The climate in Madisonville, Texas is officially classified as “humid subtropical,” which somehow puts too sterile a gloss on its hot, sultry summers punctuated regularly by drenching and often violent storm systems. Madisonville Consolidated Independent School District is responsible for educating the children of the town’s 5,000 residents, as well as those of the surrounding unincorporated areas. The 600-plus students who attend Madisonville High School participate in a range of sports, including baseball and softball, with significant parts of spring season overlapping with the aforementioned weather. Dallas-based Romeo Music, who has been serving educational institutions for well over a decade, recently designed and installed a new sound reinforcement system for the baseball and softball fields using Danley Sound Labs’ new high-fidelity OS12CX fully-weatherproof loudspeakers.
“The original sound system for the fields used several small, ‘honky’ horns, which were okay for pages but didn’t do so well with music,” explained Kevin Deal, regional sales manager with Romeo Music. “And that system quit two years ago. Madisonville played two seasons without a sound system! Romeo Music provides a lot of equipment for the school, and we’ve developed a good relationship over the years. When the school officials lost confidence in the A/V integration firm that had originally been hired to install a new sound system, they asked us if we could provide that same service. We walked the facility, met with the administration, and evaluated the possibilities. The budget was tight, but Danley has bailed me out of other budget situations because I need so many fewer Danley boxes compared to designs with conventional boxes and because Danley boxes are, in my opinion, underpriced relative to their performance.”
The two fields meet along their sides, with enough space for dugouts and spectators on both sides. A single large press box behind home plate allows two games to be called at the same time. Madisonville CISD wanted a sound system that could give clear, intelligible pages to each field with minimal crosstalk and that could capably play music before games and between innings. Covering the fields themselves was not a priority, but the school hoped there would be some spill for the teams during warm-up.
“We’ve had a lot of success with our Danley systems in the past,” Deal said. “We can design Danley systems with fewer boxes, which saves a lot of money, and we’re happy that they are American-made and fully supported by some of the best engineers and technicians in the industry. And of course, their patented Synergy Horn technology sounds great. I reached out to Kim Comeaux [Anderson Sales & Marketing, area Danley rep] and told him about the requirements and budget constraints. He recommended the new Danley OS12CX, which is a shorter-throw box with a wide coverage pattern. Importantly, it is completely weatherized, which would be important for any outdoor system, but especially so in the humid rain belt between Dallas and Houston. Although I had never heard the OS12CX, I trusted that, like every other Danley box I’ve ever heard, it would be great. As soon as we fired them up, I was like, ‘yep, made the right decision!’”
Four Danley OS12CXs mounted on the press box cover both fields (two to a field), with angles and positioning so as to maximize coverage and minimize overlap. A four-channel QSC PLD4.5 provides abundant power to the system, with integrated DSP to allow modest equalization and overload protection. Two new microphones and an Allen & Heath two-zone mixer complete the tidy system. Deal noted that it rained for fully half the time they were installing the system, a poetic foreshadowing of the conditions the loudspeakers would endure in the days, months, and years to come. In addition, strong winds accompanied the rains, and Deal was impressed with the strength and weather-readiness of the mounting brackets and hardware.
“I find that most people assume that a weatherized loudspeaker will always sound ‘honky,’” Deal said. “Not so with this system! I tuned it with a collection of songs I’m really used to hearing in a variety of circumstances – different songs that indicate different kinds of problems if they don’t sound right. The OS12CXs required very few and only minor adjustments; we’re running the system almost flat. And even if it’s not ‘chest-thumping,’ the system has plenty of bass even without a subwoofer. When we first turned it on, we really opened it up, and it was a good deal louder than it needed to be. That’s great, because it means they have plenty of headroom, which will prolong the life of every component and ensure their investment pays dividends long into the future.”