The Most Beautiful Sports Facility in the World (as judged by the Prix Versailles 2019 international architecture awards) is preparing to welcome back AFL fans to its 60,000-seat amphitheatre. Optus Stadium will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity for the Premiership clash between Geelong and Collingwood tonight, and the Western Derby between Fremantle and West Coast on Sunday. Among its impressive list of world-class achievements, Optus Stadium features Australia’s largest sound system- culminating in over 1000 permanently installed loudspeakers, with French loudspeaker manufacturer NEXO doing the heavy lifting.
Recognised as a world-leader in loudspeaker design and engineering, NEXO and their ‘GEO’ line-array technology had been impressing crowds since the stadium’s audio upgrade (finalised in 2018) until the stadium was shut down as part of WA’s coronavirus recovery plan.
The soon-to-be reactivated PA consists of 18 NEXO arrays suspended from the edges of the 45-metre high stadium roof. Each array combines 12 Geo S12 units together with three LS18 18-inch sub bass cabinets. An additional 200 NEXO ID24 cabinets provide coverage in the spaces obscured from the full Geo S12 range, ensuring a rich sound quality is maintained across the entire outdoor seating area. No other loudspeaker system in the world could deliver the performance to weight ratio of NEXO, making the solution sonically exceptional with a modest, aesthetically pleasing footprint.
The team behind Optus Stadium worked with construction consortium Multiplex, and AV integrator Rutledge AV, to ensure the venue would deliver a sonic experience befitting one of the world’s top sports and entertainment centres. To help Optus Stadium achieve set standards for SPL, speech intelligibility and sonic quality, Rutledge AV used NEXO’s NS-1 simulation software before installing the system, to determine the optimum position for each cabinet. This ensured even coverage whilst maintaining a high level of fidelity across the grounds.
Closed to the public since late February, Optus Stadium’s re-opening may herald a return of normalcy in the world of live production and employment across WA. More than 1400 venue staff are set to return to work across the two games, as the stadium opens its doors tonight to crowds of more than 30,000.