Last year, Harrogate Town FC were promoted to the English Football League (EFL) for the first time in its history due to a 3-1 victory over Notts County in the National League playoff final at Wembley, and with the promotion came new responsibilities for renovations of the club’s home venue — EnviroVent Stadium — that include a permanent public address system utilizing a variety of loudspeakers from RCF.
Sheffield-based AVLS Technical, which had previously supplied temporary pre-match PA requirements on a hire basis, was engaged by the club to consult over the permanent installation. The club’s plan at this stage was to upgrade audio in four of the ground’s six distinct areas and work with the existing set-up in the remaining two.
“When we took a close look at what was required, it was quickly apparent that it wasn’t a simple case of dropping in a few speakers, so we spoke to Pro Audio Systems for some advice,” explains Tom Vickers, partner at AVLS. “They came highly recommended and our contact turned out to be Dave Simpson, who we’d worked with many years before when he was at a different company. It felt like completing a circle. Dave and his team focused their attention on supplying us with the best tools for the job, and after explaining his thinking, suggested that he discuss a potential system with RCF. It definitely turned out to be a good call.”
Dave Simpson, projects director at Pro Audio Systems, duly recommended the system based around RCF and then worked closely with Francesco Venturi of RCF’s Engineering Support Group, who assisted the project by providing design options for the different areas of the stadium’s stands and communal areas using EASE prediction software.
The system is predominantly comprised of products from RCF’s compact, weatherproof P Series models deployed in three out of the four principle areas to be covered. In the Main Stand, AVLS installed six P3115T cabinets while the greater depth of the Black Sheep Brewery Stand required a dozen P2110T for even coverage. The EnviroVent Stand was catered for with two P3108 cabinets and 20 MQ80P (which will be redeployed upon further development) completed the picture in the Myrings Terrace area.
Simpson also recommended Yamaha PX Series amplification for the project, based on build quality and reliability, controlled by a QSC Q-Sys Core 110f processor. On match-days the stadium announcer uses a small personal mixer with a microphone and line feed to address the whole ground and play background music, while in the security office the club’s safety officer has an iPad with a custom-built user control interface designed to replicate the stadium layout. This setup enables him/her to override the entire system and/or individual stands as well as allowing the storage and playback of pre-recorded safety announcements. In the event of future expansion of the system, the Core 110f had ample capacity for additional I/O, something that subsequently proved useful.
“Once we’d completed the initial job, we were immediately asked questions about the huge quality gap between the new system and what was left of the old one,” Vickers states. “It had been picked up by everyone from the fans to the chairman, and the decision was quickly taken to design a second phase to the upgrade. Dave Simpson and Jake Brown from Pro Audio Systems visited the site and were able to swiftly draw up some costings for the club.”
Once approved, this second phase saw ten RCF P3108 loudspeakers deployed in the Wetherby Road Stand with 6 x P3108 added in the AON Stand. Another three P3108s in the AON Stand and four additional P3115s positioned in the Main Stand took care of the pitch area. As with the first phase, all amplification was by Yamaha. To complete the picture and help ensure total coverage of the ground and comfortably meet every safety requirement, AVLS installed Ecler 100-volt loudspeakers in all concourse and walkway areas. In addition, the club invested in two Sennheiser Evolution Digital wireless microphone systems for match day pitch-side interviews.
“What started as a one-off visit to supply a temporary sound system developed into a comprehensive permanent install,” Vickers says. ” Dave and Jake acted as sounding boards throughout the project, and RCF themselves had major input on the system design. They too were very helpful throughout the whole process. The selected products and system design have achieved everything we set out to do across both phases of the job, and I’m glad we spent time at the beginning of the project finding the correct supplier. At AVLS we put a real emphasis on service and quality, so to have that mirrored in the support we received was great. We look forward to continuing our relationship with both the club and Pro Audio Systems.”