RCF re-energises Paul Brown Stadium
Wednesday, 27 January 2021
paul-brownCincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium
USA - For the last 20 years, the Cincinnati Bengals have been taking on NFL rivals at Paul Brown Stadium. This 65,515-seat gridiron arena has always placed a premium on the strength and quality of its audio systems. Equally known as the site of performances by artists ranging from Kenny Chesney to Guns N’ Roses, PBS, as locals call it, subscribes to the notion that sound traveling throughout its concourses and seating areas should live up to concert-level expectations at all levels, whether it be on game day or for special events.
To that end, a three-phase project to re-energise the stadium’s original, 20 year-old audio blueprint was just completed this autumn, debuting on 4 October before a reduced crowd that watched as the Bengals beat the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. Designed and implemented by Nashville, Tennessee-based Durrell Sports Audio Management, the new system is an amalgam of workhorse legacy components, upgraded audio processing, and custom loudspeakers built in Italy expressly to meet the needs of this customised application by RCF.
“Paul Brown Stadium is unlike any other around the country when it comes to audio,” Durrell’s John Horrell explains. “Every aspect of its game-day production from simple announcements to music is as live as you can get. There is nothing here that even vaguely resembles a pre-recorded TV show. That’s why when we were chosen to upgrade the audio we felt it was essential to create a system that was capable of true, concert-level high performance.”
The upgrade project was implemented in three phases, with the first kicking-off in 2018 and bringing, among other things, new delay loudspeakers from RCF to the upper deck and canopy level. Phase two added approximately 120 new RCF loudspeakers to the lower level and 70 more to the canopy level in 2019, along with eight dual 21-inch RCF subwoofers on each side of the canopy level.
Phase three of the project was approved in January 2020, so by February the job was underway, with Durrell working hand-in-hand with Louisville, Kentucky’s United Electric to turn the new vision into reality. As the pandemic tightened its grip globally on labour and material beginning in March, the design and install team steadfastly kept to construction deadlines with help from suppliers and manufacturers including RCF.
Critical to the audio heard within this space as well as sound travelling throughout the entire bowl, custom-built, hand-assembled loudspeakers from RCF figured prominently within the phase three additions. Wide horizontal coverage cabinets designated as model HVL 15-L1 and narrow coverage speakers bearing the model number HVL 15-P1 were provided by the Italian manufacturer as one-off custom units built to Durrell’s specs just for PBS.
In between these custom long-throw boxes, standard offerings from the RCF catalog including model P 4228, P 3115T, and P 6215 cabinets were interspersed as down-fill in large number.
Out in the bowl and throughout the concourse levels, Scott Simpson, executive producer of JungleVision Productions, relates that the renewed audio system’s RCF loudspeakers differ from their predecessors in terms of balance and overall coverage. “The expanded coverage in the facility is outstanding, it’s a whole new experience for our fans.”
Led by CEO Arturo Vicari, the RCF team working in Italy was dedicated to getting the enclosures designed, built, and delivered to Paul Brown Stadium on time. “All of us here and in Italy felt this project was vital as a boost to everyone’s morale,” says RCF USA national sales manager Tarik Solangi. “With added precautions made to keep everyone safe on the job, the factory churned out the work and kept our delivery promises. Beyond the virus, our biggest challenge was fitting our products into the exacting requirements dictated by the stadium.”

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