MCG PA Install Special: 3000sqm of Sound Absorption — AV.technology
MCG’s $25m audio upgrade allowed to shine thanks to 3000sqm of Megasorber sound absorption.
Stadia are almost by definition, acoustically hostile. They are huge concrete edifices with an endless array of reflective surfaces only ameliorated somewhat by the soft, squidgy human occupants come game day. Stick a roof on and things only get worse.
Any attempt to soften the acoustics of a stadium feels futile. Acoustic treatment might be routinely applied to other performance venues where you pump sound reinforcement, but a stadium is seen as a lost cause.
Not so the MCG, which installed an extraordinary amount of sound absorbing acoustic material — 3000sqm, in fact — in its recent $25m audio upgrade.
There are two main areas benefitting from the Megasorber acoustic treatment: in the under balcony seating which is now covered by so much more PA; and the vast atrium areas at the top of the Northern Stand, home to bars, concession stands and other cacophonous public areas.
“I don’t think we’ve ever previously been given the chance to specify acoustic panelling in a stadium,” notes Auditoria senior AV consultant, Luis Miranda. “The reason for that is the cost, as well as durability concerns in the weather, and the panels’ ability to absorb broadband noise.”
Luis had experience working with the Australian-made Megasorber product in industrial applications where it proved to be hard wearing. The fact that Megasorber produces a 100mm-thick panel was also a big drawcard: “It’s twice as thick as most other panels and means we get a fuller-frequency attenuation,” notes Luis Miranda.
The Rutledge AV team installed the acoustic panels by gluing it to the ceiling of the atria and around the under balcony areas. The results have been remarkable, taming the reverb time of the atria from 3.5s down to 2.5s. The Megasorber panels have also helped to restrict the extra energy going into the under-balcony areas from leaking back out, maintaining a higher intelligibility for those in the coverage of the main arrays.
“The difference is quite amazing,” observes Rutledge AV’s Project Manager Daniel Woodward. “If you walk between Level 1 of the Northern Stand and Level 1 of Southern Stand [without the acoustic treatment], you can instantly hear the difference. The background noise is so much more controlled in the North. It’s made a huge difference.”