Sports Center gets Clean, Clear Sound with Danley

Samford University in
suburban Birmingham, Alabama is home to over 4,000 students and the brand new,
$32 million Pete Hanna Arena for sports, fitness, and special events.
Samford contacted regional contractor dB Audio and Video to design
and install a sound system for the arena that would serve their
multiple needs with volume, intelligibility, and musicality. Central to their
success? Twenty Danley Sound Labs SH-50 and two SH-100 full-range
loudspeakers.

From the user’s viewpoint, the system is simple and flexible. A Biamp Volume 8
allows volume adjustment and selection of presets for different uses. Importantly,
several presets shut some loudspeakers off when the seats they cover aren’t
filled, minimizing reflections that would otherwise unnecessarily excite the
room. For athletic events or graduation, the moderators simply roll out the appropriate portable equipment rack, plug a cable
into a floor pocket, and are ready to go.

From dB Audio and Video system advisor Keith Armstrong’s viewpoint, however, designing
such a usable system with remarkable audio clarity was challenging. “It’s
a massive space covered in hard surfaces,” he explained. “The decay
time is up around twelve seconds. You might question our use of Danley loudspeakers because they’re so powerful. But in addition to being powerful,
Danley’s patented design leads to pattern control that is remarkably tight even
at frequencies way below 500Hz. We controlled the energy hitting the walls and
thus gave Samford a sound that is refreshingly unlike the mud that typifies
most gym sound reinforcement systems.”

Armstrong flew six Danley SH-50s above either side of the basketball court in
pairs, with one SH-50 on top of the second, to cover the long axis of seating.
A single SH-50 flown above each corner of the court fills in the corner seats,
and two SH-50s cover seating on either end of the court. The University rolls
out two additional SH-50s and two SH-100s to fill in the floor and a temporary stage for faculty during graduation ceremonies. Because
the Danley loudspeakers do not require bi- or tri-amplification, dB Audio and
Video was able to save the University a lot of money on amplification and
processing. QSC RMX-series amplifiers power the entire system, one amp channel
per loudspeaker, and a single Biamp Audia Solo 4×12 DSP provides processing. In addition, a 70-volt system of Atlas in-ceiling speakers
provide sound in the arena’s concourses, around the concession stands, and in
the hospitality suites.

The courtside control for sporting events consists of a Shure SCM 268 mixer with
a Tascam CDA 500 for intermission audio. Two Electrosonics VRM wireless microphones
and receivers allow the University to reinforce things like free throw contests
or tee-shirt giveaways. In the control room, a Yamaha 01v906 mixes pre-game
music and provides feeds for a master video recorder. The portable graduation
equipment rack centers on an Allen and Heath GL 2400
mixer and includes several Shure SM 58 handheld mics and a Telex DTR 800 UHF wireless
system for wireless intercom.

In addition to the arena’s stellar audio system, Armstrong installed video for
Samford. A 42-inch plasma screen graces each of the arena’s six concession
areas and an additional screen provides latecomers with a glimpse of the action
at the ticket stand. This distributed video system is controlled by a Crestron
system that in turn controls an Analog Way Octovue OVX 831 eight-input
switcher. Operators select from two courtside camera positions and an
additional overhead camera position. Armstrong pre-wired the arena for
broadcast TV using triax cable to six different floor pockets. An interface
panel outside the building allows a TV truck to connect directly to those
camera positions.

Although sound for the Pete Hanna Arena’s conference rooms, seminar rooms, fitness
center, and locker rooms has yet to be finished, the center’s biggest job has
been a tremendous success. “The University was plagued by complaints in
their old graduation location,” said Armstrong. “Attendees had difficulty
hearing the names being called!” “They recently held their first graduation
ceremony in the new arena and everyone raved about how crystal clear everything was. The job would not have been successful had it not been for
the Danleys’ remarkable pattern control.”