Ice Cold Audio

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The new ice hockey arena at Quinnipiac University keeps games hot with a sound system that includes Community's R1-94X loudspeakers. HAMDEN, CT-Nestled in the shadows of Connecticut's Sleeping Giant Mountain, Quinnipiac University is renowned for its technology-rich learning environment and modern architecture. The school's most recent addition is the $52 million TD Banknorth Sports Center, which houses two arenas for the Bobcats men's and women's ice hockey and basketball teams. Built over a period of two years, the Sports Center was dedicated in January 2007.

Cambridge, MA-based Acentech Incorporated was engaged to provide acoustical and audiovisual systems design for the two arenas. The challenge was to create a sound system that could deliver highly intelligible speech to the 3,500-seat basketball arena and the 3,200-seat hockey arena, while maintaining the acoustically live feel of the 2,000,000-cubic-foot space.
After selecting room finishes to help meet the two-second reverberation target, and designing acoustical coupling to reduce the mechanical noise of the HVAC system, Acentech designed a distributed sound system around Community's R-Series loudspeakers. "We worked closely with the architects, Centerbrook, to create 3-D models of the space," explained Acentech's supervisory consultant Richard Closs. "Using those models, we were able to create a system design, predict acoustical performance, and optimize the loudspeaker locations."

A total of 76 Community R1-94X loudspeakers were installed throughout both arenas by systems integrator North American Theatrix. "The R1-94 loudspeakers were an easy choice," said Closs. "They're efficient, they sound good, and they easily met the stringent speech intelligibility and performance requirements for this project."

In both arenas, rings of R1-94X loudspeakers were hung above the seating bowls in upper and lower coverage pairs. Additional single loudspeakers provide sound to the playing surfaces. Acentech's design called for intercom coverage for the concession and entrance area of the building to monitor the audio from the arenas.

Varying coverage needs required a distributed approach, so Acentech designed a portable control rack for each arena. Crown CTS-1200 amplifiers with PIP cards provide the power. Two pairs of Biamp AudiaFlex DSP units are used for signal processing, running in a configuration that allows one of each pair to act as backup for the main areas of the building.

Portable control racks regulate arena-specific audio. Crestron touch panels in multiple locations offer basic control over main system functions in the lobby area of the complex. The TD Banknorth Sports Center includes built-in camera locations throughout both arenas for video needs. Conduits and basket trays are in place to allow cable runs by visiting outside broadcasting trucks. Day-to-day needs are limited to monitors for the official scorer's table and the coaches, which are handled via tie-lines.

On opening weekend at Quinnipiac's Banknorth Sports Center in January, all the home teams held their inaugural games. "Everything went off without a hitch," noted Closs. "The audio systems sounded great, and the university couldn't be happier."

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