Qatar University Sport and Events Complex (QUSEC) is the biggest venue of its kind in the Middle East. Not only has its cutting-edge audio technology won awards* for its systems integrator and installer Techno Q, the QUSEC venue is also the largest fixed installation ever supplied by NEXO with its sound reinforcement products, and a stellar example of technical synergy between Yamaha’s Active Field Control (AFC) system and NEXO loudspeaker technology, using more than 320 NEXO loudspeakers, from 8 different product families.
The QUSEC facility is located on Qatar University’s campus in Doha, two multi-functional venues which serve the sports curriculum activities and are also super-adaptable for presentation ceremonies, major competitions and other events, functions and exhibitions.
The extensive Multipurpose Hall hosts ceremonial and staged events for an audience of 5000; sporting events for 3,200; and banquets for 900 – all by means of retractable seating, lighting, rigging, ceiling, suspended curtains, and a 30m x 9m portable staging. Including the adjacent 36m x 67m Training Hall, the QUSEC complex can accommodate more than 30 fixed and portable sport courts for Volleyball, Basketball, Indoor Tennis, Futsal, Badminton, Squash and Handball.
A Yamaha/NEXO audio system design, combining Yamaha’s AFC spatial processing with multiple NEXO loudspeaker sources, has been implemented in both the Multipurpose Hall and the Training Hall, switchable between big sporting competitions or intimate staged events.
Techno Q’s Senior Project Manager Mohanad Is-Hak was responsible for delivering a scalable versatile audio system that could keep up with the building’s physical flexibility.
“All sound system modules and I/O devices are integrated into a networked system to minimize the complexities of routing and maximize flexibility. A Dante-enable audio mixer in the Control Room allows the user to locate and operate any location in the hall, according to the event, and connect to the tie lines distributed throughout the building.
“The multitude of spaces each have their own options for audio ambience, and Techno Q worked closely with Yamaha to implement the largest AFC system of its kind in the world, which facilitates natural reverb time for every audience seat, and delivers an exciting crowd experience.”
For the primary FOH system, used for prestigious ceremonies and banquets, Techno Q has chosen NEXO’s STM Series modular line array. The powerful dual 8” STM M28s are flown in L/R positions, seven modules with 2x S118 subbass cabinets in each line. The ability to lower/retract the 9-element large pairs of line arrays greatly enhances various ambiences. The clusters can be lifted up and down to match various seating plans, or lifted into a ‘parking position’ above the ceiling grid when they are not needed.
There is a Sport Competition mode, which uses a separate Arena FOH sound system, a central cluster of NEXO GEO S1210-ST long-throw line array modules, located at high level above the field of play, with sound coverage aimed at the main seating areas in retractable stands. Two arrays, each with 6 cabinets, are located in this position, using NEXO’s specially-developed Stadium Sound versions of the GEO S12 module. A dedicated system is provided to cover the Balcony areas, using 29 modules of NEXO’s compact GEO M6 line array.
Yamaha Active Field Control is implemented throughout the Main Hall, using more than sixty high-power NEXO 10” and 15” PS Series cabinets in the side walls of the venue, and the back wall behind the main audience seating, for a variety of modes. It can be used as the Exhibition PA, or when there is an event with a large seated audience, e.g. a sports competition, combined with the distributed NEXO RS15 subwoofer system to simulate reverberant low-frequency energy and create additional excitement by emphasising crowd noise.
This aspect of the Main Hall’s audio system is truly luxurious, as there is a dedicated AFC Supporter Enhancement System, using six flown arrays of 4x NEXO GEO M10 line array cabinets, combined with high-power 15” point source cabinets on the floor, to provide a fully immersive audience experience for live sport.
For example, in a tennis match, the sound of the ball hitting the racquet is clearly localised, captured by microphones and reproduced by the loudspeaker matrix. Flown clusters and floor speakers provide early reflections, ceiling speakers provide general loudness, and sound locations clearly pan from side to side through the flown and floor speakers on each sides of the court.
The 36m x 67m training hall can be presented in several different modes, catering for sport, ceremonies and theatre, or a seated banquet for 600. To facilitate this, there are two separate front-of-house systems which can also be used together, and a Yamaha AFC system of ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted NEXO loudspeakers.
When the room is being used in its ‘long room’ layouts, the main FOH PA uses a NEXO STM Series line array, with L/R clusters each with 8 modules of STM M28, and 2x S118 subs, plus 6x PS15-R2 front-fill monitors. A second line array system, using NEXO’s GEO S1210 cabinets, is designated as the ‘wide room FOH’, used for banquets, assemblies and presentations, providing high intelligibility sound coverage to go with the large LED scoreboard.
The AFC ceiling-based system creates a general diffused energy field throughout the venue, using 60x NEXO PS15-R2 loudspeaker sources mounted in the ceiling to provide even coverage across the entire floor. Primarily deployed as a direct coverage PA when the hall is hosting an exhibition, the system also works for general public address and as a background music system. A further 30 units of PS15-R2 are mounted inside the side and end walls, spaced 8 metres apart, adding important sound information to the ‘dry room’. Such a high density of wall speakers prepares the AFC system for possible uses of the room in concert mode.
In Sports Mode, the system really steps up a gear, with the use of Field of Play microphones. All speakers are activated and receiving varying gain and delay according to source proximity, signal is processed to create additional reflected energy through wall and ceiling speakers. General reverb provides both extra loudness and spaciousness to the entire room to enhance the ‘live atmosphere’. Additional dedicated supporter microphones amplify crowd energy to maximise the experience and stimulate the players.
All systems were supplied through Yamaha Gulf, and NEXO’s Engineering Support Division was heavily involved in the design stages and tuning/commissioning services. For Techno Q, winning the AVIXA award for the project was well-earned, recognising how, by working with Yamaha and NEXO, the company created a remarkably adaptable space at QUSEC for a wide range of activities.
* Best Flexible Space Experience at the 2020 AVIXA AV Experience Awards