Electro-Voice: World Cup Sound in Stadiums and On-Screen
It was a World Cup of superlatives. And it was every bit the euphoric—yet peaceful—event the organizers had hoped for. If this year’s World Cup in South Africa ran like clockwork, at least some of the credit must go to Electro-Voice: EV sound systems were in use in nine of the ten stadiums hosting the tournament, – that has to be some kind of record!
In Germany, hundreds of thousands of fans followed the matches on giant screens in stadiums and city centres, and the Electro-Voice logo featured prominently in the festivities. Wittelsbacher Platz in Munich was a case in point. Up to 2,200 spectators at a time watched all the matches played between June 16 and July 11, enjoying high definition images on a 37-square-metre LED screen – equivalent in size to two soccer goals – placed in front of the Siemens headquarters. The company created its own “Soccer City” to celebrate the competition, and to make sure the party atmosphere stayed strong, it even commissioned DJs to serve up a musical cocktail to suit all palates.
The sound was delivered by an impressive XLD line-array system from Electro-Voice, comprising twenty-four array elements and a battery of EV CP4000S power amps. Sound Designer Michael Prinke commented: “Off the bat, I can’t think of any other system that is this small, compact and light that sounds this good. The XLD is also remarkable for its enormous efficiency. And this isn’t just my own opinion. The responsible event company was equally full of praise. They told me they’d never had such good sound. That’s precisely the kind of feedback we do like to hear.”
Whilst the proximity of housing estates and the often deafening drone of the vuvuzelas that accompanied every match might have been expected to pose problems for Prinke and his crew, he was pleased to report that “neither posed any problem whatsoever during the event.” Prior to the first broadcast, the company conducted simulations to determine how to achieve a homogenous sound. The elephantine trumpeting of the plastic horns “represented a challenge,” he admitted, “but in the end even this didn’t represent a difficulty.”
A hundred kilometres to the east of Munich, more giant screens were exercising the same magnetic appeal: In Burghausen, Upper Bavaria, the Passauer Neue Presse told of “Fan madness in the soccer city – Thousands celebrate in front of giant screens.” Up to six thousand fans at a time rejoiced as the German team put together a promising string of victories, and mourned when it eventually faltered at the semi-final stage. “Entire streets had to be sealed off; the crush was unbelievable,” said organizer Stefan Löwen. Sound production at this location was handled by Stubenberg-based rental company MSE-Tontechnik. To ensure the match commentary was intelligible above the din, the MSE team opted once again for sound reinforcement equipment from Electro-Voice. The installation included flown Xi-1152A enclosures and Xi-2181A subwoofers. Amplification was provided by CP3000S amps supported by Dx38 controllers. “This set-up really proved its value,” reported Johannes Schilling, MSE-Tontechnik’s Chief Sound Engineer. “Even though we chose not to deploy our EV XLD system on this occasion, we still had plenty of headroom. The sound performance was – as always – awesome.”