The 1,200-plus teenagers in and around Van Buren, Arkansas attend Van Buren High School, and a huge part of their high school experience involves the school’s Clair Bates Arena, a 2,000-seat arena built in 2009. Unfortunately, budget constraints left its original sound reinforcement system underpowered and lacking critical intelligibility. Local A/V integration firm Commercial Audio Systems recently remedied that frustrating situation by installing a distributed Danley Sound Labs system comprised of eight Danley OS-80 full-range outdoor loudspeakers and eight Danley OS-115 subwoofers, citing their incredible fidelity and pattern control for delivering musical impact and intelligibility in an overly-live room.
“The arena is beautiful; it’s really stunning,” said Jim Crews, co-owner of Commercial Audio Systems. “They did a great job getting all of its permanent architectural aspects right, but when the project ran up against the budget, they cut corners on the original sound system. A local music store put the system in, and they did a fine job with the installation… but with inappropriate components. As a result, they had intelligibility and volume problems from day one. It was very frustrating for the school and the fans. We wanted to switch out the old system for one designed around Danley components, which, by virtue of their innovative designs provide excellent fidelity and pattern control. The pattern control was important because the room itself is very tall with a ton of reflective surfaces that have no acoustic treatment. We needed to deliver sound to the seats and nowhere else. Danley can do that.”
The timeline for Van Buren was jaw dropping. Commercial Audio Systems proposed a Danley system that was needed just ten days later! Moreover, the school officials needed proof of concept before they would sign off, so regional Danley rep Kim Comeaux of Anderson Sales and Marketing made a ten-hour trip from Houston to show the school officials what a Danley OS-80 could do for the arena. “We set up one OS-80 in center court on a stand, and the superintendent and athletic director walked around in the stands and listened,” said Crews. “Kim played spoken word by James Earl Jones to demonstrate the system’s ability to convey honest, intelligible low end, even in such a reverberant environment. They also got to play all of their own music through the system. They absolutely loved it and signed right then and there. Which was good, because we didn’t have a moment to lose!”
Danley came through with all sixteen boxes on the double, giving Commercial Audio Systems enough time to install and commission the system before the school’s first event of the year. The arena is broadly set up in a “U”-shaped configuration, with substantial (and steep) seating on the two long sides and one short side. Accordingly, three clusters cover each long side and two clusters cover the short-end seating. Each cluster is composed of a Danley OS-80 loudspeaker and a Danley OS-115 subwoofer. Two four-channel Danley DNA 20K4 Pro amplifiers provide abundant power, and a BiAmp Nexia processor handles a modest number of inputs, including a laptop and new Shure ULX-D digital wireless microphones. Crews used a “no knob” approach, whereby staff and coaches control the system through a custom iPad interface that permits only source volume changes, output volume changes, and zone on/off to minimize reverb from unused seating areas (for smaller events).