Issue 25

Home Advantage

Alive Technologies designs a powerful and unique PA for Tassie’s MyState Bank Arena.


23 August 2022

601 Brooker Hwy, Glenorchy TAS 7010

Story: John O’Brien

Tasmania’s largest indoor multipurpose venue has been a Hobart go-to destination for over 20 years. Originally built alongside the Derwent River in Glenorchy in 1989, Derwent Entertainment Centre was up for major renovations. Redevelopments were underway in 2021 as part of a private/public partnership, resulting in the new name of MyState Bank Arena.

Alive Technologies are preferred AV suppliers to this venue and were a natural fit to carry out AV and PA upgrades during this period. Project Manager for this job, Bob Gardam, describes the remodel as “very substantial. Most of the rooms were stripped. All the electrical work was redone, it was a huge job.”

Primarily a sporting venue (The Tassie Devils and now Tasmanian JackJumpers call it their NBL home), it can be configured to hold up to 8,600 for general admission gigs, hosting many luminaries over the years.


As well as lots of integration work in conference areas and venue wide public address, Alive Technologies was responsible for the main arena PA. This has to cover fully seated or general admission configurations yet stay clear of sight lines to the big LED screens when the court is in use. Another critical requirement is that all PA, lighting, and screens be struck when touring acts come through with their own production. Bob says this is “partly for free space but also due to weight capacities in the grid. Luckily our company is run by an engineer, so that helps a little!”

Precise coverage, high SPL (over 100dB A) and low visual impact were further key requirements. Like everywhere else, Covid logistical challenges came into play. Short timelines for delivery added complexity. “To arrive for the venue opening, the system components had to be ordered before the venue designs were completely finalised” elaborates Bob.

Onsite PA shootouts were impossible, so the Alive Technologies team used vendor supplied coverage mapping software to compare options. They also used their deep knowledge of products available in the market.


The system sounds clean and punchy across the entire venue for music, and the vocal intelligibility is outstanding


Line arrays were Alive’s preferred choice, but they looked seriously at several point source options. In the end, flexibility was the biggest driver. Bob found that, knowing they “weren’t 100% sure of the final locations of everything, using a line array gave more shuffle with movement so that we could tweak some angles in software if needed.” More telling is that “the other premium options ended up pricing themselves out. The d&b hung in there.”

The main PA consists of four main hangs with two d&b 18A-subs and six d&b 10AL-D line array cabinets each. Bob explains: “There is a sub on each one in a circle. Essentially 180 degrees plus a bit more than that.” Rear court-side seating banks are covered by two d&b 24S-D boxes. Bob continues “The design of the cabinets also allows for an impressive speaker to amplifier ratio, with the entire system (fills included) running on just four d&b 30D amplifiers.”

Another clever idea was to mount four independently-mixed d&b 8S loudspeakers to the bottom of the LED screen cube for on-court requirements. “It is designed so that you can separate out the court from the audience space where players can hear all the buzzers without the background music” explains Bob.


Everything has been installed with removal in mind. “We built the PA (as per feature) so that you can land it and roll away,” says Bob. And it all drops into custom made carts, to keep the de-rig/re-rig process smooth. “Being install boxes with smoother sides, there is nothing poking out – which makes landing it a lot less dangerous.”

Alive Technologies counts many staff as long-term fans of d&b hardware, and more so for its software, which is “definitely one of d&b’s strengths – it’s very powerful,” according to Bob.

He’s also really happy about his experience with NAS. “Few distributors have the design expertise and experience that the NAS team has, and even fewer have the willingness to give the time and attention to the small details of a project.”

As for the system itself? Bob could not be more pleased: “The system sounds clean and punchy across the entire venue for music, and the vocal intelligibility is outstanding.”

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