Derby County FC claims to have the loudest and best sounding stadium in the U.K. in Pride Park, and that’s really saying something. The home of the Rams recently worked with RH Consulting to upgrade its audio installing redundant Q-SYS Core 1100 processors, along with QSC CXD 4.3Q amplifiers and QSC Q-SYS I/O Frame processors.
According to a QSC press release, the venue now boasts a sound system that would normally be associated with a rock concert venue versus that of a football match. However, the process of upgrading the audio in a 30,000-plus seat stadium was of high importance.
“The system at Derby County had been in place for around 11 years,” says Roland Hemming, principal consultant at RH Consulting, “but under the new ownership of Mel Morris, upgrading the audio system was one of a number of projects that he was very keen to invest in.
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“Ultimately, Mel’s brief was that he wanted the best sounding stadium around – a high quality audio experience. Richard Northwood was the lead on the project, he designed it and worked very closely with d&b on the electro-acoustic design. RH Consulting is an approved Q-SYS programmer, so we knew what we were doing.”
More about the Derby County FC Project from the QSC press release:
Along with replacing the bowl loudspeaker system and the electronics in the back-of-the-house areas, the team at RH Consulting also installed new amplifiers driven by Q-SYS, with the system using a combination of QSC amplifiers for the back-of-the-house and d&b loudspeakers in the bowl. All of the Q-SYS equipment was supplied by Shure Distribution UK.
Unusually, Derby County FC has its own contractors who worked with RH Consulting on the installation which – along with careful procurement – helped keep the costs below what one would normally associate with a high-end QSC/d&b stadium project. However, including Q-SYS Core 1100 processors was always part of the plan, as Hemming explains:
“We chose the Q-SYS Platform because we know that this system will grow. Derby County FC has plans for other parts of the site, and we can continue to build on those Core 1100 processors as we’re not using all of their capabilities by any stretch at the moment. They were put in as the foundation stone for many years of change and development to come.
Along with the QSC Q-SYS Core processors there are also several small Q-SYS touch screens situated around the stadium for control and paging, with full monitoring, as Q-SYS is a fully networked solution. In the event of an emergency, regulations stipulate that everything must be working correctly, and the touch screens fulfill that part of the brief. There are also other advantages to working with QSC on a stadium sound project.
“We like working with QSC because projects like Derby County need custom scripting,” explains Hemming.
“We need to communicate with third-party equipment, with full monitoring and control of the d&b amplifiers which are up in the roof in air conditioned cabinets as well as talking to the network switches site wide because we have to monitor those as well,
“That’s why QSC Q-SYS Core is so good, because if you want to control something, you can write a plugin for it. We know Q-SYS, we know what it does and we know how to use it. We knew from the outset that it was going to be more than capable of doing the job. We have a great relationship with Shure Distribution UK and QSC, which has led to successful integration of Q-SYS.”
So, does the stadium now live up to the claim of being the loudest in the UK?
“The local paper said it was the loudest and it may be, but it’s certainly the best sounding,” concludes Hemming. “For a 30,000-seat stadium, the performance is incredible.”