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Audio in the Citi

Jun 22, 2009 4:24 PM, By Trevor Boyer

The New York Mets' new Citi Field showcases recent advances in loudspeaker design, DSP, and monitoring/control.


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Citi Field

This April, as a unique event in baseball history, a city's two franchises both took up residence in new stadiums in the same season. In the Bronx, the New York Yankees had a new home across the street from the still-standing old Yankee Stadium, and the Mets, in Queens, had also moved across the street.

On April 13 the Mets hosted the San Diego Padres for the official opening day of Citi Field. The next morning, after the successful debut of a new digital audiovisual system, employees of integration firm TSI-Global were working out some of the last remaining kinks in the stadium's signal distribution. Embedded audio from one of the broadcast truck docks was coming into the stadium embedded on the wrong channel. "I know we had that working last week," said Dave Potts, senior field engineer with TSI. At that point, just after the stadium's official opening, Potts said that his team was almost done implementing the AV system and was for the most part simply awaiting final punch-out from WJHW of Dallas, the designers of the system.

The design of the new Citi Field has some roots in St. Louis. TSI-Global, based in nearby St. Charles, Mo., had integrated the AV system at the then-new Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006 as home to the St. Louis Cardinals. Like that of Citi Field, Busch's AV system was designed by WJHW. Both Busch Stadium and Citi Field were designed by architects HOK Sport (now known as Populous) and built by general contractors Hunt Construction Group.

Citi Field's AV system also shares many elements of that of similarly sized Busch Stadium. Both systems are powered by Crown CTS series amplifiers—more than 210 units for Busch and 242 in Citi's case. BSS Soundweb London BLU systems process the signals for both systems via an Ethernet-based CobraNet architecture. But advances in technology since 2006 allowed WJHW and TSI to grant more power to the Citi Field's system operator. Specifically, Harman's System Architect software gives the operator unprecedented control over and monitoring of individual system components throughout the stadium's bowl, press boxes, luxury suites, restaurants, stores, and other areas.

The platform also represents an advance because it can stand alone. System Architect controls both the amplifiers and the DSP system (the 40-plus London BLU boxes around the stadium), which means that operators do not need to switch computers (typically done via KVM switching) to move from monitoring power amplifiers to adjusting DSP. Josh Beaudoin, who worked as a consultant at WJHW during the design phase of the process, designed the audio portion of Citi Field's system. "The ability to now both monitor the BSS and the Crown from a single interface provides much better system monitoring capabilities because we can monitor heat in all the amplifier rooms from the remote System Architect interface," he says. "We can remotely monitor any audio that's happening in the box, and then lastly we can schedule things in the stadium from System Architect." (Beaudoin is now director of marketing, installed sound with Harman/BSS.)



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