For a 5,000-seat arena in a city of only 15,000, the Glens Falls Civic Center in upstate Glens Falls, New York has had more than its share of history. In 1986, nineteen-year old Mike Tyson won his twentieth straight professional boxing win at GFCC; in 1989, The Who launched their 25th Anniversary Tour at GFCC; and in 1994, Phish performed its first “Halloween Costume” show with a cover of The Beatles White Album in its entirety at GFCC. In addition to hosting concerts, rodeos, wrestling, comedy shows, area graduation ceremonies, and the like, GFCC is the regular home to the Adirondack Thunder hockey team of the East Coast Hockey League. GFCC recently got a massive upgrade to its sound reinforcement system: Fourteen Danley SH-96 point source loudspeakers powered by Ashly processing and amplifiers now ring the rink and provide unparalleled pattern control, intelligibility, and coverage.
“The Civic Center came to us with big intelligibility problems,” explained Seth Waltz, president of AVL Designs (Penfield, New York), the firm that oversaw the design and commissioning of the new system. “We did some testing and confirmed that the existing line array system was entirely missing a significant number of seats. It was a design problem, and they hoped we could fix it on a very tight budget by essentially filling the holes with new boxes.” Waltz and AVL Designs design consultant Geoff Nichols investigated that possibility and determined that restrictions on rigging and other logistical considerations made such a “Band-Aid” more costly than a full Danley-based re-do.
“Danley’s point-source design sounds great,” said Waltz, “even without any processing at all. Spoken word sounds natural and balanced. Although he tried a few other Danley boxes, Geoff worked out a model with fourteen Danley SH-96s distributed around the hockey rink that satisfied their limited budget and covered the room beautifully. Moreover, it put the loudspeakers in locations that wouldn’t conflict with touring shows – the Center’s staff had to frequently pull down the existing line arrays depending on the act.” Brown Sound Equipment (Syracuse, New York) installed the system, with help on the challenging rigging from BMI Supply (Queensbury, New York).
To shore up coverage of the few rows closest to the glass for hockey games (within budget!), AVL repurposed the bottom boxes from the old line arrays. Thus, each of the fourteen clusters is comprised of a Danley SH-96 on top and a QSC WideLine element below. New Electro-Voice wired microphones and new Shure ULX wireless microphones provide high-intelligibility inputs, and a new Midas M32 digital console wrangles the inputs effectively and with easy digital recall for regular events. In addition, AVL tied a new Ashly ne24.24M matrix processor configured as a 4×8 to Ashly’s free customizable iPad end-user control, which allows the GFCC to mute clusters and make other system-wide changes easily. Seven Ashly nXe 3.04 four-channel amplifiers power the new Danley boxes. Existing QSC processing and amplification drive the remnant QSC boxes.
DSP-wise,” said Waltz, “we’ve never had any major failures with Ashly products, and we’ve got thousands of Ashly Protea processing channels out there. Just as importantly, Ashly’s processing interface is easy enough to understand that we can walk end-users through it over the phone. That can’t be said of most other manufacturers’ interfaces.”
He continued, “Even without the down-fills, we tested the system, and intelligibility is way up – dramatically better than the old system. There’s also a nice amount of bass. We didn’t want to add subs to such a reverberant environment, but the SH-96s warm it up without making things boomy. One of the first events that happened after the new system came on line was a WWE pro wrestling show, and they really appreciated the new bass response!”