Opened in 2021 at a cost of $21.7 million, the center is helping to alleviate a shortage in hockey facilities in the area for the city’s 68,000 residents. The Sports Center’s project team chose AtlasIED’s systems to provide audio entertainment and communications for the center’s nearly 5,000 weekly visitors.
Entertainment value is top-of-mind for any recreational facility, and for the Girardin Sports Center, music became a central ingredient to deliver a memorable experience. The 73,000-square-foot facility needed an audio system to cover key spaces including the ice rink, indoor soccer field which is overhung by a 250- meter running track, and the 16 rooms including conference rooms, offices, and locker rooms in the complex. One challenge was controlling different music playlists for different zones of the facility with a range of acoustical qualities. The Center chose AtlasIED’s Atmosphere™ Audio Processing and Control Platform and IPX loudspeakers and endpoints to control and distribute audio throughout the building.
The Center uses the Atmosphere AZM8 to serve as the heart of its system. An 8-zone audio processor, the AZM8 includes learning ambient noise sensing, a built-in message player, and allows up to 16 plug-and-play accessories that can be connected across 4 accessory ports.
To ensure high quality audio in the different zones within the facility, the team chose AtlasIED IPX Series displays with built-in loudspeakers, including the IP-DDS, which is an indoor, dual-sided display to show the time and scrolling messages, and IP-SDM indoor wall mount loudspeakers. All of these IPX Series endpoints are designed to live on an existing VoIP network and are Power over Ethernet (PoE+) capable, which allows each to be powered through the same Ethernet cable as the audio and metadata.
“The Girardin Center is a large facility and there are multiple smaller rooms. The IP-based products from AtlasIED were ideal for our installation as they helped us avoid having to run separate cables to each of the loudspeakers and displays for power and a completely different type of cable in the facility,” Daniel Bolduc, SONIMEC, Construction Project Manager.
The facility’s two largest areas, the indoor soccer field and the ice rink, each presented unique audio challenges, and Atmosphere is able to help them address the spaces independently. In the 250-seat hockey rink, the team needed to account for the reverb and proximity of people to the reflective ice surface. The team installed both AtlasIED FS12T-94 loudspeakers and larger FS12T-99 loudspeakers to deliver richer, fuller audio. “In this particular hockey rink, visitors are closer to the ice than normal and the ceiling is fairly low. That means the public is close to both the ice and the speakers. For fans and hockey players on the ice, we added some additional speakers to improve the coverage in the space to give more ambience in the space,” added Bolduc.
On the other hand, the indoor soccer field presented an opposite acoustic challenge. Home of the Drummondville Dragons of the Quebec Elite Soccer League, the artificial turf field and the rubber infill used to cushion the field absorbs the sound. For that reason, the facility needs to play the music at higher levels than the hockey arena. The project team installed multiple FS12T-94 speakers in the soccer field to create the coverage it needed for both players and fans alike.
The FS12T models are indoor/outdoor, two-way loudspeakers well suited for both voice and music. “The all-weather speakers are popular in arenas in Canada given the temperature changes and the potential for moist and humid environments from indoor rinks or playing surface,” said Noah Daoust, Vice President of SC Media, the exclusive distributor of AtlasIED in Canada.
The facility also allows the teams and players using the soccer field and hockey rink to play their own music via their mobile devices. Both areas installed the Atmosphere Remote Bluetooth™ Audio Input, which allows designated members of a team to connect and play their music over the audio system. The Atmosphere AZM8 automatically detects the Bluetooth™ device through the receiver and dynamically assigns appropriate audio settings, such as makeup gain, EQ, and auto gain control, to that input. “Using Atmosphere, we set the level so that it is adjusted to the maximum level on a user’s phones, but we pre-set it to be at a tolerable level on the field and rink.”
The facility installed Atmosphere C-ZSV wall controllers throughout the various rooms and areas to give users control of the entire Atmosphere system from the various rooms throughout the facility. Atmosphere provides Center managers and staff the ability to control the audio, select sources, limit the number of people accessing the system, adjust the volume for the different spaces, all from a wall controller, mobile device or a computer.
“The Atmosphere system gives us control capabilities to adjust the volume based on the noise level and activities in a particular space. And with the ability to access the Atmosphere from our phones, people can adjust the volume on their own, making it easy for us to manage and our visitors to use. Also, the ability to see the endpoints on the network and identify issues is incredibly helpful for us in the ongoing management of the audio system,” said Bolduc.
With the use of Atmosphere and IPX, the Center is now not only fully capable of providing music for entertainment but also audio and visual mass notifications when necessary. For instance, the staff can use the system to deliver daily schedule updates, lost and found announcements, or even provide audio and visual messaging to direct visitors and personnel during emergency scenarios.
As needs evolve, the Girardin Sports Center’s audio system can easily accommodate additional IPX endpoints to deliver both audio and visual communications to continue providing enjoyment while ensuring the safety of its visitors.