Melching Field at Conrad Park is home to the Stetson University Hatters, a Division I baseball team. It is also used by DeLand High School and numerous recreation teams. The facility is owned by the City of DeLand and managed in partnership by the city and Stetson University Athletics.
Melching Field at Conrad Park opened February 12, 1999. Twenty-three years later, the facility was well overdue for renovations. As part of an $8 million renovation project the City of DeLand Parks and Recreation enlisted the help of Entertainment Arts (EAI), an Orlando-based AV integration and production company, to design a new AV system from the ground up. Byron Conerly, owner of EAI, spearheaded the project. “In recent years, several MLB players have come out of Stetson University, so the stadium has been getting a lot of attention. It was time to put the attention on the audience," he explained.
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The goal of EAI was to transform Melching Field at Conrad Park into a modern facility. EAI chose Fulcrum Acoustic because of its weather-resistant product offering, domestic availability, and legacy of installs at high-profile sports venues. “We wanted to offer them something where they could say we have the same system as a notable NFL practice field or MLB stadium," Conerly said. "I showed them other sports stadium projects that Fulcrum had done and said, ‘That’s the caliber of what we bought.’”
For the loudspeakers, EAI focused on high-quality coverage with an emphasis on the audio and control on the field. CX826-WR compact coaxial loudspeakers were used on the smaller poles, GX1226-WR coaxial loudspeakers for the main press box, and FH1596-WR full-range coaxial horn loudspeakers for field coverage. The field never had audio coverage, so it was important to Conerly that the field have outstanding sound. “The new video system has audio tied to it, the lighting system has audio, so the field system needed to kick. With its pattern control and projection, the FH is just an amazing cabinet. They really push,” stated Conerly.
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The new sound system also required an expansion of the distribution system powered by three new Apex amplifiers: two CloudPower1504s 4x1500W and one CloudPower354 4x350W. “It was our first-time using Apex Amps,” said Conerly. “We liked everything about it so far. The interface will do a lot. No matter what you need to connect to it, it will work.” EAI installed wireless control connectivity to the audio console so it can be controlled on the field via iPad. The system was setup with various zones, so, when they need to, they can recall fewer zones so they’re not just bleeding audio all over the place. They’ve also created customized presets for special events.
Both EAI and the customer were thrilled with the installation. “It sounds amazing,” said Conerly. “The director of the City of DeLand Parks and Recreation was delighted. At the first practice, the everyone was ecstatic with the install and how it’s working."