RG Jones celebrates 25 years at Wimbledon Tennis
18 August 2010
UK - This summer's Wimbledon Championships saw one of the longest running relationships in pro audio mark its 25th anniversary. London based RG Jones were first called in to revamp The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club's system in 1986, and following the basic installation, have been refining and adding to the sound facilities to make it one of the most comprehensive systems in a UK sports complex.
The number of departments operating behind the scenes at the Wimbledon site is vast. RG Jones' engineers work closely with them to ensure that the Championships receives the audio service that this world class, leading tournament deserves. This includes liaising with the officials to ensure that the umpires can be heard on the courts, and their communication systems are functioning correctly, liaising with the broadcasters to provide the correct sends for their television/radio mix and to ensure correct cueing for live broadcasts, and liaising with the Club itself to ensure that the site-wide paging announcements are controlled and can be heard in all the right places.
Such a level of integration has led to the largest deployment of an integrated comms system (fully integrated with the broadcasters' comms system, leading to around 500 ports), the biggest Digital Signal Processor network installed on site with 35 BSS Soundweb London devices, 10 BSS Soundweb Original devices, and Yamaha DME4ioC and Bose ControlSpace DSPs. Every court had an integrated PA system for the first time, used for umpires' microphones and site-wide paging.
This year's Championships met with some moments in history too: the first day saw the latest finish with the match on Centre Court ending at 10:54pm, and three days later, on the Thursday, the longest match in history concluded with an epic 68-70 final set. HRH The Queen attended the Championships for the first time since 1977, which was a particularly proud moment for RG Jones as the only sound company in the UK to hold the Royal Warrant. This coincided with the newly upgraded Bose MA12EX and MB4 PA system for the Junior Tennis Initiative display, which features a pop music backing track.
A familiar sight over the years is the Bandstand on the Tea Lawn, for which RG Jones provide a high quality PA system. It was achieved this year with Duran Audio AXYS T-2112G2 and UB-25G2 units providing crystal clear full range loudspeaker output, and a Roland RSS M-400 digital mixer with digital 'snake' multicore relieving the strain for the engineer.
Owen Relfe noted: "We were impressed by how easy the M-400 was to understand and set up - the onboard 'Help' button was particularly useful. The patch bay was instantly obvious and we used, depending on the gig we were doing, a combination of the REAC stage box and the desk inputs, which was really useful. I look forward to using the M-400 again with more REAC boxes and possibly the optional multichannel recording capabilities."
The system at the All England Club ground is a mixture of permanently installed equipment and infrastructure, and temporary equipment installed for the period of the Championships. The ongoing installation programme is managed by RG Jones' Jon Berry and Tim Speight.
Aside from the playing areas and spectator facilities, there are sound systems covering everything from the car parks and queue lanes to the hospitality suites, administrative offices and hospitality areas.
The main distributed system for the iconic Centre Court bowl is based on 73 cross-firing Martin Audio AM10 two-way mid-high loudspeakers mounted in the stadium.
The bowl system is driven by 12 QSC ISA 800Ti 100V line amps and split into 24 four-wire speaker circuits, and controlled with the BSS Soundweb London system.
They form the high profile core of a site-wide system that includes public address announcements to the 16 addressable zones, which are split into numerous operational zones throughout the complex from seven control positions; priority emergency announcements, zoneable to each area; media feeds of umpires' announcements; and relay of a court mix to spectators on each court - which includes the umpire and various other feeds including radio mics.
Further integration allows localised systems to function such as competitors' calling systems, referees' office relay, ball boys' canteen, umpires' calling systems, queue lane control from the ticket manager's office, and local systems in the Debentures Holders facilities, suitable for functions. Each system is integrated with the emergency announcement priority override.
The efficiency of the system plays a major part in the smooth running of the Championships, which are broadcast worldwide. Close liaison with the various broadcast companies is a key part of the RG Jones team's role before and during the famous fortnight.
Jon Berry commented, "To work with a client for as long as 25 years is a great privilege, especially one as high profile as The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Matching their desire to host the world's number one tennis tournament, with the technical aspects required to achieve that, along with maintaining a solution that can meet the ever changing regulations and trends, is a challenge that we relish."
RG Jones years UK saw longest running audio London based The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club system installation sound facilities systems complex number Wimbledon site work ensure Championships world leading tournament includes liaising umpires heard broadcasters provide correct mix site-wide paging announcements controlled integration integrated comms installed devices court PA time used year history match Centre Court set particularly high digital M-400 useful REAC equipment areas queue hospitality bowl split BSS Soundweb London profile zones control priority emergency feeds relay calling office part broadcast Jon Berry
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