Safely installing a stadium audio system in a pandemic


Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades is the largest stadium in the Argentinian province of Santiago del Estero with a capacity of 29,000. Completed in October 2020, the stadium will host matches for upcoming editions of the Copa America and the Supercopa Argentina.

To meet the project’s deadline, the AV integration firm working on the stadium, Equaphon Sistemas de Sonido SRL, found a way to integrate the stadium’s audio system while still adhering to all health and safety restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

The system setup uses Audinate’s Dante audio network platform, which distributes hundreds of uncompressed, multi-channel digital audio channels via standard ethernet networks with near-zero latency for synchronization. Dante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network.

Due to the global pandemic Equaphon management was faced with reducing the number of staff it had on-site during the integration process due to social distancing requirements. They discovered that Dante would enable a modified number of staff to be on-site without compromising the quality of work or timeline.

“We quickly realized that with Dante we could work on all the routing, programming and testing from our headquarters, which is located 600 miles away,” said Alberto Escriña, member of the Equaphon Engineering Department. “We sent a small team to the site for just a few days of installation, adjustment and measurement and we did most everything else remotely. When we finished, the system sounded incredible.”

The Equaphon staff at the company’s headquarters in Buenos Aires used remote desktop-sharing software to access Dante Controller software running on-site at the stadium. Dante Controller provides essential device status information and powerful real-time network monitoring – including device-level latency and clock stability stats, multicast bandwidth usage, and customized event logging.

The Equaphon team was able to use Dante Controller to easily backup, restore, move, and reuse Dante network configurations through presets. The ability to edit Dante routing configurations – both online and offline – was also beneficial. This process allowed for an efficient and effective remote setup, resulting in less time on the road for the Equaphon team.

“Our team only had to be on-site for a few days for the physical installation,” Escriña said. “That further reduced the cost of the project as it lowered travel and lodging expenses.”

The project features a Dante network throughout the stadium’s audio workflow, all running on a local fiber-optic network. Included in the installation are 19 Powersoft Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D amplifiers and two Powersoft Mezzo 322 AD amplifiers – all of which use Dante networking. The main matrix is a Xilica Solaro FR1 digital signal processor with Dante connectivity. Two Xilica Solaro XIO-8 I/O expansion frames are used where analog audio signals may need to be added into the Dante system.

Eight STS Linea V15i loudspeaker arrays are mounted around the stadium, providing audio coverage of the stands. The V15i speakers use Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D units for amplification and to connect to the Dante network.

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