Located in suburban Fort Worth, the Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) facilities include the Dr. Jim Vaszauskas Center for the Performing Arts, a freestanding 142,000 square-foot facility used for live music and theater events. It also functions as a professional development center, with a conference/banquet area, breakout rooms and computer labs, creating a profit center for the school district while serving its students, staff and community.
During the pandemic, the facility began experiencing end-of-life issues with some of the high-end technology installed there, necessitating a full refurbishment. Mansfield ISD engaged CRUX Technology & Security Solutions (Fort Worth) to make an in-depth assessment of the situation, then make recommendations on how best to bring the facility back to state-of-the-art standards, in line with the district’s needs and vision.
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The PA solution CRUX recommended was designed around Electro-Voice (opens in new tab) X2 line-array loudspeakers in combination with Dynacord’s IPX series amplifiers. DSP, time delays, speaker optimization, and system control were programmed into the amplifiers via Dynacord SONICUE Sound System Software. The physical installation was executed by another established area company, Electro Acoustics.
One key element of the upgrade was reinforcing the performing arts center’s ability to generate revenue for the school district by hosting national touring productions with its in-house sound system. This requirement is easily met by the EV-Dynacord solution, which provides a level of all-around performance and control that represents a marked improvement over the venue’s previous system.
“We specified the Electro-Voice and Dynacord products very deliberately on this project,” noted Mason Brooks, senior AV consultant at CRUX. “Since legacy product end-of-life and supply chain issues were driving forces on the project, we did not have the luxury of allowing alternates. These brands represent Grade A technology, and the X2 delivers a significant audio upgrade with a smaller footprint, and with less impact on sightlines. Bosch (EV and Dynacord’s parent company) was also one of the few manufacturers that could actually deliver the product in our required time frame.”
The ability to deliver a large system in a timely manner was critical, as the CRUX design actually created the largest permanent installation of EV X-Line Advance in North America, with a total of 67 full-range cabinets plus ten subwoofers, making the 5500-seat auditorium’s PA system worthy of hosting major touring concert events. In addition, both the left and right sides of the semicircular room can be walled off to create smaller dedicated spaces, each with its own sound system and seating for 640.
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The main auditorium PA consists of twin 13-box X2-212 arrays, each with 11 X2-212 90-degree boxes above two 120-degree models to ensure full coverage across the front. The low end is amply supplied by a center hang of ten X12-125F dual-15-inch flying subwoofers, notable for their tightly controlled cardioid output. To ensure full coverage to the back of the capacious auditorium, three delay arrays of seven X2-212/120 enclosures are evenly spaced to cover the back of the room.
Audio for the two side rooms is provided by independent 10-box line arrays, utilizing the 90-degree dispersion X2-212 to achieve full coverage in those narrower spaces. These side room hangs were optimized via SONICUE to deliver sufficient low end without requiring additional subwoofers.
The entire PA system is powered by 16 Dynacord IPX20:4 amplifiers. With 20,000 watts in just two RU of space, these Dante-enabled smart amplifiers house significant DSP power and are part of the SONICUE ecosystem. SONICUE was thus used to implement key system design elements, including loudspeaker optimization, room EQ, time delay and subwoofer directionality. Additionally, IPX amps employ Eco-Rail technology to reduce power consumption by up to 50%, which was a big selling point for the school district.
Another unique function of IPX’s energy-efficient feature set is Ghost Power—a problem-solving technology that ensures the amplifier and processing will instantaneously recover from mains power glitches. It eliminates reboot issues that might occur during a short-term outage or a transition to a secondary power source by ensuring the amplifiers have sufficient power in reserve to maintain DSP through generator startup. IPX achieves this without the need for an expensive uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system or non-network components.
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“The Dynacord IPX amps were important to ensure the reliability of the system,” explained Brooks. “The arts center is in a location that’s known for having occasional power outages, and the facility is used as a reunification point for Mansfield schools in case of emergency. The Dynacord amps solve that problem beautifully. The Ghost Power technology acts as a power backup until the building’s backup generators kick in. So as soon as the power returns, sound is happening without waiting for the amps to reboot. It’s a huge upgrade that addresses the critical needs of mass notification and evacuation.”
In replacing dated system infrastructure with a modern Dante network, finding an appropriate location for the new amplifiers presented a minor challenge. Fortunately, with only 16 amps needed to accommodate 320,000 watts of power, the existing catwalk in the main auditorium could handle the equipment racks without additional structural support.
“In upgrading the facility, our flexibility was limited in terms of conduit runs,” explained Ryan Walker, senior account manager at Electro Acoustics. “Fortunately, the catwalk made a pretty good midway point. We have about 300 feet of CAT cable to bring the Dante network up to the amps. From there, we had manageable runs of about 300 to 400 feet of copper out to the various speaker positions. So really, the Dynacord product design was a big part of the solution.”
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Walker also noted that installation of the line arrays was remarkably easy. “We were fortunate that the auditorium had a motorized hoist system in place for the massive self-powered system we were replacing,” said Walker. “The positive pin-locking system on the EV arrays made it easy to stack the speakers and build the arrays in place. EV’s hardware design is outstanding, so the reinstallation was ten times faster than most typical line array systems.”
The system design for the Mansfield ISD’s Center for the Performing Arts represents a strong success story during the pandemic, with Bosch’s global resources serving to enable a fast-tracked project from concept to completion in under six months. “While there are several companies that can provide the technology this project demanded, the Bosch ecosystem of Electro-Voice line arrays and Dynacord electronics provides a synergy of technology, sound quality and value that does a tremendous job of meeting all the customer’s needs,” said Brooks. “Everyone involved is thrilled with the result.”