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Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, FL, USA, has installed one of the largest Meyer Sound LEOPARD™ linear sound reinforcement systems to date in its 12,500-seat Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

Known to locals as ‘The Tuck’, the multipurpose arena serves as the home court for the FSU Seminoles men’s and women’s basketball teams, and also hosts a yearlong schedule of other sports, convocations, concerts, special events, and graduation ceremonies.

Bruce Jones, FSU’s sound engineer for the venue said:

Overall, there’s been a tremendous improvement in intelligibility. LEOPARD handles speech and music far better than the old system, by leaps and bounds. I’ve heard nothing but compliments from announcers, coaches, and officials at the scoring table. And after the last commencement, I was told the sound was the best it’s ever been.

FSU officials found a solution to the poor performance of the outdated arena loudspeakers with the self-powered LEOPARD system.

System designer, Brian Smith, of Pro Sound & Video, which handled the system integration, said:

The original proposal was for a conventionally powered loudspeaker system with multiple racks of power amplifiers. But I was impressed with the uniformity of coverage and sonic detail that LEOPARD delivered in this arena environment. After looking at all cost impacts that go along with it, we realised LEOPARD would offer superior performance and a more straightforward approach to integration than a conventionally powered system. In the end, the cost came in below our prior conventional system bid.

In addition to speech reinforcement, LEOPARD is also used for music reproduction in applications ranging from high-impact break music at games to a brass ensemble at graduation. “A five-piece rap group performed for a special event at the opening of basketball season, and they spread out across the floor with wireless mics,” reports Jones, a former touring FOH engineer for artists such as Counting Crows, Joe Cocker, and Santana. “The rappers could hear themselves fine with no feedback problems, and the audience obviously enjoyed it.”

The system is deployed in six arrays of eight LEOPARD line array loudspeakers each, supplemented by four 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. Two UPM-1XP loudspeakers each cover the four corner sections, and two UPQ-1P loudspeakers provide court coverage. A Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system with three Galileo Callisto 616 processors handles system drive and alignment.

The arena upgrade also included a new Midas M32 digital mixing console.

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Images courtesy: Meyer Sound/FSU

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NB: Our latest Q1 edition includes a feature discussing the key audio challenges and solutions for stadia and arenas.

NEXO fielded a stellar team of different loudspeaker models for one of the most prestigious sporting trophies in France, the Leaders Cup, which is organised by the LNB (Ligue Nationale de Basketball) and staged at the Disney® Events Arena at Disneyland® Paris.

In an arena packed with nearly 5,000 spectators, the Final Eight teams of France’s premier basketball league competed for the Leaders Cup in a high-octane environment, complete with dazzling lighting effects, high SPL concert sound and half-time entertainment from dancers and cheerleaders.

To mark this highlight of their calendar, the Ligue Nationale has announced the signing of a technical sponsorship deal with NEXO, which will see  the company’s systems widely used in professional basketball throughout France.

As explained by Alain Beral, President of the LNB:

Sound is an integral part of the experience offered to our fans. 

NEXO’s expertise, both in terms of new projects and full renovations, will allow the LNB and its clubs to rely on an efficient and reliable partner for professional audio solutions.

NEXO’s Engineering Support Team was in attendance at Disneyland® Paris for the Leaders Cup weekend, looking after a main arena system, which combined NEXO’s STM M28 modular line array cabinets and S118 subs for LF coverage, complemented by clusters of NEXO GEO M6 aimed at VIP and press seating. All loudspeakers were flown from a central point, connected using a redundant Dante network, from a Yamaha 01V96 console to NEXO’s NXAMP4x4 amplifiers.

VIPs and press were also entertained by NEXO’s brand-new ID Series super-compact loudspeakers, teamed with ID S110 subs, among the first units being used anywhere in the world.

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Using the terms “hockey arena” and “exceptional audio” in the same sentence will likely elicit a storm of protests from system designers and audio engineers who have long had to stretch the boundaries of basic physics to combat the lengthy reverb times built into sporting arenas as an intentional tool — not a flaw — to help pump up crowds. However, thanks to Solotech’s recent installation of L-Acoustics Kara and ARCS Wide loudspeakers at the new Complexe JC Perreault in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, Quebec, the Montreal-based audio provider has proved that high-energy sports and high-quality sound can, indeed, both thrive in the same facility.

Although Complexe JC Perreault is every bit a hockey arena, boasting two separate NHL-sized rinks, the multipurpose facility was designed from the start more like a theatre than a sporting venue. “The room was acoustically treated to obtain an RT60 of about 2.6 seconds, which greatly contributed to increased intelligibility,” notes Solotech’s Pierre-Paul Gignac, who adds that it is not at all unusual for sports arenas to have a reverb time of more than double that figure.

Seeing that shows and sports have dramatically different requirements when it comes to audio, Solotech designed and installed two separate sound systems — a fixed playback and PA setup comprised of four coaxial 12XTi enclosures covering the ice, plus six hangs of two ARCS Wide addressing the bleachers, and a second main system that is lowered from the ceiling for shows. Designed to deliver full-range sonic reinforcement for a packed house of 3,000 people for concerts and other productions, this second system features two arrays of five Kara enclosures for mains, two hangs of two ARCS Wide for out fill, two more ARCS Wide for front fill and four SB28 subwoofers, all powered by six LA8 amplified controllers plus one LA4X.

In “show mode,” the Complexe hosts everything from fashion shows to concerts to poker tournaments, so the audio system had to hit a number of points. It had to sound good, look good, reconfigure easily, and — given that the facility is also home to the non-profit it is named for, which has a mission of minimising the dropout rate among area high-school students — had to be budget-friendly.

Gignac says:

It is important to note that L-Acoustics is one of the preferred brands used regularly by Solotech, both on tours and permanent installations.

L-Acoustics products have proven to be reliable and respond well to the architectural and environmental challenges presented by our customers. For this project, sound quality and ease of use were the qualities that most influenced us, along with the system being able to be deployed at a reasonable cost.

Complexe JC Perreault can actually be set up in a number of different seating arrangements depending on the nature of events — a challenge that made system flexibility and ease of deployment even more important.

Gignac adds:

When not lowered for non-hockey events, the concert system is mounted on chain engines and rigged as high as possible in order to avoid the arrays being struck by a puck during a game. When switching over for a show, they lower the motorized equipment, install four subwoofers on the floor with front fills placed on top, connect the amps, and that’s it. The changeover is fast, simple, and requires no additional motors or rigging, which is great. Thanks to extensive modelling and audio simulations done in L-Acoustics’ Soundvision software beforehand, we determined that Kara and ARCS Wide were the ideal solutions for this venue, and they truly are.

For additional details on Complexe JC Perreault, visit: www.complexejcperreault.com. Details on Solotech can be found online at: www.solotech.com.

 

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ARCS Wide and 12XTi systems address the seats and rink.

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Another view of the compact ARCS Wide and 12XTi hangs.

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115XT HiQ wedges (lower right) serve as stage monitors.

 

Main pic: Kara arrays provide high-quality sound for the venue’s shows. Courtesy: L-Acoustics.

About L-Acoustics

Founded in 1984 near Paris, France, L-Acoustics is a leading manufacturer of turnkey solutions for the professional sound industry. With 250 team members, 20 percent of whom are dedicated to R&D, L-Acoustics is present in over 75 countries either through subsidiaries or via a network of certified distributors or providers.

Recognised throughout the industry for pioneering the modern line array, L-Acoustics offers a total system approach for both the touring and fixed installation markets, and a product line responding to the needs of venues from the most intimate club to the grandest arena. L-Acoustics sound systems can be heard in places like the Hollywood Bowl, the NBA Houston Rockets Toyota Center, or the Philharmonie de Paris. L-Acoustics solutions have been used at five of the world’s ten top-grossing festivals*, the London and Sochi Olympics, and on the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience World Tour, among others.

* According to the Pollstar 2014 Worldwide Festival grosses

For further information, go to: www.l-acoustics.com

 

Our forthcoming Q1 issue of PanStadia & Arena Management will include a feature looking at some of the key audio challenges and solutions for sports venues.

 

Home to the Washburn University Ichabods men’s and women’s basketball teams, and women’s volleyball team, Lee Arena is a 4,150-seat indoor sports venue that draws some of the largest crowds in NCAA Division II. Lee Arena was the first in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association to have a video scoreboard and a digital scorer’s table and, in 2015, it received a new, high-performance audio system.

Sound Products, Inc. of Topeka, KS, provided the new audio system. The company had upgraded Lee Arena’s audio in 2001 and the university told them, “Now, we’d like you to take us up to the big time!”

Lee Arena hosts graduations and other non-sporting events along with its basketball and volleyball games and it can be set up with a stage in the arena’s centre or at end court. To support this wide variety of configurations, Sound Products’ Monty Ehrlich chose a distributed system design for the arena using Community’s I SERIES loudspeakers.

Ehrlich used an Ashly Protea DSP to implement push-button presets for each of the arena’s different configurations. Each preset adjusts the delay and level on different loudspeaker zones to optimise the system for a particular event type. He added Community D5 ceiling loudspeakers in the Ichabod Room, which is used for victory celebrations and press conferences. The system is powered by a combination of Ashly and Crown amplifiers and includes a Roland digital mixer, which also has presets (known as “scenes”) for different event types.

Shure announce microphones are used in the sound booth for volleyball games and at courtside for basketball, and the arena has a variety of wired and wireless microphones for non-sporting events. The mixer includes inputs for audio from the scoreboard and from a Denon solid state music player.

Lee Arena’s new system was completed in July of 2015 in time for the university’s volleyball season and an annual “Coaches Athletic Dinner” in August. Ehrlich said that, after this event, an alumni booster told the athletic director, “this is always a wonderful event but it’s never been like this!” And, the university’s facility director commented, “It sounds like a concert in here!”

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University of Utah’s (U of U) Jon M. Huntsman Center – a 15,000-seat arena that serves as home to the school’s Runnin’ Utes basketball, Utes volleyball and Red Rocks gymnastic teams – recently wrapped up a massive USD$6m renovation project. When the dust finally settled, U of U’s largest sporting and entertainment venue featured two new grand entrances plus a new floor, drapes, LED lighting system and versatile house sound system comprised of L-Acoustics’ powerful Kara and high-directivity ARCS WiFo enclosures.

The audio portion of the project represented a joint effort between two Salt Lake City businesses: acoustician and technology consulting firm Spectrum Engineers, who provided the design and construction documents, and systems integration company Poll Sound, who installed the system and assisted with product specific design.

According to Poll Sound’s Deward Timothy, the first order of business with the renovation project involved the removal of the venue’s heavy steel and concrete cloud, as he explained:

The Huntsman Center had a very large structural cloud that maxed out the weight limit on the roof and was not suitable for hanging technical lighting or sound, which made the venue unsuitable for concerts. The idea with the remodel was to have the space divisible with a curtain system to create various sized smaller rooms, and to replace the cloud with a lighter weight ‘super grid’ that could accommodate concert technical systems. Since the room would now be divided, it was important in the sound system design that it be able to support each section individually; in other words, coverage in the unused areas could be turned off at will.

Using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision acoustical modeling software, the two firms collaborated on the design of a new loudspeaker setup to replace the arena’s previous vintage centre cluster system, which had issues with hot spots and low intelligibility in many areas.

Installed late last year, the new system features two concentric rings of loudspeakers: eight main arrays of eight Kara flown beneath two SB18i subs addressing the lower bowl seating areas, and 16 delay arrays of three ARCS Focus enclosures collectively delivering a razor-sharp 45 degrees of coverage to the upper bowl seats. Four arrays of three ARCS Wide mounted under the scoreboard each provide a tightly focused 90-degree pattern to the basketball floor. All loudspeakers are powered and processed by a combination of seven LA8 and 21 LA4X amplified controllers housed in racks on a platform near the top of the dome with fibre runs to the mix position where a computer running L-Acoustics’ LA Network Manager monitoring and control software is located.

Spectrum’s Sarah Rollins commented:

It would have been possible to cover both the upper and lower bowl areas by using larger arrays but that would not have accomplished the zoning near as well. One of their scenarios is to only cover quarter or half of the lower bowl. It is far more accurate to use a delay ring than to try and turn portions of the arrays on and off. Plus, we get better direct-to-reverberant levels having the speakers closer to the audience. The bulk of the system power and quality come from the main arrays with the delay ring adding fullness and intelligibility to the upper bowl.

The arena is perfectly round, so all delay arrays are identical and equal distance from the audience, as Rollins explained:

Originally we had thought about using Kiva arrays for the delay ring. However, the Soundvision model showed us that the ARCS Focus would cover the area perfectly and the fact that it nicely fit the budget was a plus. ARCS Focus was the right choice and is providing even, natural-sounding coverage to the upper bowl.

Timothy recalls that his production department worked a Veterans Day concert using the new in-house system, only needing to augment the equipment for monitoring and front fill to produce localization to the stage. He commented:

The main reinforcement was the newly installed system, which was highly successful. It’s not often that you find an arena system of such high quality. It covers well, is highly intelligible [measured STIPA of .79 in full arena mode], has a substantial amount of acoustic power, and is of premium components. The versatility of the system with its zone coverage capabilities is invaluable and the University has been very happy with it so far. In fact, they made it through the entire basketball season without a single audio complaint—only praise.

For more information on the Huntsman Center, visit www.stadium.utah.edu/about/arena. Spectrum Engineers can likewise be found online at www.spectrum-engineers.com, with Poll Sound’s home-page being www.pollsound.com.

 

About L-Acoustics
Founded in 1984 near Paris, France, L-Acoustics is a leading manufacturer of turnkey solutions for the professional sound industry. With 250 team members, 20 percent of whom are dedicated to R&D, L-Acoustics is present in over 75 countries either through subsidiaries or via a network of certified distributors or providers.

Recognised throughout the industry for pioneering the modern line array, L-Acoustics offers a total system approach for both the touring and fixed installation markets, and a product line responding to the needs of venues from the most intimate club to the grandest arena. L-Acoustics sound systems can be heard in places like the Hollywood Bowl, the NBA Houston Rockets Toyota Center, or the Philharmonie de Paris. L-Acoustics solutions have been used at five of the world’s ten top-grossing festivals*, the London and Sochi Olympics, and on the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience World Tour, among others.

* According to the Pollstar 2014 Worldwide Festival grosses.

Further information on L-Acoustics can be found at: www.l-acoustics.com

 

Courtesy of Kory Mortensen, Utah Athletics

Courtesy: Kory Mortensen, Utah Athletics

World’s first L-ACOUSTICS K2 Arena System installed at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets

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Modern sports venues have to do it all – host major sports contests one night and top-selling music artists the next. That’s an economic imperative at a time when teams and promoters are competing for the consumer entertainment spend. The venue with great sound that can do it all wins, and that’s why Toyota Center, the arena home of the NBA Houston Rockets, comes out on top.

 

In October, the arena, which opened in September 2003 and seats 18,000 for basketball and over 19,000 for concerts, installed a new L-ACOUSTICS K2 sound system – the first K2 system permanently installed in a major professional sports arena. The cap to a two-year AV makeover that included new HD video scoreboards, the sound system, designed in SOUNDVISION by project consultant Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams and AV systems integrator LD Systems with support from the L-ACOUSTICS US Applications team, primarily comprises 72 K2 enclosures flown in six arrays.

 

The installation was completed and tuned just in time for the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season, when the Rockets hosted the Boston Celtics on November 1. Underscoring the exceptional flexibility and range of the K2, the new system is also potentially available to be tied into by a slate of top concert artists in the autumn/fall, including shows by the Black Keys, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Fleetwood Mac.

 

First making its stadium debut at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, K2 has proven to be the solution for myriad unique situations at installed-sound projects, and Toyota Center proved no exception.

 

LD Systems Sales Engineer Kevin Broussard commented:

Sound quality in an arena is always a challenge, but we had some additional challenges on the Toyota Center project. In addition to coming up with a line-source system design that would provide even and seamless sound coverage all the way around the arena, we were also instructed to use as many of the existing rigging points that had been used to support the old trap-box-style system as possible to keep the venue flexible for touring music shows. The K2 was the perfect solution for that thanks to its ten-degree inter-cabinet angling. That, combined with the K2’s power and throw, allowed us to use fewer boxes to achieve the same dispersion and SPL, so we didn’t need to use more rigging points than were already in place.

 

Toyota Center Manager of Audio and Video, Scott Foulkrod, highlighted how the result is unique to an arena:

It’s really unusual to look up and be able to see clearly across the entire top of the arena. You get a great sense of openness. It really was a nice, clean install.

 

The team’s ownership also wanted a sound system that would enhance the fan experience, and the K2 does exactly that. Configured with two pairs of arrays facing the north and south sides of the arena, and one each facing the longer-throw east and west ends, the 10-degree inter-element flexibility assures virtually seamless coverage over 360 degrees and in the horizontal plane as well.

 

Broussard added:

This feature allowed us to limit the box count per cluster to 12, which significantly helped keep the sightlines clear. A line array in an arena has the potential for serious horizontal overlap between arrays, with a nightmare of phase cancellation between clusters and the possibility of comb filtering. But with the K2, there is minimal horizontal overlap, and the sound is uniform from top to bottom. With this kind of pattern control, we can be very, very precise.

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NBA arenas have also become famous for their low-frequency response, yet the Toyota Center setup uses only 18 subs. This is possible, says Broussard, because the K2’s enclosure is so wide-ranging that most of the bass in the system is coming from the speakers; the subs are there to simply extend them, as he explained:

The K1-SB subs reinforce the low end, adding power and punch, but most of the bass is coming from the K2s themselves. The system behaves very much like a touring concert system, yet it still maintains very high STI [Speech Transmission Index] readings.

 

These, says Broussard, range well above average, between 0.58 and 0.72 – “phenomenal,” in his words.

 

Foulkrod said the L-ACOUSTICS K2 succeeds in both roles:

We needed to have very high intelligibility for the PA announcers, so that the fans would really understand every word, and we wanted to be able to create some good thump for music, and this system does both. The sound is clear and powerful but without having to be overbearingly loud. We’re looking forward to a great basketball season and a great-sounding season, too.

 

Toyota Center’s equipment installation list comprised:

  • 72 K2 variable-curvature WST line-source enclosures divided into six clusters of 12 enclosures each
  • 18 K1-SB flyable high-power subs hung in arrays of three behind each cluster
  • Six ARCS WIDE constant-curvature WST line-source enclosures aimed at the court sidelines
  • Four 12XTi high-performance coaxial speakers used as center-court downfills
  • 29 LA8 and two LA4 amplified controllers

 

For more information on Toyota Center, visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com. WJHW and LD Systems can be found online at www.wjhw.com and www.ldsystems.com, respectively.

 

 

Images: Ryan Paulin

Image captions: Toyota Center’s new sound system primarily comprises 72 K2 loudspeakers and 18 K1-SB subs. The Houston Rockets take on the San Antonio Spurs at a home game on November 6 sonically reinforced via L-ACOUSTICS’ K2. The new L-ACOUSTICS system delivers high-impact and intelligible audio to every seat in the house.

Prague’s O2 Arena deploys new audio system

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The O2 Arena in Prague is the latest large-format multipurpose venue to embrace NEXO’s GEO S12-ST sound reinforcement systems, which are high-output long-throw loudspeakers developed specially for stadium and arena use.

 

Built for the 2004 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships, the O2 Arena is home to the HC Slavia Praha and HC Lev Praha ice hockey teams, and also hosts a range of other sporting and corporate events, as well as concerts.

 

The venue needed to replace its existing PA system – installed 10 years ago – a point source system that was, by the venue’s own admission, under-specified and under-powered. The Brief required a complete new PA/VA system to provide information and emergency announcements, as well as music. The new system also needed to integrate easily into the Arena’s existing systems, and to represent good value for money.

 

“We looked at the best technology around the world,” said Jan Plihal, head of media technology at the Arena, finally choosing a NEXO GEO system, with a total of 72x GEO S12-ST specialist long-throw cabinets and 24x RS18 subs.

 

Supplied and installed by NEXO’s Czech distributor, MusicData, the GEO S12-ST cabinets are flown from a central ‘cube’, carrying large screens on each side, which descends from the ceiling for sporting, congresses and corporate events. When the cube is lowered, it is still 24m from cabinet to the floor, and this is where the GEO S12-ST’s long-throw capability comes into its own. The compact 2-way ST cabinets have been developed from the standard GEO S12 design offering the high SPL and enhanced speech intelligibility required for stadium and arena applications.

 

The 24x RS18 subs – also flown – enhance events such as motor sports, BMX championships and the Davis and Federation Cup tennis matches.

Plihal added:

These days, events like this are more and more of a show. It’s not just about the sports, we have to think about the commercials as well.

 

Although a typical level for an ice hockey match is 90-94dBA, an SPL of 106dBA is possible in the Arena. The system is driven by 16x NXAMP4x4 TDControllers situated in rack cases in the roof, providing 256KW of power.

 

The Arena has also installed a new fibre optic cabling infrastructure to carry an EtherSound ring network for the audio. Auvitran network devices deliver the signal from control room to racks with full double redundancy, while an option to switch to analogue offers even more backup. If any amplifier should fail, the system will automatically switch to another one.

 

As the Arena team requires a degree of control over every element of the system, MusicData sat down with Plihal to design a custom network interface, which runs on iPads connected to Wi-Fi. This displays highly visual information required for day-to-day operation, such as the ability to switch on and off each of the Arena’s 24 different zones set over three levels including the pitch. The interface also displays the voltage on the output of the amps, giving a complete visualisation of the signal travelling through the system.

 

The O2’s new PA system perfectly meets Plihal’s motto, “to be prepared for all”, as he explained:

We have one of the best arena acoustics, with a reverb time of less than two seconds. The NEXO cabinets have been positioned to minimise the small reverberation problems we get from the glass-fronted VIP boxes. We expect excellent audio for speech and music, and the implementation of the emergency system is the most important thing.

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John Wiggins retires from Community

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John T. Wiggins, Community’s Vice President, is retiring after a distinguished career spanning 41 years with the company. Wiggins stated that he will continue to pursue several academic and professional interests.

Wiggins joined Community’s founder, President and Chief Engineer, Bruce W. Howze in 1971 and became a partner in 1972. He has held multiple roles during his time at Community, including VP of Sales, VP of Marketing and his current position as VP of Business Development.

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