The O2 Arena in London has upgraded its Public Address and Voice Alarm system to a Bose ShowMatch line array solution within the main performance bowl area. The review and upgrade was designed and developed after a life-cycle analysis was undertaken of the PAVA system by venue operator AEG.
SSE audio, as the system provider and maintainer of the PAVA systems on site, was asked to provide a future proof system that will not only meet the strict PAVA system criteria but deliver excellent audio quality throughout the venue. The new system allows for further expansion and new operational features that will enhance the visitors experience at The O2.
The O2 arena first opened in 2007 and has become the world’s number one music and entertainment venue; it recently celebrated its 10th birthday with a host of world class performers including Ed Sheeran, alt-j and Celine Dion.
SSE Audio Group’s Technical Specialist Eddie Thomas has been involved with The O2 since 1998 and was commissioned to design the replacement PAVA system. Eddie opted for a QSC Q-Sys digital audio platform and network with Bose ShowMatch line arrays powered by Crown amplification within the main performance bowl area. The BOH areas are served from multiple equipment racks containing Q-Sys and Crown amplification.The audio installation has to cater for the multiple applications the venue is used for, both with a stage at one end and also in the round. From a central circular truss, eight Bose loudspeaker clusters each comprising eight ShowMatch cabinets have been installed providing audio coverage across the main audience area.
For Sub Bass the ShowMatch range utilises the Bose RMS218 Subwoofer, which features two eighteen inch drivers. SSE’s system design placed a total of 24 RMS218 cabinets in 6 vertical roof mounted hangs powered by Bose PM8500 amplifiers with LF control steering in the DSP.
An additional four Bose ShowMatch production delays clusters have been added to provide coverage to upper levels of seating at The O2, with each cluster comprising 8 Bose ShowMatch cabinets.
Scheduling a major audio install in the world’s busiest music venue is no simple task. SSE developed a phased upgrade to the process: audio network and amplification first in August 2017, with the central cluster completed later that year. The production delays were added in March 2018 with the Sub Bass upgrade completed in May 2018. The VIP areas are the next phase of the project, followed by all the concourse areas in 2019. It is expected that the venue will have Bose speakers installed throughout by 2020.
Lee Lacey, The O2 Facility Director said: “We have worked closely with SSE Audio since the venue opened and their knowledge of the system and the venue’s operational requirements are crucial to us as a business. When we were looking into the life cycle of the systems with the possibility of also upgrading the platform, SSE Audio presented us with a variety of possibilities to consider. We were convinced by SSE Audio that the Bose product would provide us with not only meeting the venue’s statutory requirement for a PAVA system but also deliver an improved sound performance. On hearing the system for the first time we have been incredibly impressed with the performance of the system and therefore very pleased with our decision to go with Bose.”