When East Carolina University stadium experienced debilitating audio issues right in the middle of football season, they turned to PC Sound and LEA Professional to rescue the season and restore the fan experience.
Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium is the on-campus football facility at East Carolina University for the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, NC. The stadium has a capacity of 50,000, making it the second largest college stadium in North Carolina.
James Braddy, CTS, at PC Sound, a local specialist in pro audio, video, and lighting installations, got a call on a Monday in September from the Greg Pierce, associate athletics director at ECU, who explained that the previous weekend’s home game had been overshadowed by a series of audio issues.
“At the time, half the sound system didn't sound like it was working,” said Pierce. “I knew we needed a solution and we needed it yesterday.”
On the weekend in question, stadium goers and players had complained they couldn't hear—and the system would cut in and out. According to Braddy, 60 percent of the stadium’s legacy amplifiers were off and the other ones were going into thermal protection mode.
While PC Sound tried to find a solution fast, they also knew the current supply chain could be an issue. “I have always been able to get amps from LEA Professional through their rep Mavric, and they are my go-to provider,” said Braddy. “We put the order in on a Tuesday at 7 p.m. and within four minutes I had a reply from Scott Robbins, the VP of sales, with different options. The amplifiers were delivered to us on that Thursday, and on Friday we did the install, ready for the weekend’s games.”
For Braddy, most of this was possible because of the simple set up feature on the Connect Series amplifiers. “One of my favorite things about these amplifiers is just the speed of setup”, he explained. “Being able to push a button and connect to it with my phone or iPad tablet, without downloading an app or registering an account, is fantastic.”
The PC Sound team installed eight 704D Dante Connect Series amplifiers from LEA Professional. “The new amps, combined with a new mixer we added, ensured the stadium sounded much cleaner and clearer than it had ever sounded before, even though we were still dealing with some blown speakers at the time,'' Braddy added.
The following game sounded even better according to the team at PC Sound, and the stadium was ready for homecoming the following week, which included a performance by a live band.
Braddy continues to choose LEA amplifiers for all installs he conducts. “These amps have built-in DSP processing and tons of flexibility with the ability to double the power on one channel without having to compromise on losing a channel," he explained. "Not only that, they look and sound great!”
In order to monitor the system, PC Sound utilizes the LEA Professional Web UI, a browser-based interface which allows local monitoring of every amplifier connected to the network from any phone, tablet, or PC. In addition, it allows users to view the status of every channel on any given amp. Along with the remote control LEA Cloud platform, this ensures the integrator is in full control of the system at all times.
PC Sound is considering adding this remote monitoring service as an additional feature to their service contracts. Currently the system at ECU runs on analog connections, but the plan in the immediate future is to switch it over to a Dante audio network.
For Pierce, the new system was "everything we needed and some. I couldn’t have asked for better, and we’re just so grateful to have a superior sound system in the stadium for our players and fans alike.”