Lexington, KY (November 29, 2016)—Home to the University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY has been around for 40 years. For most of that time, an audio system nicknamed Big Bertha was used to cover the 24,000 seats, but as part of an ongoing $15-million renovation, that’s been replaced by the largest L-Acoustics K2 sound system ever put into a fixed installation.
The new system was designed by Rupp Arena’s technical staff—Rupp Arena technical services manager Bob Stoops and technical coordinator Steven Grant, with input from Lexington Center/Rupp Arena director of Facilities Administration Merrill Richardson—working with L-Acoustics’ head of Integration Dan Palmer. The end result was installed by AV systems integrator Cincinnati-based Loud & Clear Inc.
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 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.
The new system has one more design aspect that further enhances Rupp Arena’s marketability for event production. The speaker arrays and amplifiers, which are mounted in LA-RAKs on the catwalk above the floor, can be moved to allow the speakers to accommodate other types of events, such as concerts. Plenty of artists have played the Rupp Arena over the years, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, Conway Twitty (a dozen times) and Garth Brooks, whose four concerts there in 2014 sold a record 70,500 tickets.
“The design of the system was intended to be multipurpose; they can lower two of the four corner PA hangs and the side hangs and move them to one end of the venue to create a concert configuration, leaving the other two corner hangs as delays,” said Joe Deavers, Loud & Clear’s installation manager, and the project manager on this installation, who also credits the Rupp Arena staff’s expertise for how smoothly the project went. “They can also move it into another area of the Lexington Center, such as the convention center. It’s a highly flexible design and that’s made possible by how flexible and adaptable the K2 system is.”
Loud & Clear Inc.