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The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jun 4, 2009 4:33 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Pumping Up the Crowd


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Electro-Voice FRX+940 and FRX+660

NCAA regulations dictate a certain minimum height for the lowest element that hangs above the game floor. TeL Systems successfully placed every element higher than the bottom lip of the scoreboard, save for two Electro-Voice FRX+940 and two FRX+660 two-way loudspeakers that hang from the bottom of the scoreboard and provide downfill for the arena floor.

“In the line arrays, what’s crucial is the angle of the boxes, the number of boxes you’re using, and the overall position of the arrays,” says Peter O’Neil, audio engineer at TeL Systems. The EV line arrays represented a cost savings over competing designs that employed bigger loudspeakers, and the longer line of smaller boxes allowed better vertical coverage. Hanging above Crisler’s central scoreboard, the loudspeaker system was designed, by and large, as a point source. “In some modern arenas, you will hear arrival times at different times in different places in the arena, and we were able to minimize that by having everything as close to the center as possible,” O’Neil says.

Everything starts with the four EV QRx 218S subwoofers, which hang in a column above the center of the scoreboard. The system’s delay is timed back to the subwoofers. By using delay and physically placing the boxes a certain way and spacing them properly, TeL Systems was able to get directionality out of typically omnidirectional subwoofers.

“We were able to take the bass and steer it into the seating area of the arena, rather than having it reverberate off the roof structure,” O’Neil says.

Hanging from the arena’s ceiling very close to the scoreboard are four curved columns of EV XLD281 boxes. The two arrays pointed at the sidelines each contain 12 boxes, and the two covering the baselines each have 10. According to TeL Systems, other contractors had proposed putting boxes closer to the seating, angling arrays more steeply, and filling gaps in coverage with additional sub­systems.

TeL Systems says its system has no problem reaching Crisler Arena’s top row.

“I think it was a pretty classic example, that you can be sold on this notion that bigger is better, so more speakers, bigger speakers,” O’Neil says. “And at first glance, we brought in a smaller format line array, and we had the documentation to show that it was going to work really well in this room, but I think people who aren’t really that knowledgeable of this stuff, they just tend to think, you know, more, more, more. ... I think that once we were able to show them the analysis that our system would work, they went with our design, and they have been exceptionally pleased.”

An EV NetMax N8000 matrix controller serves as the system’s DSP hub. Implementing EV’s Finite Impulse Response (FIR) technology for the first time in Crisler Arena, TeL Systems found that it produces improved linear-phase performance at crossover points, removing the audible notches that often plague frequency-crossover points between drivers. DSP is located not only in the NetMax, but in the Dynacord PowerH 2500 and PowerH 5000 amplifiers that sit in a penthouse above the arena’s ceiling. These 21 amps contain EV RCM-26 modules. The FIR filters live in these DSP modules, which serve as redundancy for the system’s DSP. If one amp or RCM-26 module fails, the arena’s DSP does not.



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