Issue 27

MCG PA Install Special: Feeding the Bowl


16 April 2020

Once through the turnstiles you’re part of the game day experience and the focus of all the fan-facing technology is about engagement and entertainment. Leading the charge is the prodigious d&b bowl PA.

The line source bowl PA comprises 72 hangs. Each hang comprises various combinations of V- and Y-Series elements, and V Subs. Each loudspeaker element is addressed by a d&b amplifier. 

Audio priority number one was even coverage — every seat in the house needed to be the best seat in the house. The d&b range is engineered to assist system designers in this regard.

d&b V-Series takes care of the long throw of the arrays and Y-Series the shorter throw requirements for the upper bowl.

“Electronically, the gain difference between the two is minimal because the V Series is a more efficient loudspeaker,” explains Auditoria’s {} Scott Willsallen. “So we use the more efficient box for the longer throw. The same philosophy applies to the under balcony systems, where we run d&b E8s and the xS-Series 5S loudspeakers and subs. The whole system balances. Select the right product in terms of sensitivity and coverage, and the system as a whole isn’t choked by one poorly chosen product.”

This is an important factor when designing a huge PA ecosystem. If all the loudspeaker components of the stadium system are correctly selected, positioned and commissioned then no single enclosure or amplifier will red line before another. Turning up the MCG PA is a like pushing the stick on an A380 rather than co-ordinating a flying sculpture of 3500 drones.


With an official capacity of 100,024, the Melbourne Cricket Ground stands at number 10 on the global list of stadium heavyweights. Both the Northern and Southern MCG stands have vast under balcony areas, shadowed from the main PA. Previously, the under balcony areas were under-serviced, while the new design would ensure the 10s of thousands of under-balcony fans would enjoy uncompromised sound.

“You shouldn’t be disadvantaged if you’re two rows further forward as opposed to two rows behind,” said to Scott Willsallen. “A lot of effort went into delivering the same kind of energy — sound pressure level, bandwidth and excitement — in those under-balcony areas.”

Each of the 58 under-balcony bays packs a hefty PA punch: a cardioid sub, four d&b E8 eight-inch two-ways and four d&b 5S five-inch two-way loudspeakers. As you walk from the field of play and as soon as you can’t see a V Series array speaker you’re on axis of the primary coverage of the d&b xS-Series 5S coaxial loudspeakers. Move a little further up the bowl and you will covered by a pair of E8s and a cardioid sub. Another four or five rows back and the last row of E8s takes over, which continue to provide coverage up into the standing room areas.

Great Southern Stand (15 arrays themselves comprising): 2 arrays of 6× d&b Y-Series array elements 8 arrays of 8× d&b V-Series array elements 13 arrays of 8× d&b Y-Series array elements 15 arrays of 3× d&b V-Series subs

Northern Stand (15 arrays themselves comprising): 2 arrays of 6× d&b Y-Series array elements7 arrays of 8× d&b V-Series array elements 12 arrays of 10× d&b Y-Series array elements 13 arrays of 3× d&b V-Series subs

The V arrays cover the lower levels of the bowl and the Y arrays cover the upper levels of the bowl. Generally, there is a Y array every two bays and a V array every fourth bay. This makes the V and Y arrays coincide in a long line. There is a sub array paired to (almost) every line array.


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Issue 27