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Ampetronic at Wimbledon

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Say Wimbledon and it’s likely to elicit the sound of racquet on ball, the taste of strawberries and cream in the summer sunshine (or rain) and the drama of the finals at The Championships. However, the All England Club isn’t just about two weeks in June, it operates year round and requires the infrastructure to support its on-going activities, of which Ampetronic induction loops form an important part.

Enter RG Jones Sound Engineering Ltd, a company that has a long-standing relationship providing the Club’s audio requirements. As well as an extensive PA system, RG Jones has also installed the Ampetronic induction loop system to meet DDA requirements and ensure the enjoyment of its hard of hearing members and visitors.

“Outside of the two week Championships – when we are continually on site monitoring the courtside PA, umpires microphones, etc – there are requirements from the Club to use parts of the system throughout the year,” explains RG Jones’s Jon Berry. “The main areas that are used are the Centre Court facilities, which include a range of bars and restaurants. These are used for private functions and it’s in some of these that we’ve installed the loop systems.”

There are seven spaces covered by the loops, and these are situated either next to or on top of each other. “It was quite a mission,” smiles Jon. “We had to use phased array floor mounted loops so that we could control not just the horizontal spill, but the vertical spill as well.”

The entire Centre Court system is controlled from one of three PA rooms, and this is where the ILD1000G amplifiers for the loop system are also housed.

“We have all the amplifiers here,” says Jon. “We’ve found that using the ILD1000Gs is a much better solution than previous amps as they’re so much more powerful and take up less room.

“As the amplifiers are housed remotely from the loops, we’ve had to install them all with feed cables using Star Quad cable because of the length of the run. In some cases, we have 120m long cable, but it works very well and there is no cross talk at all. Additionally, everything is backed up by a UPS, so if it the power fails, then it will carry on going with the rest of the PA system.”

Installation of the system presented its own set of challenges. During construction, a large number of contractors were working on the floor, so it was hard for RG Jones to get it clear to lay the tapes.

“Also, in some areas the flooring is ceramic tile, which meant we couldn’t use copper tape,” continues Jon. “We used a cable that is resistant to alkalis instead and had the builders chase a channel into the floor in the pattern of the phased array.”

One of the most challenging places was the Terrace restaurant, which is so large that four phased arrays were need to make two separate loop systems. Since half the room is tiled and the other half carpeted, both buried cable and copper tape were used, with the two being joined together.

“The system works well and everyone involved is very pleased with it,” concludes Jon. “We came up with new ways to do things and ways to get around problems, and we’ve learnt a lot that we can take with us to the next challenge.”

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