Sydney Showground’s successful sound system swap


Connect Series amplifiers from LEA Professional will be used as part of Sydney Showground’s new audio-visual (AV) system. Australia’s Sydney Showground was established in 1998 as a purpose-built home for major events as part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Today the Showground hosts nearly 150 national and international events annually, including music festivals, sporting events, exhibitions, trade shows and the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the nation’s largest annual ticketed event.

Sydney Showground comprises several buildings, including Giants Stadium, the Dome and Exhibition Complex, Charles Moses Stadium, Howie Complex, the Sydney Royal Stables, and more.

Showground has enlisted the help of The P.A. People to help overhaul the system, and Ross Ford, project manager at The P.A. People, was tasked with leading the installation.

“From an operational point of view, LEA amplifiers offered us several key features that made them easy to integrate,” said Ford, noting their compact size and ability to “bridge channels, ingest Dante inputs, and utilize analog inputs for the fire trip lines,” as a significant factor in their selection.


A major element of the AV upgrades was the desire for complete system monitoring and supervision.

Every pavilion has a standalone public address system, with a site-wide system in place for emergency communications.

Because the AV in some of the smaller venues is used infrequently, when required the AV systems often performed sub-optimally, an issue only identified immediately prior to an event during testing.

Now, AV staff receive an email notifying them of device issues or signal path disruptions in real-time, allowing staff to make fixes in many cases before anyone notices a problem.

Smaller venues

A mixture of nine LEA Connect Series 354D amplifiers and nine LEA Connect Series 704D amplifiers were deployed in the smaller venues. The CS354D is a Dante-enabled 4-channel amplifier with 350W per channel, while the CS704D is a Dante-enabled 4-channel amplifier with 700W per channel.

Both are perfectly suited for small to medium-scale installations and support high-Z (70V or 100V) and low-Z selectable by channel, giving the Showground excess capabilities for additional loudspeakers in the future.

Larger venues

For the Dome and Exhibition Complex, The P.A. People installed 13 LEA Connect Series 1504D. The CS1504D is LEA Professional’s flagship high-power IoT-enabled amplifier. A 2RU 4-channel amplifier offering 1500 watts per channel, it’s ideal for large concert venues, arenas and stadiums.

The CS1504D is Dante-enabled and supports high-Z (70V or 100V) and low-Z selectable by channel, providing capabilities for possible expansion.

A matter of time

A significant challenge for the installation team was that many venues were in constant use, so finding time to perform the upgrades and swap out the gear had to be very carefully planned. The Showground team utilised LEA’s Sharkware software to integrate without the need for major stoppages.

“Because of the quality of LEA’s amplifiers and the ease of being able to implement them in the infrastructure, we were able to swap out 15 amplifiers in a few days,” said Ford. “That time included tuning and setting up all the system parameters and making them operational,” added Ford.

Further comment

Commenting on the installation, Jonathan Seward, head of RAS Property and Sydney Royal Easter Show Operations, commented, “The RAS managed site, Sydney Showground is spread over 30 hectares (approx. 72acres) with a diverse offering of event spaces up to 7,000m² column free (approx. 17,000ft²).

Steward also noted, “the flexibility and performance of our PA system is crucial to the safe and effective performance of our venue and we are thrilled with the positive system performance outcome, a fit-for-purpose solution and our working relationship with the P.A. People has been exceptional.”

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About Author


Benedict is editorial assistant, social media manager and staff writer across several aviation, automotive and performance technology titles published by Mark Allen Business. He is a graduate of the University of Southampton and spends his free time organising comedy shows, playing basketball loudly and guitar quietly.

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