Ice Ice Baby — AV.technology
Large auditoria, reflective surfaces, inclement indoor weather... welcome to the perils of PA in an ice rink.
Cockburn Ice Arena is Perth’s largest ice-skating facility. It has two ice skating rinks – Rink 1 is generally for public use, and Rink 2 primarily for state ice hockey games. Figure skating, curling and other ice activities are offered here. The venue also hosts a bar & grill, café, skate shop and dance studio.
When the venue opened seven years ago, Perth’s Mega Music installed the original PA – a single central cluster in each room. Selected again to upgrade this during a recent overhaul, Project Manager Craig Tucker explained that, after much hinting, the owners “eventually got the idea they needed speakers along the grandstands,” – a much better sonic option for the rooms.
Unable to perform any acoustic treatment to the walls, ceilings, or ice floors, they agreed on a linear run of boxes to overcome the high ambient noise floor. Music playback is the main content, but public announcements need to cut through and be heard clearly.
The Mega Music team worked with the venue operators who “even went (so far as to) to bring in a dehumidifier, because it’s needed for all the rinks.” Why, might you ask? “Because all of the electrical stuff gets wet” understates Craig. Not just a bit soppy either. As they’ve found in the past, “we’ve helped repair speakers in other similar venues, and often we’d find the cabinets full of water!”
Now, that is patently unhelpful for either sound or safety. We all know that water and electricity don’t mix well and preventing that from occurring became a major focus for this job. Of no less importance was enhancing the audio volume and quality. Finding components to satisfy both key criteria became the real test.
Each rink was assigned 6 x inDESIGN iD-MH1512 WH speakers, their colour matched livery discretely blending into the ceiling grid. Pushing out an impressive 123dB continuous and 129dB peak, the cabinets cut through the background hum of such live rooms. But the real kicker was the IP56 rated design. Craig expands: “To be honest, the prime reason that I went with these speakers is them being water resistant and IP rated. It’s the fact they can stand humidity.” He is also impressed by the brackets that they ship with “which are excellent for mounting.”
These are powered by interM DPA 900S amps, all running 100V. Craig is really happy with this power amp – “we just needed one amp to run all the speakers per room.” Control is set with simple presets for venue staff to trigger as they need. Special events get a little more volume.
Budget is always a concern on all jobs, and this was no different. Prior to finalising the design, Craig did his research on options. “Initially, we looked at the eight-inch (iD-MH158) but we just thought a bit more bass response, just from the music point of view, would justify the bigger speaker.” And he’s glad they did, finding them “perfect for the job.”
So perfect that he is pitching to add more IP rated inDESIGN boxes outside near the entry, to “get some atmosphere as people are arriving.”