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Hair Of The Dogs

When the calendar pages turn to autumn in Athens, GA, rabid fans of Bulldogs football at the University of Georgia descend en masse upon Sanford Stadium, regularly filling the gridiron arena to its capacity of 92,746. Packing the grandstands so tight-the school's average home attendance has ranked among the nation's top 10 for 23 consecutive seasons, and among the top seven for 21 of the past 24 years-the faithful legions are currently enjoying the fruits of $33 million spent on expansion projects since 2003.

As part of the new upgrades, 27 new SkySuites were added at the north end of the stadium, each of which features premium sound designed and implemented by Audio-Tech of Norcross, GA.

"Bulldogs fans are a dedicated breed," noted Audio-Tech president and chief operating officer, Charlotte Anderson. "One of the most venerable aspects of the game here is an institution in his own right, and that's Larry Munson."

Munson, who returned last year for his 38th season with the Georgia Radio Network as anchor of UGA Bulldogs broadcasts, is a legend among generations of listeners.

"Carrying a radio feed into the SkySuites so fans could hear Larry wasn't a problem," Anderson related. "What did present us with some difficulties, however, was maintaining an aural sense of live action in the suites. That's because the glass along the front of each room effectively insulated it so well from the crowd noise that it was too quiet. It almost felt like you weren't at the game."

To solve this dilemma, microphones were deployed within the stadium bowl to capture the sounds of the crowd and action on the field. Now faced with a need for simultaneously bringing two active inputs-Munson's broadcast and the collective sounds of the crowd mics-into each SkySuite, Audio-Tech found itself casting about for a mixer/amp that would meet their needs.

After exploring a number of options, Audio-Tech ultimately chose a PAM-120 120W mixer/amp from Inter-M for each suite. "It was the only device of its kind we could find that could bring the signals from our two active inputs to the SkySuites at the same time," Anderson said, explaining the choice. "With the live feed from the crowd mics coming into the room, we added Inter-M's PAM-T tuner modules to the design to insure that Munson's broadcasts could be heard by all. The design was straightforward and sounded great."

Loudspeakers chosen for the SkySuites were 8-inch, ceiling-mounted Tannoy model CMS8 TDC units. Joining the Inter-M PAM-120 mixer/amps and PAM-T tuner modules in custom millwork enclosures custom-built for the rooms were Denon DVD-1600 DVD players.