Following two decades of audio installations at sports and
entertainment venues, a recent period of innovation has
led one manufacturer to new technological discoveries
Innovate and listen
While there are installations at Allianz Park in the UK
and the Steel Arena in Slovakia, it is the recent flurry
of projects in Russia that best demonstrates that
Funktion-One is a leading innovator when it comes
to sound reinforcement for sports venues.
In 2013, the company released the MST10 – a large
format horn which allows sound to be focused where
it’s needed without exciting the reverberant space,
leading to clear message transmission and intelligible
sound. Subsequently, MST10s were deployed by
Edelweiss Audio at Bolshoy Ice Dome and at the
Sliding Center Sanki – both major venues of the 2014
Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Next came Krasnodar Stadium and a specially
developed Funktion-One Evo system. In the years since
K loudspeaker manufacturer Funktion-
One showcased its first loudspeakers to
the world at the Millennium Dome New
Year’s Eve celebrations. Following this, its
product innovations were soon being
featured in sporting environments.
In 2002, a Funktion-One system was installed at
English soccer club Ipswich Town’s Portman Road.
A total of 54 AX88 loudspeakers were deployed in pairs
to cover the stadium’s four stands. At the time, the
driving force behind such a high-quality installation
was the need to provide high-level music, as well as
conventional paging, emergency messaging and
background music. This is how the market would
develop in the ensuing years – albeit, at a slower pace
than one may have predicted at the turn of the century.
In sporting environments, where fluctuating, high
peak crowd noise demands high SPL and good speech
intelligibility, it can prove challenging. To solve this
issue, Funktion-One pioneered the development of
paper cone transducers. This distinguishing feature
provides the reproduction of mid and upper mid-range
frequencies as opposed to conforming to the
widespread use of compression drivers with a
characteristic ‘screechy’ and confused sound.
“We are very keen to provide audiences with a great
audio experience at sporting events, where sound
should be loud and exciting but also comfortable to
listen to. Announcements and commentary should be
clear and intelligible without being painful,” explains
Funktion-One co-founder, John Newsham.
Meanwhile, fellow co-founder Tony Andrews also
explains why the sports stadium market is important.
“We believe that our waveguide and cone midrange
technology is capable of positively transforming the
stadium audience experience with its huge
improvements in intelligibility and coherency.”
116 www.stadia-magazine.com Showcase 2020