The Buzz: Installation spotlight: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez
Cameron Indoor Stadium, on the Duke University campus in Durham, N.C., has a rich legacy. Legend has it that the arena was conceived on a back of a matchbook. Whether or not that's true, at the time it was built in 1940, Cameron was the East Coast's largest indoor stadium — seating 7,000 people. Although it is now considered a relatively small facility compared to some of today's monolithic indoor stadiums, Cameron remains an important facility in the world of collegiate athletics because it is central to the prolific and rich basketball tradition at Duke.
While many schools of a similar age have chosen to replace their old arenas with more modern, larger facilities, Duke has chosen to preserve Cameron.
“What they have done at Duke is to take a new-wine-in-old-bottles approach, where they want to keep the history and the charm of the building while modernizing it with technological updates that are tasteful,” says Justo Gutierrez, former Duke alumnus and project engineer with SPL Integrated Solutions in Columbia, Md. (which recently merged with Tampa, Fla.-based Audio Visual Innovations), the company that worked on a recent audio upgrade to the facility. “This is one example where they really wanted to update the sound system, but they wanted to keep the architectural impact as minimal as possible.”
The last notable update to the facility took place in 1988, when the school increased the seating capacity to 9,314 and put in a new scoreboard, interior paneling, and a center-hung cluster sound system — the same sound system that served the facility until last year, when Duke invited SPL to submit designs for a new sound system.
After a site survey, Gutierrez recommended a distributed system because it would lend itself well to the low ceiling height, provide the least visual impact, and supply the university with a system that could be configured to the type of event hosted at the facility — from basketball and volleyball games to banquets.
Gutierrez selected a combination of EAW AX Series long-throw and MK Series short-throw installation loudspeakers. Down the length of each side of the stadium, EAW AX344s — each accompanied by a single EAW SB250z compact dual-15in. loaded, direct-radiating subwoofer — (45-degree-by-45-degree dispersion) provide full coverage to the bleachers at throw distances of up to 60ft. MK2394 loudspeakers — mounted horizontally to stay out of sightlines — cover the upper seating areas, with their 90-degree-by-45-degree dispersion horns rotated to attain the desired coverage. Each MK2394 configuration includes two loudspeakers — one covering the top half of the seating area and the other seamlessly transitioning at the halfway point and extending coverage down to the front row. Single, tight loudspeaker groupings — composed of dual AX344 loudspeakers arrayed side by side to reach the bleachers and dual MK2394s to reach the upper seats — are flown centrally to cover the two deeper ends of the court, with a single SB250z subwoofer to bolster direct LF energy. Additional individual MK2394 loudspeakers are flown at strategic positions above the court to serve as monitor loudspeakers for halftime performers or for events such as commencements that need more focused audio.
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