Pomp And Circumstance

More often than not, audio systems constructed for outdoor stadiums have the luxury of using distributed or cluster-mounted loudspeakers that spread sound evenly throughout the intended area of coverage from above. For the last eight years running, however, T.C. Furlong, a Lake Forest, IL-based audio company, has found itself at odds with that traditional scheme as part of its ongoing commitment to Northwestern University's annual commencement ceremonies.

As a way to better accommodate the gathered graduates and dignitaries on the field, plus those filling the stands, this year the T.C. Furlong crew enlisted the aid of 16 QSC WideLine loudspeakers mounted eight-per-side on Genie lifts. With FOH mixer Dean Giavaras taking a seat behind a Yamaha PM5000 under a canopy at the 50-yard line, inputs coming from the orchestra and stage in the middle of the field received processing courtesy of a QSC BASIS unit. Power was provided by an assortment of PowerLight2 amplifiers that included a PL 224 for highs, a pair of PL 230s for midrange, and a second pair of PL 230s for low frequencies on each side. Streaming via CobraNet along a single Cat-5 cable, signal transport chores were managed by a RAVE 522aa unit also culled from the QSC catalog, while all monitoring and control fell under the able and unifying guidance of QSC's QSControl.net platform.

Working from laser measurements gathered at the location, QSC's Shawn Watts began designing the WideLine arrays using EASE Focus aiming software developed expressly for the enclosures available as a free download on the company's website. With plans in hand, Watts traveled along with QSC's Jon Graves to Northwestern's Evanston, IL campus and helped assemble the rig over a 2-day period.

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