Investors Group Field Opens Loud, Combining Acoustical Design and Big PA System

Newly opened Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is bringing some interesting audio and acoustical propositions to central Canada. The 33,422-seat stadium, which opened on May 26 on the University of Manitoba campus, is home to the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and University of Manitoba Bisons football team, and will host games for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. But it’s also an interesting fusion of architectural and acoustical design and audio technology.

Of the 33,422 seats, 22,000 are located below ground, with an open concourse encircling the stadium that will provide a view to the field from every part of the stadium. The bowl will be covered by a large opaque metal roof, cantilevered over the seating areas to provide weather protection for up to 80% of the seating. It also is designed with an undulating profile that will act as a noise baffle, capturing and redirecting sound throughout the stadium. That, in part, is to continue the legacy of Canad Inns Stadium, the venue that Investors Group Field replaced, which was known for its very high noise levels.

Undulating roof acts as noise baffle on Investors Group Field, in Winnipeg, MB.

Undulating roof acts as noise baffle on new Investors Group Field, in Winnipeg, MB.

The new facility has a sound system that can help keep that sonic legacy alive. A JBL PD Series system, specified and installed by local systems contractor Advance Pro, comprises a total of 46 JBL PD743 and PD764 coaxial mid/high-frequency loudspeakers and 32 PD7145 subwoofers in the main loudspeaker clusters. The loudspeakers and subs are suspended from the cantilevered roof sections in clusters of four or six at regular intervals around the stadium. Chosen for their wide dispersion characteristics, every PD Series loudspeaker enclosure is treated with JBL’s WRX extreme weather protection.

For the venue’s interior distributed-audio system, more than 1,200 additional JBL Control Series loudspeakers are located throughout the stadium. Eighty Control 25AV and 52 Control 29AV loudspeakers provide fill sound for the upper and lower suite levels, respectively. Six hundred thirty-five Control 25T and eight Control 29AV indoor/outdoor models and 573 Control 26CT in-ceiling speakers are placed the concourses and back of house.

BSS Audio provides signal processing for the system. The Investors Group Field system includes two Soundweb London BLU-800 processors, eight BLU-320 input/output expanders, four BLU-BIB input expanders, and four BLUCARD-IN and 44 BLUCARD-OUT input and output cards. The BSS Audio components, JBL loudspeakers, and the Crown amplifiers used in the system are networked using Harman’s System Architect configuration, control, and monitoring software. Fifty-eight Crown CTs Series 2000LITE amplifiers, 32 Crown MAi9000 amplifiers, and three CTs 4200USPCN amps are installed in the system.

Like many new sports facilities, Investors Group Field was designed with live music performances in mind, and notes flew before any footballs did: Taylor Swift played the first concert at the new stadium on June 22; Paul McCartney is next up, slated to perform there on August 12. But sports will always be first on the long-term agenda: the CFL has stated that, with the new stadium, Winnipeg will be guaranteed to host a CFL Grey Cup at some point in the future.