Tim Hortons Field, a new stadium in Hamilton, Ontario built for the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games that’s also the new home of the Hamiton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL), is outfitted with a sound reinforcement system headed by Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers.
One big challenge in the project was creating system to meet the exacting standards of both FIFA (soccer’s governing body) and the CFL while controlling sound from spilling into the nearby residential area.
Fulcrum Acoustic TQ Install weather-resistant loudspeakers were proposed to meet this challenge, with system design by Dave Clark Consulting, along with another consultant, Arthur Skudra, and installation by A/V Solutions of Mississauga, Ontario.
“The challenge was pattern control,” explains consultant David Clark. “FIFA requires a very loud system so it can be used for crowd control and urgent public address, yet we needed to avoid the nearby homes. With no roof structure, all of the sound has to come from above and behind. Fulcrum makes some products with substantial directivity control that suit the project perfectly. We used EASE to demonstrate performance both in the stands and at the perimeter of the property.”
Specifically, the system is based upon the Fulcrum Acoustic AH463, a dual-loaded 4-inch compression driver coaxially mounted in quad 10-inch LF horns, to deliver primary coverage Twelve of these biamplified boxes are mounted, with three on each of the four lighting towers atop the east side stands. Four more are installed above the upper press box area on the west side, roughly seven stories above the field.
As Fulcrum Acoustic co-founder Dave Gunness explains, the AH463 is a new product created especially for this project. “After reviewing the project’s SPL requirements, along with the mounting locations for the loudspeakers, it was clear we needed a higher-output solution than what was currently available,” he says. “The AH family already offers high sensitivity, high power handling, excellent pattern control, and a compact footprint, so it made sense for us to create a higher-output version with a tighter dispersion pattern for this project.”
Clark notes, “It was very well behaved and delivered a very focused, even coverage, as well as satisfying the requirement of getting very loud for urgent public address. The Fulcrum system can achieve those levels in a reasonably small form factor, which was also important because of potential shadow interference with lighting. It was a very good product fit for this project.”
Seating areas shadowed by the stadium’s architecture are covered by strategically chosen fill loudspeakers, time aligned with the main system. Full-range Fulcrum coaxial horn systems were specified based on directional requirements, including 16 AH65FP (60×45-degree dispersion) and four AH96FP (90×60-degree). Both utilize Fulcrum’s Full Passive design, delivering high size-to-output ratio with fewer amplifier channel requirements.
Covering the middle deck of the west side seating are 16 Fulcrum CX1295 loudspeakers, a smaller full-range model installed on cantilevered yokes. “This allows them to essentially cover two levels, eliminating an entire row of speakers on the west side,” Clark adds.
Fulcrum also offered a high level of involvement in the design process, especially with the AH463 being a new product. “They measured the speakers in the lab and provided custom GLL files that I could plug into the EASE model,” Clark says. “That was a real plus. When the speakers arrived, they were accompanied by preconfigured crossover objects, including FIR filters, for the amplification and control system, which is a 64-channel Q-Sys core by QSC.”
The system was commissioned in August, with the sound team reporting that its performance measuring up to the predictive computer models. Garry Brown, veteran stadium sound engineer for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was also in attendance.
“The Fulcrum system sounds so much better than the old stadium, and it’s nicely controlled,” reports Brown. “They spent a day and a half checking filters and coverage, making sure everything was smooth and even. It’s much better for the houses right across the street behind the end zone, too.”