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Football Stadium Sound System Design | How to Control the Friday Night Roar

by Erik Geiger on August 18, 2010

image of high school football stadium sound system designIt’s 7pm on Friday night in the middle of September. You’re sitting down with your significant other to a nice refreshing beverage on your back porch. All is calm. It’s a beautiful evening. Suddenly a not-so-distant voice floats through your backyard let you know that #58 has just tackled #23 on the 35 yard line. You are, once again, thankful that your peaceful and idyllic life has been interrupted by the sound system from the local High School football game. No…you wish there was some way to contain that sound to the stadium where it’s supposed to be (NOT in my backyard)!

Is there an easy way to make the sound from a high school football stadium sound system stay where you want it and not go to the neighbors? Yes, there is. But the key to steering the sound to the spectators lies in careful planning and integration of the system. It’s not uncommon for a football stadium to install a couple of big speakers on top of the press box because it is economical and (if properly focused) effective at putting sound over a lot of seats. But far too often the speakers have a flat trajectory which allows the sound to “escape” from the stadium. Atmospheric conditions can further allow the sound to travel to unintended places.

So what’s the solution? Wherever a long-throw speaker device has to be used, it should be pointed away from any potential area where neighbors can be disturbed. In general, speakers should be mounted in locations and areas where they can be installed with a significant down angle. Big speakers with large horns will be able to control more sound and focus it toward the intended listening area. This helps to keep sound where it is supposed to be. At times, the system will be more expensive to install in a way that is less intrusive, so proper budgeting and research on site conditions is crucial to make sure sufficient funding is available. Finally, make sure everyone involved in the design process is aware of how much sound is predicted to impact adjacent properties.

Proper planning and coordination for sound systems in high school sports stadiums can help to provide not only a great sound system for the event participants and spectators, but also a great experience for the school’s neighbors.

Acoustics By Design works with schools to design high school sound systems for football stadiums, baseball fields, softball fields, and soccer stadiums, gymnasiums, and auditoriums. We can help your team work through the issues and understand how to be a good neighbor in the community while providing a great sound system for the fans.

Erik Geiger

Erik Geiger

Erik Geiger, CTS-D, has designed and consulted on audio, video, and technical systems for over 20 years. He has served as an Audiovisual discipline leader and project manager, and carries a wealth of technical system consulting and design experience. Erik brings the heart of a teacher to every project, helping clients and end-users to understand a rapidly changing environment.

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