The San Mateo Community College District recently updated its facilities' audio systems, including this football field, with Technomad speakers (below) to make the experience of attending a game more enjoyable.SAN MATEO, CA--The San Mateo Community College District, College of San Mateo, Skyline College, and the Cañada College recently updated the sound systems for several of their sports facilities. Some of the prior systems were around 30 years old or just non-existent, in the case of several outdoor fields.
Jim Petromilli, director of instructional technology for the San Mateo Community College District, oversaw the project, doing the design and installation for several of the systems. He explained, "My job has been to work with our ITS technical staff and AV engineering contractors to do the layouts and the specifications of the equipment. We were trying to modernize our athletic fields, in terms of turf, teams' facilities, as well as the audio systems to make the experience of attending a game more enjoyable."
@body:The key factor in designing the systems was making them multifunctional. The facilities are multi-purpose, such as the football facility doubling as a track facility. Additionally, the setup needed to be very user-friendly, since the athletic department often has to be able to set up the audio itself without the assistance from ITS.
Petromilli continued explaining the facilities, "We have a basketball facility, three baseball fields, a football stadium, and one softball field as well. For the baseball fields, we needed to paly sound between innings, power a PA, and control the scoreboards. We needed speakers that met these needs as well as provide music on field for the players. For football, we have crowds up to around 1,000 people, so we needed a sound system that could fill our stands and provide sound on the fields during warm-up time. And they wanted to be able to easily convert it to track setup a day later."
For all the systems installed, Technomad Vienna and Noho speakers were used. "We found out about Technomad from Lloyd McKinney Associates, and they brought us some to test out," Petromilli said. "We were impressed with the sound quality and how rugged they were. We worked with them to design a first installation and had nothing but accolades about the sound quality, so we just moved forward and have been very pleased with them."
Petromilli said, "We had Bogen amps for baseball and softball. We used those because they have a built in mixer, and we just plug in a Shure microphone. All our music is either off a computer or iPod." For the football stadium and the gym, Crown amplifiers are used.
The Skyline gym had several challenges for Petromilli's crew, as he noted. "One of the biggest considerations for the gym was our acoustics. The gym was built 50-some years ago, and even though it's been redone a bit, it still is wide open acoustically. We had to work with the placement of our speakers so there's not a lot of reverb of the signal."
Rick McKinney, vice president of Lloyd McKinney Associates, explained the gym's setup. "They wanted something that was very versatile. We put two speakers facing out, set up for a graduation or performance. It was a center channel so the voices were coming from the right direction. And then we'd set the levels at the side so it'd get progressively louder at the back, so it was all at a nice comfortable level." On each side of the gym, three speakers face the bleachers and two face the center court, so levels are even throughout.
McKinney discussed the challenges the installation posed: "The structure beams were concrete and we couldn't drill into them, so we had to build a bracket using uni-strut that would clamp to the beam at about 10 by 10 inches. Then we'd have to put a mounting plate on the bottom of the speakers. That's not the first time we've done that type of distributed audio for a gym, so I had no objections to doing it that way. It was surprising the 12 Viennas did such a good job distributing the audio so well throughout the gym, but overall all the systems sounded great."