Ascot Racecourse, home of world-renowned Royal Ascot, was founded on a bedrock of tradition more than 300 years in the making. Racing first took place in 1711 at the behest of Queen Anne, Ascot Racecourse is approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.
Ascot Racecourse is visited by more than 600,000 visitors each year during the usual 26 days of racing. As a world leader of racing events, Ascot management had a vision to elevate their customers’ racing experience, continuing their role as the leader in racing event destinations.
Ascot knew that identifying the right audio partner was critical to ensuring their vision for the continuation of this premier destination became a reality.
“Over the last three years, Ascot has undergone a major technology upgrade,” shared George Vaughan, Head of Technology at the racecourse. “As part of this program of works, we recognized that our audio was no longer able to meet the demands of a modern venue. It gave us the opportunity to explore what the ideal audio solution should sound like for our customers, because what they hear only adds to their experience of a race day.”
In May 2019, Ascot selected Bose Professional as their Official Technology Supplier–Sound — the first manufacturer to be appointed under this new supplier category. Bose’s passion and commitment to developing innovative technology that improves people’s lives naturally aligned with the Ascot brand, resulting in a shared vision of the reimagined Ascot experience.
The resulting audio solution was a bespoke combination using the ArenaMatch AM10, AM20 and AM40 loudspeakers as the basis for the system. The system also incorporated the Bose Panaray MA12EX modular columnar array loudspeakers and the ArenaMatch Utility AMU108 and AMU208 loudspeakers, along with a variety of FreeSpace loudspeakers. The solution was powered by a network of PowerMatch PM8500N power amplifiers containing specific Dante® cards.
Loudspeakers are typically mounted at the edge of a building's canopy towards spectators. This was not possible with the design of the grandstand, which prioritized the line-of-sight for spectators and required the loudspeakers to be mounted on the building behind the spectator and grandstand areas. This presented a potential safety issue with sound projected towards the horses, which could inadvertently spook them during races.
The ArenaMatch loudspeakers, with their IP55 weather rating, provided the reliability and flexibility for SSE Audio to create a custom solution. Included were the ArenaMatch AM10, AM20 and AM40 loudspeakers (providing corresponding 10°/20°/40° vertical coverage patterns), and the ArenaMatch Utility AMU105 and AMU108 loudspeakers (providing 100°x100° and 90°x60° coverage patterns respectively). The result was an ideal coverage pattern for the grandstand while avoiding audio overspill onto the racetrack.
Inside and out, the solution was designed and configured as a zoned network across nearly 1,000 loudspeakers, including a fully compliant voice alarm evacuation system. Also included in the zoned design was a personalized AV zone within each of the private box suites, enabling guests to connect via Bluetooth® to play their media of choice.
With sound being an integral part of the customer experience, Ascot believes that working with a brand like Bose represents the perfect marriage of technology and tradition. SSE Audio implemented the system perfectly, with the two companies working brilliantly together to deliver an impressive solution that exceeds Ascot’s expectations.
At Royal Ascot as each day draws to a close, guests enjoy the tradition of participating in singing around the Bandstand that last upwards of an hour.
“Our guests become part of the moment, participating in the close of day ‘singing around the bandstand’ and expressing their national pride,“ adds Vaughan. “It’s very exciting and hugely uplifting. If ever there was a place where you could truly ‘hear the drama’ then this is it. And what better way to appreciate the spectacle in all its glory than through a premium sound system like Bose.”
SSE Audio is the largest professional audio supplier in the United Kingdom, offering a range of services including audio rentals for live productions, sales of audio and related equipment, and the integration of performance technology into a wide range of venues.