The DAS Audio Aero line
array system in its sports
arena configuration at
Tulsa, OK (March 6, 2009)–Located on the campus of Oral Roberts University, Tulsa’s Mabee Center is a multipurpose facility with alternate floor plans that include the Johnston Theater, with a seating capacity upwards of 2,774, the Expanded Theater (4,064), and the End Arena (9.000) for major concerts. In the interest of providing better sound, the Mabee Center recently underwent a major sound system renovation.
Tulsa-based design/build firm Sounds From Heaven (SFH) Productions, LLC, was contracted to perform the facility upgrade. Gary Howard, the firm’s principal, discussed the challenges of the project. “Being that the arena is regularly re-configured to accommodate the events, management wanted the new sound system designed in such a way that it was optimized for each floor plan,” explained Howard. “To accommodate the chameleon-like nature of the facility, we decided to create an array-based sound system that could not only be resized as required, but one that included multiple flypoints from which to suspend the clusters.”
After extensive evaluation, a sizeable collection of loudspeakers from D.A.S. was installed. The purchase included 20 Aero 38A medium format, powered 3-way line array modules, 16 Aero CA-28A powered 2-way, compact array modules, and 8 Aero LX-218A powered subwoofers. The new equipment replaced a component-based center cluster that hung above the scoreboard as well as a passive point source array that was used for concerts.
In its largest configuration, the sports arena layout encompasses four array clusters consisting of four Aero 38As over two CA-28As (using the D.A.S. AX-Combo rigging frame) in four equal distance ‘corners’ within the oval, along with two additional clusters each consisting of four CA-28As in the end zones behind the basketball goals. The Johnston Theater setup includes eight Aero 38As over 1-2 Aero CA-28As per side in a left-right configuration that is augmented by four ground stacked LX-218A subwoofers per side. The Expanded Theater setup builds upon the Johnston setup by adding two outer arrays, each consisting of six CA-28As per side. CA-28As are periodically used as front fill along the edge of the stage in the Johnston setup.
For the two theatrical setups and the full arena configuration, FOH is permanently stationed at center court toward the rear of the lower tier of C section seats. A 56-channel Amek Recall mixing console with Neve preamps resides here, along with two Biamp Systems Nexia SP digital signal processors for loudspeaker management. According to Howard, “Performance tuning was done with Smaart measurement, optimization, and control software to define the various EQ and crossover settings for the various Nexia configurations. Since there are no subs used in the basketball games, the system is set up so that the 38As carry the low end.”
For the End Arena floor plan, the main left-right clusters include 10 Aero 38As over as many as four CA-28As. These are augmented by two outer clusters, each consisting of four CA-28As and four groundstacked LX-218A subwoofers per side. The FOH location is road show dependent. All loudspeaker clusters are flown at heights ranging from 36 to 43 feet at the top. Eight CM Loadstar half-ton chain motors and a Skjonberg motor controller with a single remote perform lifting chores.
The various DSP settings are stored on a Lenovo notebook computer that communicates wirelessly through a local Wi-Fi network that ties into the Nexia’s control program. “This enables the house technicians to load the DSP configurations for the various loudspeaker setups while walking the facility,” said Howard. “Technicians can even perform on-the-fly EQ adjustments, volume leveling, and hear the effects in real time.”