When the Indy Racing League (IRL) scheduled a circuit race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham AL for the first time in April of 2010, audio was the last subject on the to-do list. After the race was completed, it was very clear that audio would now become mission number 1 before securing the next race date in 2011. Broadcast audio and integration was problematic and the complaints on the public address system’s quality and volume were to be addressed immediately. It was decided to renovate the audio system entirely.
The challenge at hand was to get audio from the track’s paddock to the far reaches of the track’s seating areas. The original installation utilized fiber transmitters and receivers that cost nearly $2,000 each end. Some of these were in place and being used for track communications. It was decided that there had to be a less expensive way.
A number of solutions were presented; Fiber Transmission, CAT5 Networking, Copper Cable Runs, and Wireless Audio Transmission were all considered. When the cost totals were submitted to the track’s management, it was abundantly clear that wireless audio transmission from Listen Technologies would be the economical way to go. The question was asked about audio quality. “No FM audio can sound as good as a copper or fiber run” and “That’s too far to send wireless audio and it still perform” were some of the challenges.
Lee Brock, an audio engineer for Music Alley in Birmingham AL suggested we demonstrate Listen’s product to prove the audio quality and transmission can be up to par with the rest of the new audio system. The demo was very easy and quickly put minds to rest on the audio quality.
The system containing Rane’s RPM88 for signal processing and switching simply fed Listen transmitters for sending audio to the remote zones located around the track. In each zone, a receiver and amplifier were installed to feed the 70 volt runs totaling over 120 speakers along the crash fence and covering the various seating areas.
The Listen solution came in at a fraction of the cost for other networked audio systems that were proposed and the track happily boasts about it’s new addition to the technology of this unique race track.