Power Play

@cap:The sound system at Jobing.com Arena is comprised of 72 dV-DOSC loudspeakers, 16 SB28 and 12 dV-SUBs. L-Acoustics' LA-8 DSP processor amplifier powers the system.

@cap:Chief engineer Jim Howard with the 360 Systems server in the rack in master control at Jobing.com Arena.


PHOENIX, AZ--With only 45 days to complete an entire audio and video overhaul for the home of the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes, Neil Rosenbaum had to move fast. Judging from the overwhelming approval from fans and players after the fact, Jobing.com Arena's production manager scored a game-winning goal. He did it by tapping Phoenix's AVDB Group to design and build the new AV system.

@body:The work was challenging because of the arena's non-stop event schedule, which makes it impossible to take the building's production abilities fully off-line. Bearing this in mind, AVDB started the upgrade by bringing in a fully loaded MAXX 2400 video server from 360 Systems. "We needed a fully optimized server because our video needs are growing," said Rosenbaum. "Eventually we plan to put in a fiber line as part of our HD migration, connecting all four in-house video editing suites to the server."

AVDB went with a 360 Systems server because of its reliability and customer support. "We wanted something that could not fail," said AVDB president Martin Waverley. "360 Systems was instrumental in telling us what would work with this install and also with the upgrade to HD and associated compatibility issues." Waverley noted there were some sync issues integrating the server with existing Grass Valley equipment. "360 Systems helped make sure we had the right gear when we went to install and that we were fully ready to upgrade to digital audio and video."

Beta SP, DVC pro, and DVD clips are edited and loaded via a Leitch SDI/AES router which feeds one of the MAXX 2400's two ingest channels. Clips are trimmed, looped, and a scheduled playlist is created. One video board alternates content from advertisers, another is a marquee for upcoming events at the arena, which also runs live content from an in-house TV broadcast facility. The MAXX's fourth channel goes into a Grass Valley production switcher in the control room that feeds the in-house television and display system.

"The flexibility to gang two outputs is very useful when synchronizing the two LED boards and/or the other displays together," said chief engineer Jim Howard.

Currently a Roland AR3000 message repeater plays audio clips matched to content on the boards, but the audio is not synced to the video. "The audio capabilities of the MAXX are pretty important because we needed to sync audio to video and then use the Roland unit for special announcements, utilizing a ducker to lower the audio level on the server feed while the Roland is playing and then bring it up again after the announcement," said Howard.
The audio portion of the upgrade presented challenges of its own. The arena's original system had been budget-engineered and was unintelligible. Rosenbaum got the order to upgrade in August and it had to be finished by October 4, the home opener of the hockey season.

After completing his research into audio systems at similar venues, Rosenbaum was sold on L-Acoustics' dV-DOSC system because of its crispness and clarity at high volumes. AVDB worked with L-Acoustics to create a six-array design with two subclusters. The goal was to concentrate the audio from the first seat behind the glass to the top standing room seat, which is about 85 feet above the floor.

"Hard surfaces like ice reflect sound and we had limited time on the ice before the floor was pulled over it," said Waverley. "The sound also had to be kept off the ice and aimed over 8- to 10-foot tall glass panels in front of the first row of seats."

The sound system at Jobing.com Arena is comprised of 72 dV-DOSC loudspeakers, 16 SB28 and 12 dV-SUBs. L-Acoustics' LA-8 DSP processor amplifier powers the system. A Yamaha M7CL console was installed at the front of the house to replace an analog board, adding flexibility for more digital options.

Because more and more touring acts were playing at the arena, the audio system had to disappear when it wasn't in use. Thus, 16 one-ton automated chain motors were rigged off the high steel grid in the ceiling of the arena so that the speakers could fully retract. "This was the first application of its kind in an arena like this," said Rosenbaum. "Architectural engineers did a study for us on the new rigging and they told us the added weight actually improved the structure of the building's roof."