- Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass has been a tourist fixture in the Sonoran Desert, north of Scottsdale, AZ, for three decades. However, soaring real estate values in this tiny Phoenix suburb gave owners little choice but to sell the land for residential development. That, in turn, gave Rawhide a new lease on life in its just-opened, 163-acre location on the Gila River Indian reservation south of town. And amid the resort hotels and casinos, the new Rawhide changed with the times-the old Conestoga wagon and Western store façades came along for the move, but the sound is definitely 21st century.
One of the zones of the Main Street audio system is the street stage, where, during the course of the day, live gunfights and stunt action break out. Audio from Sennheiser wireless systems on the actors is routed through a Soundcraft E8 mixing console located in a small old west-style building.
The park is essentially a replica of a small Wild West-era town complete with its own small-gauge railroad and a Main Street with operating blacksmith shop and other period pieces. This was the focus of the effort that Wardin, Cockriel & Associates put into the new audio system.
"There were two main challenges: run a huge amount of wire to hundreds of speakers, and do it quickly," said Thom Casey, designer and senior engineer for the Phoenix-based firm.
While Main Street covers only a few blocks, the intent was to place as much localized audio as possible along it, divided into nearly a dozen zones, including the popular restaurant at one end of the street.
The entrance of the town is through a covered bridge that has JBL Control Series 26 70-volt speakers playing background music and a prerecorded welcome program via a MacKenzie MAC FIMP-40 digital audio repeater. At the top of the street is a covered wagon circle with four listening stations arranged in a circle. Each of the listening stations has a remote keypad to start the presentation, and the listener can choose any one of five languages to MP3-formatted material from the MacKenzie digital repeater through a Crown CP660 6-channel power amp and OEM Systems RS-82b 2-way rock-camouflaged speakers.
The nearby restaurant, one of the facets of the old park that was included in the new iteration, has three live-performance systems inside-the steakhouse bar, the dining room and a special-events room. Each system has a Soundcraft Spirit FX16 mixing console, dbx DriveRack 220i system processor and Crown CTS series power amplifiers that feed JBL AE series speakers and subwoofers in each room. Local zone control of each room is accomplished through dbx ZC1 and ZC4 controllers. In the steakhouse bar, there are four JBL Control 25AV speakers used for restaurant paging.
There are two other buildings adjacent to Main Street. The Spirit of the West is an outdoor mini-amphitheater that showcases a variety of entertainment events, such as cowboys doing rope tricks and Indian storytellers. Its audio system is comprised of a Soundcraft Gig RAC 600 powered mixer, a Tascam CD160 CD player and a pair of Sennheiser EW112G2 UHF wireless lavalier microphone systems. Speakers are two of OEM Systems RS-82b 2-way rock speakers.
The Six Gun Theater is a performance area with bleachers that overlook a mockup of a few Old West-style buildings. High-energy stunt shows and gunfight action are enhanced with five of the Sennheiser wireless lavalier systems, with a Sennheiser antenna distribution system, and a Tascam CD160 CD player mixed through a Soundcraft E12 mixing console then fed through a DriveRack processor to Crown amplifiers and to JBL Control 29AV-1 speakers.
But Main Street is where most of the action-and sound-is. The street is divided into five separate music zones, each with JBL Control 29AV-1 speakers, controlled via a BSS Soundweb London system with local BSS Blue 10 touchpad controllers and powered by Crown CTS series amplifiers. "With the BSS programming we can provide for parade audio, live gunfights and stunt shows, and there are multiple microphone and line-level inputs along the main street that are routed to the central control system for special events, as well," Casey pointed out. "The entire system can be configured to accommodate multiple events happening simultaneously up and down Main Street."
One of the zones of the Main Street audio system is the street stage, where, during the course of the day, live gunfights and stunt action break out. Audio from Sennheiser wireless systems on the actors is routed through a Soundcraft E8 mixing console located in a small old west-style building that conceals a control room.
The original incarnation of Rawhide closed down on October 31, and the new location opened later the following month. The tight schedule called for Wardin, Cockriel & Associates to fast-track the entire project. "Basically, we were keeping up with the contractors as best we could," Casey explained. "We'd try to get our conduit in just as or just before they'd finish a stretch, but there were times they were just too fast, and we had to go back and cut into their work to lay pipe in."