“It’s big.” That’s the reaction of many the first time they enter Rupp Arena, the 24,000-seat centerpiece of the Lexington Center, a convention and shopping facility in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
The venue is home, appropriately, to the Kentucky Wildcats, the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team that is first in the nation in home attendance.
The arena, which dates to 1976, got through the last 40 years with sound from “Big Bertha,” a massive cluster-speaker system hung above the center of the arena.
Big Bertha was appropriate for its era, but as part of an ongoing $15m renovation that also saw a new video scoreboard installed, Rupp Arena now has a new sound system that’s also commensurate with its standing and its time.
The largest L-Acoustics K2 sound system ever used as a fixed installation also brings tour-level audio that lets Rupp Arena accommodate many more events, such as concerts, using its own sound.
The system consists of six K2 arrays: two 13-box K2 arrays covering the East and West sides of the venue, with four 12-box K2 arrays covering the corners. The corner arrays also have four L-Acoustics K1-SB subwoofers flown behind each of them. In addition, 12 ARCS II enclosures are hung underneath a new video scoreboard to cover the court below, while another set of six ARCS II are used as delay speakers for the uppermost six rows of the arena. Finally, 38 ultra-compact 5XT speakers are used as under-balcony fills. The system is powered by a combined total of 40 LA8 and LA4X amplified controllers.
Rupp Arena’s staff is no stranger to L-Acoustics; they’ve had a Kudo system in the Lexington Center’s 1,000-seat theater for the past eight years, and they own a small portable Kara system for the complex’s convention center.
In addition, a K2 system was brought in last year as part of “Big Blue Madness,” an event held there to mark the start of the 2015 NCAA season. That system, rented through Sound Image, was configured almost exactly as what would become the final system design, which gave them a preview of what the K2 system could do for the arena.
Rupp Arena Technical Services Manager Bob Stoops said:
It sounded fantastic, so we knew we were on the right track. We knew we needed a system that would give us the sound quality you’d expect from a touring system but that would also give us the complete coverage we needed throughout the venue. The K2 has great pattern control, and we now have seamless continuity from section to section of the entire seating area. The K2 installed is really the best of both worlds.