CINCINNATI, OHIO: The Musketeers men’s basketball team is the standout athletic program at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the last dozen years, the team has made an appearance in an NCAA tournament in all but one, and Forbes places it among the nation’s top twenty most valuable college basketball programs. The Musketeers play at the 10,500-seat Cintas Center at Xavier University, which was built in 2000. Xavier University recently asked consultant Anthony James Partners and local integrator ICB Audio & Video to update the sound system with increased coverage of seating areas that were poorly covered by the original system. In part because no additional rigging points could be added, the solution centered on lightweight Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers with excellent pattern control and exceptional sound quality.
“The Cintas Center is a large venue, and Xavier University does a good job keeping up with it’s A/V system,” said John Keller, who configured the system and the rigging with ICB Audio & Video. “They wanted the new system to improve upon the old system’s coverage, which had quite a few holes – most notably in the first few rows on the floor. The big trick was that we couldn’t add any rigging points nor add significant weight to the rigging points that existed.
“Of course,” he continued, “the reason you get holes in coverage is because the speaker is delivering the wrong pattern at the wrong location, but the direct and obvious solution of adding new locations wasn’t on the table. Nevertheless, the coverage, efficiency, and relatively lightweight design of Danley loudspeakers allowed us to meet the facility’s goals within those stringent constraints.” An interesting side note, when Danley demo’d its products for the Xavier officials, they responded to its noticeably superior fidelity with a chant that exceeded the most indulgent fantasy of the most optimistic contractor. “They literally chanted, ‘Cut the check!’ and ‘Give the man the P.O.!’ to the head of purchasing,” recalled Mike Hedden, Danley president. Anticipating a chuckle of incredulity, he added, “They really did do that!”
The new Danley system replaced the old system, cluster for cluster. Ten clusters use a pair of Danley SH-96 full-range loudspeakers stacked in opposite orientations to provide complete coverage of the upper and lower bowls. Two additional clusters use an SH-96 with two Danley SH-64s to provide expanded coverage at either end of the bowl. A total of six Danley TH-115 subwoofers hang independently in two rows along the arena’s long axis. Each cluster is dead hung from a single point because a pick point wasn’t possible; the catwalks and other ceiling hardware couldn’t safely support it.
Keller was able to reuse the wiring infrastructure, and ICB replaced the distributed audio system for all of the facilities outside of the bowl with a BiAmp system networked via CobraNet the previous year. A 32-channel Yamaha LS9 console serves as a new front end, with CobraNet output feeding a new QSC Basis DSP system. The two DSP systems share audio via CobraNet. A rack of QSC CX- and PL-series amplifiers power the Danley loudspeaker and subwoofers.
“The coverage and sound of the new system are dramatically better than they were in the old system,” said Keller. “There are no dead spots, and the cabinets work together nicely in the clusters. How that happens exactly is Danley’s magic secret. In the areas that were covered previously, the coverage is now more even. The client is very pleased, and I’m impressed that we were able to swap out all the speakers within a two-week window in order not to conflict with their basketball schedule or corporate sponsors. Using the same rigging points was really the only option to get the job done.”
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Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.