Croke Park Stadium completes Nexo installation
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
croke-parkWith capacity for 82,300 people, Croke Park is the third largest stadium in Europe
Ireland - Croke Park Stadium in Dublin has completed its programme of design and installation of a permanent PA/VA sound system, supplied by French manufacturer Nexo.
This sporting venue is the national stadium of Ireland and home to the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The 82,300 capacity stadium has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over 100 years and is the third largest in Europe behind Camp Nou in Barcelona and Wembley in London.
Less well-known is the fact that Croke Park is also the widest, its 88m-wide pitch (nearly twice the size of a football pitch) is designed to accommodate the Gaelic sports of Gaelic football, hurling and camogie.
Mongey Communications, full-service AV and communications provider from Kildare, has been involved with Croke Park for nearly 15 years. This year, the Mongey team finished its extensive upgrade of the audio facilities in the stadium, working closely with technology consultancy Vanguardia.
Intimately involved in the planning of the upgrade, Mongey Communications has been instrumental in guiding the GAA, the managing body for the stadium, to a world-class audio set-up, which not only benefits its regular audience of sports fans but also elevates its provision for concert sound. Like many other large-format venues all over the world, Croke Park has to balance the commercial imperative of hosting music and entertainment shows alongside its sports brief.
The GAA’s criteria for the audio upgrade focussed on qualitative improvements to the stadium facilities for voice alarm and evacuation (VA), and for announcement and music reinforcement for matchday entertainment (PA). “The audio system in the stadium was in the region of 20 years old. Technology moves very quickly and certainly we were very conscious that it was time for us to pay attention to the improvements made in technology, as regards playing music and speech intelligibility,” explains Brian Conlon, head of stadium operations & projects.
In addition to improving audio throughout the stadium, the brief required the new system to have the capability to supplement coverage for concert use. Visiting productions can now tie into the Croke Park house system to deliver the best possible results for the upper seating levels in the Hogan, Cusack and Davin stands.
The stadium roof canopy now carries 18 clusters of Nexo’s Geo S12-ST specialist long-throw loudspeakers, each curved cluster containing eight modules. Powered by Nexo’s proprietary NXAMP4x4 amplifiers and controlled over a Dante network, the new system addresses the three grandstands of Croke Park. The 18 identical clusters give uniform coverage across all seats, and significant improvements in SPL without infringing the very stringent noise regulations applied to the stadium’s events. The fourth side of the stadium, known as Hill 16, is maintained as traditional terraces and has a discrete audio system.
Croke Park’s amplification hubs had been upgraded earlier in the year, and 8km of electrical cabling was installed. London company RG Jones were tasked with rebuilding of all the Croke Park racks and doing all the cabling from the marshalling boxes back to the Nexo NXAMPs, together with the power distribution and cabling to route the controlling Dante network straight into the amplifiers. With the advantages of the Dante network, the stadium can now deploy pitch side mixing positions very easily, depending on the entertainment content.
Since the bulk of the new system was brought into service last summer, the Stadium has hosted a wide variety of events.
(Jim Evans)

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