Bankers Life Fieldhouse Audio Upgraded for High Intelligibility and Powerful Music

Bankers Life Fieldhouse Audio Upgraded for High Intelligibility and Powerful Music

Opened in 1999, the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN is not only home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, but it is also a major concert venue, the base for the Indiana Fever of the Women’s National Basketball Association, the USHL’s Indiana Ice minor league hockey team, and in 2004, host of the FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships. To keep up with this variety of uses, the fieldhouse updated its sound system to coincide with the installation of a new state-of-the-art scoreboard.

The Indiana Pacers’ new sound system includes a custom arrangement of six JBL main arrays powered by Lab.gruppen Contractor Series amplifiers.

Previously, the facility was served by an audio system designed by the Dallas, TX office of Wright, Johnson, Haddon & Williams. For the upgrades, WJHW was brought in a second time, installing a new sound system of JBL main arrays powered by Lab.gruppen Contractor Series amplifiers.

  • WJHW senior consultant Kevin Day worked closely with Fred Kurtz and Stephanie Bryl of AVI-SPL Maryland to design and install the system.

“The video display company, ANC Sports, was our client. They hired us to put together a design-build team for the replacement speaker system and provided that to the Pacers as a package with the new display,” Day explained. “The new scoreboard was impetus for replacement. The new rig was to be one, at least as good as the previous system, and two, could keep up with the new and upgraded NBA venues.”

To accomplish this, WJHW chose to install six main arrays of custom JBL speakers, each with 10 high-power, three-way modules with double 15-inch woofers. In total, the 72 Lab.gruppen Contractor Series amplifiers were deployed to drive the venue’s loudspeakers: 45 Lab.gruppen C 88:4 amps for the main line arrays, 12 C 88:4s for the subs, three C 88:4s for delay speakers, one C 88:4 for the scoreboard speakers, one C 28:4 for the hockey horns and ten C 48:4s for the back house systems. “Three Lab.gruppen NLB-60E Hubs were also installed to monitor the systems,” Day said. “And we revamped the amp room to drive distributed audio for the entire facility, including the washrooms, the concourse, and outdoor entry areas.”

The system also includes BSS BLU DSP and a Midas mixing console, and WJHW had a Motion Labs chain motor control system installed to allow the speaker arrays to be lifted for other events or lowered for maintenance check ups.

Day said that this upgrade was a perfect opportunity for the venue to switch to a digital mixing console, but due to the short timeframe for the installation and training, they decided to go analog with Midas.

“The timeframe was very short for the technicians to learn to operate new equipment. The operator chose to go with an analog console and the pre-existing analog lines were reused,” Day explained.

However, even with this challenge, Day said all his goals were met. “The goal was for high intelligibility and big, impactful sound for music,” he said. “It’s not always easy to have both, but these goals were met. The initial testing proved that the system could easily provide the loudness and clarity as designed. They are in the second NBA season with the new system and all reports have been good.”

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