The Buzz: Installation spotlight: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez
Additionally, SPL deployed three EAW UX8800 digital processors with Gunness Focusing algorithm technology. “[EAW UX8800] has been highly touted as something that can streamline the equalization process. Its DSP algorithms were designed to help correct the response of a loudspeaker digitally,” Gutierrez says. “In principle, it would minimize the amount of additional DSP that you would have to apply to equalize the system. [The UX8800] was the one new piece of gear that we used. What we found was that it really did shorten the amount of the time that we had to take to equalize the sound system. Many of the things that we usually try to EQ were already taken care of by the Gunness Focusing algorithm in the UX8800 processors.”
All the challenges of the installation didn't take Gutierrez by surprise, he says, considering the age and design of the space. Although the building had had some acoustical treatment done in its past, this treatment had long since been removed, having the effect of making the Cameron Crazies even louder. “There is no real acoustical treatment in the building, and that contributes to the difficulty of the design because the building doesn't behave like modern arenas that have a lot of acoustical treatment,” Gutierrez says. “When you start out with a building that is not well-behaved acoustically, it presents more challenges to produce something that will work.”
Retrofitting cable into historic spaces such as Cameron is often one of the largest challenges to such an installation, but the university had hired an electrical contractor who was familiar enough with the facility to install conduit and pull cable, not only shortening the installation time — meeting a collapsed schedule the school set because of events due to take place at the stadium — but allowing Gutierrez to turn his focus to loudspeaker placement. Because the loudspeaker design was limited by the steel structure of the space, Gutierrez had to work within an installation design that that could retrofit to the steel structure. “That puts some constraints on your loudspeaker design because you have to pick the appropriate devices that work at whatever spacing the structure and ceiling allow,” Gutierrez says. “Luckily, there was enough steel that we could come up with a design that was adequate.”
The equipment closet that had formerly housed the existing sound-system equipment racks would also house the new system technology, but the limited space that SPL had to work with meant that the company had to be selective on its equipment choice. Housed in the facility's two equipment racks are the three UX8800 units, dual BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-80 digital processors that provide system control and routing, four Shure UHF Series wireless microphone systems, and eight Lab.gruppen C Series 4-channel power amplifiers. The closet also houses two control interfaces, a small Yamaha LS9 digital mixing console, and a computer interface for configuring and running the sound system.
“Because the Yamaha mixer can be controlled remotely, they actually just plug into the sound system network port that is at half court and drive the sound system off the laptop with a mouse,” Gutierrez says. “They're able to mix the game without taking a lot of equipment into the press row, which is something they were concerned about because there is very limited space.”
Upgrading the audio system provided more than just a better game experience for basketball fans. Employing the distributed system allowed the school more flexibility in issuing sound for only the zones needed. For smaller events, such as school commencements and wrestling matches, facility management can reconfigure the system to push sound to the appropriate zones with the simple push of a button.
“They went from a sound system that was basically barely adequate for public address and not music reproduction to something that was capable of rock and roll,” Gutierrez says.
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