Allen & Heath SQ Mixers Deliver Crystal Clear Audio at the Qingyuan Olympic Sports Center

November saw the opening of the 16th Guangdong Provincial Games and the 9th Guangdong Provincial Games for Persons with Disabilities in Qingyuan and, with more than 20,000 athletes, coaches and related staff taking part, it was the largest Guangdong provincial games to date.

The visually stunning main venue for the games, the Qingyuan Olympic Sports Center, is designed in the shape of a soaring phoenix and consists of a 30,000-seater stadium, a gymnasium with 9,000 seats, a natatorium with 2,000 seats and an Olympic sports park capable of hosting large-scale competitions, concerts, and exhibitions.

Chinese AV solutions provider EZPro was handed the responsibility to supply the sound reinforcement system for the Sports Center with two criteria in mind: “Firstly, reliability is absolutely critical for the sound reinforcement system when hosting large-scale competitions,” explains ZHANG Yangyang, Senior Technical Manager of EZPro. “Additionally, due to the long reverberation time of the large venue space, the sound field design needs to be augmented with selective equipment to achieve the ideal sound pressure levels and, importantly, speech intelligibility.”

With these requirements in mind, EZPro decided to deploy Allen & Heath SQ mixers at the heart of the audio system. In the stadium, a pair of Allen & Heath SQ-7 mixers, with 32 onboard preamps and 6 layers of 33 faders, run as primary and backup systems to ensure no downtime in the audio output.

The SQ range of mixers is built on Allen & Heath’s proprietary XCVI FPGA mix engine which delivers 48 channels / 36 busses of 96kHz audio with a class-leading <0.7ms latency and phase coherent internal mix paths. All SQ mixers feature a 64-channel I/O port for audio networking and can be augmented with a range of DEEP processing add-ons for studio quality processing on every channel.

Both SQ-7 mixers were equipped with SQ Dante cards with the Primary and Secondary ports being used to supply a redundant audio link to the power amps and loudspeakers. Three Allen & Heath DT168 Dante audio expanders, each providing 16 XLR inputs and 8 XLR outputs, were also deployed for remote I/O over the Dante network.

The 9,000-seat gymnasium adopted the same dual SQ-7 configuration as the stadium while the natatorium was fitted with the smaller 25-fader SQ-6 mixer to manage the sound reinforcement system.

“The Allen & Heath SQ mixing systems ticked all the boxes for this prestigious event; compact form factor, Dante compatible, high-resolution audio, and easy to set up and operate,” concludes ZHANG Yangyang. “Additionally, the integrated channel and bus processing ensured that the speech and music were clear for the competitors, spectators, and event staff. Everyone was happy with the results.”