Processing and Control for Professional AV Installations

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Radius is a Slam Dunk in Finland

Based in the small town of Kauhajoki in western Finland, Karhu Basket has found instant success in the Korisliiga, the highest tier of Finnish basketball. Founded in 2017, the team won back-to-back championships in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons before backing this up with a third title in the 2021-22 season. This level of success on the court has helped to create a large fan base for the team and fueled the need for a purpose-built arena.

Opening its doors for the first time in 2022, the IKH Areena was conceived to provide this home base. It features 2,362 seats around the court and a total capacity of 3,600, meaning it can accommodate more than a quarter of the population of Kauhaloki. With three restaurants that can seat a combined 1,000 fans plus various hospitality areas and a club shop, the IKH Areena has been built to deliver a world-class game day experience that can be expanded to accommodate wider commercial uses.

While basketball is the main use for the venue, the concept behind the IKH Areena was always larger. It was created as a true multipurpose arena that would be as comfortable hosting everything from international sports to trade shows, and concerts to corporate events. With this broad scope of activities, the arena required advanced AV technology that would be flexible enough to ensure that every type of event went flawlessly. As such, Symetrix was an obvious choice.

As a new build project, the arena was a blank canvas giving its operators the opportunity to ensure every part of the venue was fit for purpose. The operators turned to a variety of local experts to ensure that every aspect of the arena was up to date. When it came to the AV system, it selected Luova Tehdas from the nearby town of Seinäjoki.

“At the beginning of the project, they were looking for an AV contractor who could do this project from design to final commissioning of the system,” recalled Antti Kivekäs who looks after sales, design and installation for Luova Tehdas. “With our range of local reference projects, we were able to show them that we were the right choice to handle the needs of the arena.”

When it came to the AV solution, the arena’s operators wanted something that would be able to handle the various needs of a multi-purpose venue while also having the capability to adapt as the uses of the building change in the future.

“They wanted a system that would be reliable, easy to use, and flexible to handle various use of the Arena, from sport to conferences,” explained Antti. “And of course, superb sound quality. The system had to be easy to modify so that it could be updated and altered to suit the changing needs of the venue in the future.”

To meet these requirements, the Luova Tehdas team opted for a Symetrix backbone to provide control to the building. A Radius NX 12×8 processor featuring 12 analog inputs and eight analog outputs as well as Dante networking has been combined with an xOut 12 audio expander to ensure the arena can capitalize on the surplus DSP power in the Radius and bring overall system costs down. The T-10 Glass touchscreen provides intuitive front-end control alongside xIO Bluetooth PoE-powered Dante endpoints and ARC-3 control panels.

“The Radius handles all audio processing, routing and control from main speakers to restaurants and other facilities,” noted Antti. “This means that the third-party Dante equipment is controlled by Symetrix. The main system controller is a T-10 Glass supported with a tablet via Wi-Fi. Finally, the local controls in the restaurants, club, shop, and other areas around the arena are the ARC-3s.”

The decision to rely on Symetrix for the control system was a simple one for Antti.

“I have been using Symetrix almost exclusively in AV projects for over ten years so the choice was easy,” he reflected. “The sound quality is great, the reliability is great, and you can do some amazing stuff in the programming of the system. Many times my customers have asked me if this or that is possible with the system and in most cases, I can simply answer yes.”

The main challenge faced by the project was the global components shortage which is affecting so many projects around the world. This led to longer lead times for some of the equipment and made sourcing some of the system a real challenge. However, good planning ensured that the expert team at Luova Tehdas was able to get the system up and running in time for the official opening of the IKH Areena.
“Once we had all of the equipment we needed, there were no major challenges,” said Antti. “When the network in the arena was up and running, it was quite easy from there on. The main amplifiers are connected via Dante as are other third-party endpoints so with the Radius sat at the heart of the Dante network, system control is simple, intuitive, and instant.”

Reflecting on the recently opened arena, Antti is delighted with the work of the installation team. “We are all very happy with the end results, and importantly so are our clients. Most importantly though, we have also received good feedback from the fans and audiences who have been to the IKH Areena and experienced what it has to offer.”

With the project complete and the team welcoming its fans to the venue, the IKH Areena has proved to be the new home that Karhu Basket deserves. The facility offers all of its users a world-class experience thanks in part to a powerful AV system that will serve the venue well now and into the future.

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