The Kennel Club’s Crufts Dog Show is the world’s largest canine competition. Over its three-day run, the event drew roughly 160,000 people and nearly 22,000 dogs to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) complex in Birmingham. For the main competitions in NEC’s Genting Arena, it was critical that the sound system deliver both clarity and fidelity without adding any visual distraction.
ARB Events was the primary AV provider, with project manager Steve Boote working with sound system designer Neal Allen of Safe Hands Audio on the audio for the arena. They chose the EV X2 line-array system as the most suitable system for the job.
“This was my fourth year working with ARB Events on the system design for Crufts, and it was the best yet,” says Neal Allen. “They want perfect clarity for all the speech, but there are also music-based competitions, so the system needs to be punchy with great fidelity as well, to get the right effect on the audience without scaring the dogs. We began using the Electro-Voice X2 system last year, and got great results. This year, we added the 120° version of the X2-212 line array to help extend the coverage, and the results were outstanding.”
The PA system consisted of six identical X2-212 line arrays, each with three 90° dispersion speaker elements above three 120° versions. Arranged in pairs, each set of arrays covered one of the three seated sides of the arena. Low frequencies were handled by a block of four Electro-Voice QRx 218 subwoofers located beneath the main stands. Electro-Voice Xw15A monitor wedges were employed as fill speakers, with one pair providing dedicated audio for the VIP seating area and two more covering the hard-to-reach corners of the grandstand.
All speakers were powered by 16 Electro-Voice TG-7 amplifiers equipped with RCM-28 network and DSP modules, with two of the amp racks located up on the arena catwalk, and the third beneath the stands. The RCM-28 modules enable Omneo IP technology over standard Ethernet, allowing uncompressed low-latency Dante audio streaming in a digital network, controlled and supervised via Iris-Net software. With Iris-Net, each audio device on the network could be monitored and controlled from a single computer running Dante Controller software.
The Electro-Voice X-Line Advance system also excelled in terms of system handling and setup speed. The event prior to Crufts in Genting Arena was Cirque du Soleil, which stayed an extra day. That meant a full day less of set up time for Crufts.
“Fortunately, the X2 hanging hardware and networking allows us to set up the entire system in an hour and a half with a crew of only four. Two people hang the arrays, two people put up the amp racks, and we are up and running,“ reports Neal Allen. “That put everything back on track, which of course made everyone happy. So between the clear, punchy sound and the ease of installation, EV really did save the day for us.”