The HP Pavilion in San Jose Adds Countryman

Any audio professional will tell you that, in terms of sound quality, a personal computer can be a rather hostile tool if it’s not interfaced with the right equipment. Such was the case at the HP Pavilion at San Jose. Working alongside a variety of broadcast quality capable sound sources, the laptop computer sounded positively dismal. But recently, that undesirable situation improved dramatically with the addition of a Type 10S Stereo DI from Countryman Associates.

  • The HP Pavilion (formerly known as the San Jose Arena and Compaq Center) is the permanent home to two professional sports teams and is also a mecca for amateur sporting functions as varied as fencing, volleyball, and Sumo wrestling. Additionally, it plays host to countless entertainment events. Mike O'Brien is the Technical Services Manager at the HP Pavilion at San Jose. Responsible for all aspects of audio throughout the complex in addition to managing the technical staff that operates the facility’s video and lighting systems, O’Brien described the frustrating condition he experienced prior to deploying the Countryman Type 10S DI.

“I was faced with the task of getting a laptop computer’s audio output to sound as good as our other broadcast quality devices, including CD players and a 360 Systems instant replay device,” O’Brien explained. “Prior to the Type 10S, I was using an external USB sound card and it just wasn’t getting the job done. Once I patched in the Type 10S, everything that, sonically, I was previously missing was suddenly there—complete with really clear highs and a full sounding low end. With the Type 10S, I finally achieved sound quality on par with the other equipment we use. Most importantly, it provided a level of consistency to the overall sound that we simply weren’t getting before.”

Interfacing the Countryman Type 10S DI with the existing setup was easy. After taking the laptop computer’s 3.5 mm TRS stereo output and connecting the left and right channels to the corresponding inputs on the Type 10S DI, O’Brien ran two cables terminated in XLR connectors into the house console. “Setup couldn’t have been easier,” O’Brien notes. “The Type 10S DI was patched in and operational in a matter of a minute or so.”

When queried about the Type 10S DI’s features that most appeal to him, O’Brien offered the following, “Simply put—it’s all about the sound quality. The computer plays an important role in our work here. Depending upon the nature of the sporting event, we use different sound effects and music libraries that reside on the hard drive. Prior to using the Type 10S, I was never satisfied with the way the laptop sounded, but it had all the right features for our application. Once I patched in the Type 10S, my problem was solved. It was incredibly easy.”

O’Brien is equally enamored with Countryman’s customer service. “Though I’ve been using Countryman products for years, I really haven’t had much contact with the company’s technical support group because nothing ever seems to go wrong,” he said, “but in terms of customer service, they’re great. I had heard rumors of the Type 10S, so when Chris Countryman approached me about evaluating the unit, I jumped at the opportunity, as I knew the box might very well be the answer to this nagging laptop issue I was experiencing. The entire Countryman team was a pleasure to deal with.”

The HP Pavilion at San Jose took delivery of their Countryman Type 10S DI in early December 2010 and, since that time, it’s been smooth sailing in terms of laptop computer audio quality. “From the moment I connected the Type 10S, all the highs and deep lows that I was missing were suddenly right there in my face,” O’Brien reports. “With this direct box, everything sounds exactly as I had hoped for and it couldn’t be easier to use. I made my connections and it worked just as I had hoped for right away. That’s a beautiful thing!”

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