New York (June 5, 2007)–When you think of NASCAR, the first beverage that comes to mind might not be Red Bull, but the erstwhile “energy drink” is out to change that, in part with a hospitality area for VIPs that is jaw-dropping. The Red Bull Energy Station, which made its debut at the Las Vegas Speedway, is a two-story steel and glass structure with over 10,000 square feet of stainless steel bars, lounge areas with tables and plush seating, and high-impact audio and video entertainment. The Station, which travels to events in four semi-trucks and takes several days to assemble, is outfitted with ten 42-inch Sony LCD displays and a sound system comprised of Mackie components.
“The structure is typically set up pretty close to the track, so there was a need for a sound system with a pretty substantial output,” says Scott Ramsay of Broadcast Support, the company behind the structure’s audio and video systems. “In Las Vegas, for example, the front of the Energy Station was thirty feet from the top of turn three. The sound system needed to compete with a bunch of race cars going by at full throttle.”
The system centers around eight Mackie SRM350 loudspeakers. “We had originally specified a larger Mackie speaker, but they were looking for as small a footprint as possible, to maximize visibility from everywhere in the structure,” Ramsay explains. “As it turns out, the 350 was more than capable of delivering the levels we were looking for.”
Low-frequency impact is covered by four of Mackie’s SAW1801 subwoofers. “We went with a pretty substantial subwoofer arrangement, because after the race, the Energy Station typically becomes an impromptu nightclub,” says Eric Eastland of All Access Staging. The company worked with Broadcast Support on the project’s design and implementation. “If you really want to connect with this crowd, they need to feel the music. The bottom end from the system is just awesome.”
As Eastland points out, the system design also needed to cover a wide range of applications. “Red Bull’s marketing is so diverse; one day they might be using it for a Flugtag event, where people create their own flying machines, the next day it might be at a NASCAR event. So the system needed to be flexible to handle a wide range of performance demands, from background music one day to a miniature Studio 54 the next. The fact that they’re self-powered was another big asset, since we didn’t have to deal with finding a location for, and wiring in a large amp rack.”
The second floor DJ booth houses a small A/V rack with a 16 x 16 Extron matrix switcher. Video sources include three DVD players, a satellite receiver, or live racetrack feed from the video trucks. “They wanted the flexibility to send any given input to any display,” Ramsay explains. “They also wanted the capability to add live cameras for press conferences and other media events.” A Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro mixer is mounted on the rack’s top.
“The support from Mackie was truly excellent,” adds Ramsay. “We didn’t get the final order for the project until a couple of weeks before deadline, but they put the entire order together in a matter of hours, and jumped through a bunch of extra hoops when it looked like the freight company had lost the order.”
Red Bull USA