic finances.
“This was a challenging installation for several reasons,” notes Greg Frechette, project manager for Solotech. “Obviously, weather resistance was a major consideration, since it is an outdoor stadium with the south stands completely exposed to the elements. In addition, some speaker cabinets had to be custom-painted to match their surroundings. Then, the final challenge was the physical hanging of the speakers themselves.”
EAW offers its weather-protected finish in standard black or white, with custom colours available on request. For TD Place Stadium, all loudspeakers on the north side of the stadium are black, and the lower stands on the south side are white. The upper deck of the south side and end zone are custom painted in concrete grey, Pantone matched to their surroundings.
The upper stands on the stadium’s north side and all lower-level seats are covered by EAW’s QX Series of high output, 2-way, full range loudspeakers. The lower level seats on the north required seven dual-speaker clusters of the narrow-dispersion QX366 model. The upper deck of the north side is covered by 11 narrow-dispersion (60×45 degrees) QX364 speakers, evenly spaced and individually hung. The same individual mounting approach was used for the lower level south stands, where 14 wide-dispersion QX326 units were chosen for their wide 120×60 degree dispersion pattern.
Being fully exposed to the elements, the south upper deck and end zone seats required a different audio treatment. For those areas, the EAW Application Support Group recommended clustered groups of multiple models to provide the desired uniform, full-range coverage.
The main seating area utilizes eight identical clusters, including two trapezoidal, full-range models – a pair of MK2326i and one MK2394i – matched with a dual 15-inch subwoofer, the SB250zP. In the end zone seats, four clusters are deployed. These also utilize the MK2394i, which is matched with a single MK8126i for its wider dispersion (120×60 degrees), plus a single-15 sub, the SB150zP.
Frechette is very impressed with sound quality of the EAW installation. “Everything is performing super well,” he reports. “The coverage is very even, which was the critical part of the design, and the sound quality is amazing. I’m pretty impressed with these EAW cabinets, both the range and the power that they have.”
For Solotech, the biggest challenge of the installation was the hanging of the clusters. To save the significant expense of bringing in a crane to lift speakers up to the grandstands, Solotech worked with the construction contractor to pre-install the speakers on the ground before the roofing was flown in place.
“Once the roof was in place, all we had to do was final wiring and alignment,” says Greg Frechette. “It saved our client a lot of money, and really shows the benefit of all the trades working together from the ground up.”
Teamwork was a strong theme in the TD Place stadium project, with SFM coordinating the efforts of Solotech, and EAW to create an audio design that delivered exactly what the client wanted, on time an on budget.
“I have a fair amount of experience on large venue projects, and everyone has to work together to get it right, especially when there are changes along the way,” notes Frechette. “For instance, we leaned on SFM a lot on this job. They came to Ottawa several times to help us out, whether it involved the custom cabinets or tweaking the system to make it more user-friendly. On a big project, everyone needs to play their role, and that’s something that the people at SF definitely understand.”
The new TD Place Stadium opened on July 18, 2014, hosting the debut game of the CFL Ottawa Redblacks, with all 24,000 seats sold out.