The Louisiana State University Tigers football team plays all of its home games at Tiger Stadium on the school’s Baton Rouge campus. Nicknamed “Death Valley,” the stadium’s deafening roar of 92,500 Tigers fans is notorious for scrambling the communications and sapping the confidence of the Tigers’ unlucky opponents. Indeed, the NCAA ranked Tiger Stadium as the loudest stadium in college football, noting as an example that fans’ euphoric response to a last-minute LSU touchdown in 1988 measured as a minor earthquake on the campus seismograph! Despite this, Tiger Stadium persisted until recently with an underpowered sound reinforcement system that one list-serve commenter likened unfavorably to a car radio. No more. With a beefy Danley Sound Labs sound reinforcement system that includes eighteen Jericho Horns and six “Rock Monster” subwoofers, Tiger Stadium’s music playback system is now positioned to whip LSU fans to even greater fervor.
“The old system was expressly designed for public address, not music playback,” explained Larry Lucas, director of audio engineering for Anthony James Partners (Richmond, Virginia) and the person responsible for designing LSU’s new sound reinforcement system. “Given the game-day experience demanded from fans these days, a serious upgrade was a necessity. The point-source system that we designed flanks the LED screen on the north end of the stadium and throws eight-hundred feet across to the south end zone seating. With the Danley Jericho Horns, we were able to throw 8kHz that full distance with program material that measured 105dBA. That’s an unprecedented technical leap!” Baker Audio of Norcross, Georgia installed the system.
Fourteen Danley J3-64 full-range Jericho Horns comprise the bulk of the new system, while four Danley J4-31 high-frequency Jericho Horns contribute to the system’s amazing high-end throw. Six Danley TH-812 “Rock Monster” subwoofers fill out the bottom of the system with thunderous low end. Four Danley SH-96s, four Danley SH-64s, four Danley SM-80s, and twenty Danley SH-MINIs provide fill for areas not directly covered by the Jericho Horns. A 32-channel Yamaha LS9 provides a familiar front end, while a QSC Q-Sys processing system feeds twenty-four Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Q and 20000Q amplifiers behind the scenes.
Mike Hedden, co-founder and president of Danley Sound Labs commented. “We measured the frequency response of the completed system at hundreds of positions around the stadium and the system is remarkably consistent with solid bass down into the mid 20Hz region and top end extending into the 10kHz range even at seats eight-hundred feet away. This is unprecedented performance in a venue this size and could only be achieved within the limitations of the scoreboard using Danley’s unique technologies.”
The north end scoreboard sits over eighty feet from ground level, and each loudspeaker and subwoofer had to be lifted individually by crane to that height. Then the Baker Audio rigging crew set up a beam trolley system with rigging motors to lift each set into position, to secure final rigging hardware, and to lock in the angles and aiming points. Because Tiger Stadium is in a hurricane zone, everything had to be slightly over-engineered to make sure that the rigging tolerances would hold up to hurricane force winds.
“There are always questions about how a system’s real life performance will compare to the acoustical models we work with in the design process,” commented Chris Moore, senior project manager with Baker Audio. “Given the throw distances at Tiger Stadium, a few degrees in coverage pattern or small variables in the overall acoustic performance could have been very time consuming to correct in the field. No one wants to do a redesign in the field, especially given the rigging elements that we had to use on this job. Thankfully, the Danley speakers performed exactly as the design models predicted they would, so we did not have to change any rigging angles or aiming points once we had the speakers hanging in the air. That made the installation process fast and efficient. It’s always a good day when everything performs as planned.”
“The Danley J3-64 Jericho Horns, together with the additional Danley fill speakers, combined to provide uniform coverage throughout the stadium, including the far upper end zone seating,” said Doug Stancil, senior engineer with Baker Audio. “The coverage was complicated by Tiger Stadium’s extended sideline seating, which reaches up to 175 feet at its highest point. The Danley system covers all of those seats very well. I was also impressed by the performance of the Danley TH-812 subs in the far field. Although I have been in stadiums where the low end starts to fall off at the fifty-yard line, this is definitely not the case at Louisiana State University. Fans will feel the full impact of the ‘Tiger Roar’ wherever they sit!”