Nestled in the Horse Capital of the World, the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, is a sprawling 400-acre family-friendly entertainment mecca comprising a remarkable array of world-class stadiums, arenas, retail, restaurants, hotel, and recreational facilities networked by 40 miles of fiber optic cable. Occupying the popular equestrian destination are 2 large outdoor arenas, 4 indoor arenas, 5 indoor exposition centers, 22 small outdoor arenas, indoor and outdoor multidisciplinary stadiums and tracks where conventions, expositions, and equestrian competitions are held; a 240-room luxury hotel with outdoor swimming pool; multiple five-star restaurants; high-end retail shops; miles of trails; a chapel; and 23 state-of-the-art stables, each of which holds 200 horses.
Audio Designed for a “Village”
Deemed the largest equestrian complex in the United States, the World Equestrian Center (WEC) is more like a village than a single-purpose sports facility. Hosting a wide range of events, activities, and athletes from all over the world, it requires ample technology to keep things running smoothly, including expansive audio systems to deliver background music, race-day announcements, event information, and more to spectators, competitors, and visitors. During a single week, any number of equestrian competitions, car shows, weddings, athletic tournaments, concerts, and other events can take place simultaneously at various venues on the complex. This diversity coupled with the sheer size of the facility made the audio integration complex and challenging, according to Mark Salamone, sales manager at All Pro Integrated Systems. But certainly not impossible with the help of a seasoned, experienced commercial audio manufacturer like AtlasIED.
The Right Speakers for Every Environment
It would take a combination of many different speaker styles to deliver audio of exceptional clarity, frequency, coverage, and musicality to multiple zones throughout the complex. This includes a full complement of AtlasIED speakers in each of the massive outdoor and indoor arenas, including the 145,00-square-foot Grand Arena. Each building boasts 14 FS12T-94 horns and 56 FAP63T-W in-ceiling speakers for the audience area, 26 FS12T-99 horns for the event floor, and 52 FAP63T-W in-ceiling speakers for additional coverage.
All Pro Integrated Systems further leveraged AtlasIED’s extensive speaker catalog by installing all-weather surface-mounted SM82T-B speakers in small outdoor hunter/jumper arenas; wide-dispersion, pendant-style speakers in the hotel lobby; discreet, architecturally friendly ceiling-mounted FAP63T speakers in restaurants and retail establishments; weatherproof GST-G speakers tucked within the beautifully manicured landscape along walkways and concourses; and 6 clusters of 4 APX40TN paging speakers in each barn.
Mobile trailers fitted with outdoor-rated LED walls and AtlasIED FS12T-99 horn speakers add yet another flexible and portable way to engage WEC visitors and spectators. “We’re currently using them as scoreboards in the outdoor areas,” says WEC IT manager Mason Jordan.
No matter how the audio would be used, how it would be controlled, or the setting in which it would be presented, AtlasIED had the right type of speaker, leaving no area untouched. For the integration team at All Pro Integrated Systems and the IT department at WEC, being able to acquire the lion’s share of speakers from a single source like AtlasIED also meant “less shopping around, fewer shipping hassles, and no concerns over quality,” says Salamone.
Smooth, Even Audio Settles the Horses for Comfort and Competition
Curating the correct assortment of speakers was only part of the process in which the audio expertise of AtlasIED’s team of engineers and designers proved crucial. “In addition to proper speaker placement, AtlasIED helped us calibrate them accurately for each specific application,” Salamone remarks. For example, in the stables, audio was set at a specific frequency level to avoid spooking the horses yet remain intelligible for riders to hear race-day notifications. Public addresses and pages to employees and visitors on the grounds, meanwhile, needed to be of a higher volume and range for adequate coverage. Finally, to evoke ambiance, music delivered to the hotel lobby and restaurants was calibrated for smooth, full-bodied background listening.
“We really designed the audio system with the needs of the animals in mind, as much as for the riders and the spectators,” Salamone says. This made zoning an important part of the digital audio makeup. For example, competition arenas are divided into two zones: a warmup zone where the riders and their horses gather before they are called to compete, and a competition zone where the events take place. Announcements to inform riders of who’s up next play in the warm-up zone only to prevent riders and their horses from being distracted during competition.
The same design philosophy was applied in the arenas and surrounding concourses. Here, it’s important that the audio be loud enough for spectators to hear the commentary, but also that the coverage be even, “so when the competitors are riding and the horses are doing jumps and dressage, they don’t get into an area where it’s louder than another,” Salamone says.
Diverse Audiences Applaud a Great Audio Experience
“There were 1,000 questions that needed to be answered as we executed our plan for the audio system and this impressive world-class facility,” says Salamone. “AtlasIED was there to answer them all and ultimately helped us execute the design perfectly and hit every audio mark.” Whether it’s a message to equestrian center competitors, an announcement to visitors of upcoming events, an update on competition standings, upbeat music to pump up athletes, or relaxing background tunes to welcome guests to the hotel, AtlasIED speakers handle it all. Perfectly positioned, strategically zoned, and expertly calibrated for the diverse needs of a massive village-style complex, the remarkable assortment of speakers designed and installed by All Pro Integrated Systems creates an unrivaled experience for equestrian sport.
Looking to the Future
The AtlasIED communications system at the Ocala-based World Equestrian Center and its Wilmington, Ohio-based sister location set a high bar in operational efficiency. Audio and communications systems from AtlasIED will continue to play a significant role at both facilities, which includes a 300-acre expansion at the Ocala village. As residential zones and additional equestrian and guest amenities are rolled out at the Ocala center, AtlasIED will be there every step of the way with a full range of audio components to handle the strict communications requirements of visitors, riders.