CAIRO—Audio Technology recently outfitted the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex with state-of-the-art HARMAN Professional audio solutions to provide high-quality sound reinforcement for the 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship.
An extension of Cairo International Stadium, the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex is a multi-use facility featuring four Olympic-standard indoor sports arenas. Over two weeks in January 2021, the venue hosted the 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship in its 16,900-capacity Main Hall and 1,620-seat Hall 2. Although functional and visually impressive, the venue wasn’t designed with acoustic performance in mind, possessing a long reverberation time which made providing intelligible sound reinforcement challenging. Additionally, the venue’s structural design limits the amount of weight that can be hung from the ceiling, creating the need for a lightweight yet high-quality audio solution. Adding yet another challenge, the International Handball Federation (IHF) enforces a maximum sound pressure level (SPL) limit, as well as a mandatory minimum standard of speech intelligibility.
To overcome the venue’s limitations and meet the IHF’s stringent audio standards, event organizers turned to Audio Technology, a Cairo-based full-service provider of professional audio equipment. Audio Technology designed and implemented a full HARMAN Professional audio solution across both halls featuring JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers, BSS signal processors and Soundcraft mixing consoles.
“When we started the project, we were concerned that the hall would need to be treated because of a high reverberation time,” said Mario Abadeer, Presales Pro Systems Head, Audio Technology. “We suggested some materials that would improve this, but when we installed the speakers, what they heard was so impressive, they decided they didn’t need any sound treatment after all.”
In the Main Hall, Audio Technology Installed JBL VTX V20 three-way line array speakers on a circular truss hanging from the center of the room. With dual 10-inch neodymium Differential Drive woofers in each 88-pound cabinet, the VTX V20 delivers low-frequency response down to 60 Hz, eliminating the need for heavy subwoofers. In Hall 2, Audio Technology hung four clusters of compact JBL VTX A8 line array speakers with VTX B18 subwoofers from a ceiling-mounted circular truss similar to the Main Hall. The combination of lightweight dual 8-inch loudspeakers and powerful 18-inch subwoofers provided the ideal balance of sound quality and power while staying within safe weight limits. Both the VTX V20 and VTX A8 feature advanced, proprietary waveguides for broad, consistent coverage throughout both halls.
“We had to remove the subwoofers, and for that we needed to use a larger Differential Drive in order to achieve the lower frequencies,” said Abadeer. “This was in the specs of the JBL VTX V20. It’s a very, very impressive speaker. And, when playing music through the VTX A8, the organizers could hear a complete frequency response. They were very pleased with the quality.”
In addition to the audience-facing VTX Series speakers, Audio Technology deployed four JBL AC2212/95 loudspeakers in each hall to provide sound coverage for the players and referees on the court. With their wide dispersion angle, the AC2212/95 speakers ensured players could clearly hear instructions from officials, as well as the bell marking the end of each half.
To power the sound systems in both halls, Audio Technology selected Crown I-Tech HD Series and DCi Network Series amplifiers, which feature onboard EQ and delay for crystal-clear sound quality, as well as remote monitoring tools for convenience and speaker protection. For precise control of sound reinforcement, Audio Technology provided Soundcraft Vi1 and Si Performer 3 mixing consoles, which feature a variety of flexible input and output options, powerful digital signal processing capabilities and color-coded FaderGlow technology for intuitive operation and visual feedback. BSS Soundweb London BLU Series networked signal processors provide flexible routing capabilities, allowing sound reinforcement personnel to easily configure and monitor the system.
“The Crown amplifiers already have the full presets for our speakers,” said Abadeer. “Through the software, you can see every circuit. You have everything, and you can manage it from one place. You don’t need to go through different software in order to check the status of the system or the status of the amplifiers.”
The audio systems deployed by Audio Technology at the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex met and surpassed the IHF’s standards, providing clear, intelligible sound at safe sound pressure levels without the need for any acoustic treatment in the Main Hall or Hall 2.
“Hosting the 2021 World Men's Handball Championship was an incredible privilege," said Samir Shawkey, Project Coordinator. “Going into the event, we wanted to ensure that spectators and players alike had the best possible experience. With the help of Audio Technology, we were able to install a JBL Professional speaker system that met the requirements of the International Handball Federation, as well as our own high standards. The quality and clarity is excellent. We're thrilled with the results.”