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Rashid Stadium rediscovers its voice

Rashid Stadium rediscovers its voice

Rashid Stadium rediscovers its voice

UAE:

Built 70 years ago, Rashid Stadium stood out as a prominent landmark in Dubai for many decades. As the skyline and the cityscape of the modern Emirate took on an increasingly sci-fi façade, the multi-purpose sports complex rarely received a glance by passing motorists. Likewise, the open-air stadium’s public address system has been designed not to disturb its neighbours on match days.

BMTS's project managers, Ravi and Pushparaj, with GSL Professional's Adrian Curtis and Mr Gopinath at Rashid Stadium
BMTS's project managers, Ravi and Pushparaj, with GSL Professional's Adrian Curtis and Mr Gopinath at Rashid Stadium

With the advent of the AFC Asian Cup, an audio system upgrade was required to fulfil FIFA’s current standards in the stadium, which was built in 1948 and is home to Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC. Crucially, this would need to deliver a consistent 100dB SPL to all the seats and stands in the 18,000 capacity ground. The budget-conscious refit was tasked to GSL Professional, which designed a JBL speaker system for systems integrator BMTS.

The main covered grandstand behind the team benches and tunnel are fitted with two JBL PD 6322-64 models at either end. Positioned towards the stands behind the goals, the Precision Directivity three-way models combine high output sensitivity with 60° x 40° pattern control. Primarily selected for announcements, music playback is enhanced by the PD 6322’s ability to provide low frequency extension down to 49Hz (+/- 3dB).

Focused on the open sections behind the goals, the main grandstand is outfitted with four JBL PD 6322-64 cabinets
Focused on the open sections behind the goals, the main grandstand is outfitted with four JBL PD 6322-64 cabinets

Fixed into position using a scissor lift and an electrical hoist under the grandstand canopy, cabling is routed from the 88kg cabinets to the ground floor control room. Here, a pre-existing Allen & Heath console outputs its signal from playback devices and Shure ULXD wireless microphones to the new speaker system powered by six Crown DCi 4600 and 1250 amplifiers. Two BSS BLU-100 processors have been added and programmed with the correct delay and EQ settings.

The open terraces on the opposite side of the grass field are equipped with a further two PD 6322 models fixed onto poles. ‘The original design specified four on either side, but to meet the budget requirements, we had to ensure perfect coverage using six in total,’ GSL Professional technical manager Georgi Hristov confirmed. ‘Ensuring we conformed to FIFA standards behind the goals using just six PD cabinets was very challenging, but it is a testament to the three-way design that we managed to achieve this.’

A total of 14 JBL AWC29 coaxial speakers serve the grandstand and the open-air terrace running alongside the lengths of the pitch. Weather-proofed to an IP56 rating, the compact 12-inch models provide intelligible vocal clarity while fulfilling demanding BGM requirements down to 80Hz. ‘Competing on price is always extremely difficult here in UAE,’ added Mr Hristov. ‘Fulfilling high SPL requirements, providing even dispersion and ensuring vocal intelligibility, while containing the dBs within the stadium was always going to stretch the capabilities of this design. However, BMTS executed the plans perfectly by positioning the speakers in their exact locations and using 4-core cabling to ensure little loss of signal.’



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