John D. Millett Hall on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, OH is best recognized as home to the school’s popular RedHawks basketball and volleyball teams. But the 9,200-capacity venue is also well known as the site for the school’s commencement exercises, as well as concerts and other events from a list of guests as varied as Yo-Yo Ma, Beck, Bill Cosby, The Fray, O.A.R., Béla Fleck, Jay Leno and the Dalai Lama.
The new L-Acoustics KARA system (above the 1995 banner at left) in use during a Miami RedHawks versus UMass Minutemen basketball game. (photo credit: Andy Wittry)
With the facility’s aging distributed PA system struggling to even accommodate announcements at sporting events, the school hired Cincinnati-based L-Acoustics certified provider Loud & Clear, Inc. to supply a sound reinforcement system each time it hosted a concert. Now, Loud & Clear has turned a rental client into a fixed install client with the recent installation of an L-Acoustics KARA system.
Used for concerts and games alike, the new sound system is comprised of left and right 12-enclosure KARA arrays flown on the north end of the court. Ground-stacked below each array is a stack of four SB28 subs arranged in a cardioid configuration. Six LA8 amplified controllers housed in custom racks power and process the entire system.
“The KARA system in Millett Hall is being used for everything from sporting events and concerts to lectures and graduation ceremonies,” said Eric Cimini, installation manager at Loud & Clear. “One of the biggest things the client requested going into this project was that the coverage be extremely consistent throughout the entire venue. They wanted everyone to hear exactly the same thing — from the cheerleaders right below the PA to the athletes on the court to the final row of seats at the other end of the arena. Looking at these little 12-box arrays, one might not expect them to cover the space as well as they do, but KARA totally delivers.”
“With our new L-Acoustics system, we went from hearing multiple complaints about the sound at every event to hearing multiple compliments,” said Brad Clark, facility director for Miami University’s Millet Hall and Hall Auditorium. “Everyone has been absolutely thrilled with it; I’ve not heard a single complaint since it was installed.”
“I’m really impressed with its coverage and range; the low end sounds so much better and really suits the University crowds,” he added. “Plus, the L-Acoustics name is one that appears on every touring rider. In the past, we would typically contract out 10 to 15 events a year, whereas we’ll be able to do all of those in-house now, which is great.”
Although the KARA will spend most of its life flown in Millett Hall, the system was designed to be portable in the event that the school wishes to use all or part of it at the Department of Music’s 735-seat Hall Auditorium or for an outdoor concert. Motorized hoists permit the arrays to easily be lowered and removed, while additional hardware allows the cabinets to be stacked or flown elsewhere on campus when needed for smaller events.