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POLAR supplies Renkus-Heinz IC-Live speakers to Dublin’s Croke Park stadium

“The Hill 16 section of Croke Park was an interesting project to be part of due to both its size and the requirement for pinpoint clarity," said Darren Stratford, head of technical support

POLAR has supplied Renkus-Heinz’s IC-Live digitally steerable loudspeakers to the Hill 16 area of Dublin’s 82,300-capacity Croke Park sports stadium.

Hill 16 is an open-air terrace at one end of Europe’s third-largest stadium. Although Croke Park’s primary use is for Gaelic football and hurling, the venue is regularly used to host major international music concerts; recent years have seen performances from The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

Vanguardia were appointed as consultants to the project and approached POLAR’s business development manager Adam Brown to bid for the use of Renkus Heinz speakers to replace the aging system on the Hill 16 open-air terrace, as well as the courtyard area adjacent to that section.

However, Hill 16 presented a unique challenge in comparison to the rest of the stadium. The covered areas at Croke Park offered a relatively straightforward setting, with sufficient mounting points to enable the required coverage and containment to be obtained with few issues. At Hill 16, the open-air nature of the terrace specifically restricted the possible speaker locations to existing angled pillars located at intervals above the terrace. As a result, audio provision, which was to deliver announcements, background music and safety alerts, needed to cover the whole area, whilst not disturbing the residential areas surrounding the stadium. Audio steering capability was therefore crucial, as was the need to deliver high enough SPL to reach all of the 10,000 spectators in the open-air section.

The Renkus Heinz speakers were shortlisted against several other competitor products and Darren Stratford, head of technical support for POLAR integrated solutions supported Vanguardia with the creation of EASE plots to ensure that the required SPLs were adhered to. POLAR worked closely with Vanguardia and integrator Mongey Communications with regard to connections, failover, and fault-finding, to integrate into the stadium’s control and monitoring software, which was created by Staffordshire-based specialist Audomation. Ultimately, Mongey Communications installed six Renkus Heinz IC Live Dual columns and three IC Live single columns. 

This was the first time Stratford had been involved in utilising Renkus-Heinz speakers on such a large-scale project: “The Hill 16 section of Croke Park was an interesting project to be part of due to both its size and the requirement for pinpoint clarity in an outdoor environment for PA/VA purposes. The scope of the requirements seemed to be a perfect fit for the ICL-F-DUAL-RD columns. We needed to be able to maintain excellent speech intelligibility as well as providing even coverage at high SPL across the entirety of the area.

“The IC-Live range was able to achieve the aims seemingly effortlessly, whilst still maintaining an outstandingly impressive fullness and clarity at these kinds of SPLs without sounding remotely overdriven. It’s even more impressive once you take a moment to listen to the overall quality of output the system can produce and get your head around the fact that the biggest drivers in that entire system are only 6.5 inches.”

Vanguardia and Mongey Communications also implemented a NEXO GEO stadium system at Croke Park back in July 2019, which you can read about here.