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Honda Center Turns To Crown To Drive Sound

Mar 22, 2007 8:00 AM


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For fans of the fast-paced sport of hockey, hearing the action can be nearly as important as seeing it. Knowledgeable play-by-play commentators are an essential part of keeping the crowd intimately involved in what's happening on the ice. Today, a full complement of newly installed Crown CTs amplifiers is helping fans at Anaheim's Honda Center clearly hear all of the exciting commentaries and stadium anthems during high-action Ducks hockey games.

Formerly known as Arrowhead Pond, the 17,000-seat Honda Center is a major entertainment and sports arena best known as home to the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks. Aside from hosting Stanley Cup playoffs and finals, World Wrestling Entertainment matches, and other high-profile sporting events, the Honda Center has also long been a staple touring stop for many of the highest-grossing musical artists, including U2, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, and many others.

"Having updated our scoreboard a couple of years ago with 60ft. LED screens on the north and south ends, late last year we embarked upon a major sound system upgrade," says Honda Center’s Head Of Audio Nate Chivers. Working in tandem with Chivers and the Honda Center staff, Houston/San Antonio-based Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) served as the design consultant on the upgrade project, with equipment supplied and installed by San Francisco's Pro Media/UltraSound.

"We determined that the venue needed to upgrade the current sound system," recalls WJHW Senior Consultant Mark Graham, who worked closely with Managing Principal Jack Wrightson. "The Honda Center had enjoyed a good experience with products from Harman Pro Group, so we decided upon a Crown-powered main cluster, subwoofer, delay and fill system using JBL PD Series loudspeaker cabinets and BSS Soundweb London BLU-80 signal processing units."

Crown amplifiers specified for the retrofit project comprise 12 CTs 1200 Lite amplifiers for high-frequency loudspeaker components, eight CTs 2000 Lite amps for MF components, and 38 CTs 3000 Lite units for LF components and subwoofers. Sound distribution is via fiber optic CobraNet cabling and HP ProCurve multi-port network switches. "The Crown CTs Series used for the main cluster provide the high intelligibility needed for sporting events in such a high-capacity arena. And it's the best looking rig I have seen," Graham says.

"Our previous sound system had used Crown Com-Tech and Macro-Tech amplifiers," notes Honda Center's Chivers. "The CTs Series from Crown offers a number of significant advantages for installed-sound applications, fitting our needs exactly. The new amps have also proved totally reliable since they were installed last December."

The new four-sided loudspeaker cluster around the scoreboard is supplemented by a balcony delay ring for the upper dozen rows of audience seating, plus subwoofers. Each Crown amplifier is equipped with IQ-PIP (Programmable Input Processor) Modules that enable individual components to be controlled remotely using Crown's IQ command protocol via a conventional CobraNet audio network. PIP-Lite implements Crown's popular SmartAmp features, including input compressors, multimode output limiters, error reporting and load monitoring.

"The primary requirement for the new system was that it should provide high-impact sound coverage to every section of the arena," recalls Pro Media/UltraSound's Palavos. "And, because of the hockey season timetable and events being held at the Honda Center, we need to update the sound system mid-season. We had a 10-day window during which we first added the delay speakers and fills, plus the amp racks, and then we rigged the new central clusters and completed the Cat-5 and related wiring. Interestingly, we run both Crown IQ and BSS London [control and data transfer] over the same Ethernet network. In that way the sound engineering staff can monitor the performance of each individual amplifier via a custom-designed application that was developed using Crown and BSS [Harman Pro HiQnet(tm)] GUI software. It dramatically simplifies any reconfiguration that needs to be done to the complex system, and helps monitor the performance of all components."

"The Crown-powered system has received an overwhelmingly positive response," Palavos enthuses. "The system is extremely flexible; using IQ and London lets the Honda Center do things that it couldn't do before." Chivers agrees, "Yes, that combination of system control and component monitoring is essential."

For more information about Crown International, visit www.crownaudio.com.



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