The J.D. McArthur Arena seats 3,500 for ice hockey games and 3,000 for lacrosse games and resides within the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. The Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League and the Owen Sound Woodsmen of the Ontario Lacrosse Association both call it home. Although thoroughly modern in most respects (including private boxes and a restaurant), the arena suffered from a sound reinforcement system with poor intelligibility and impact. A recent renovation, led by Straight Street Event Services of Cambridge, Ontario, took the sound system from terrible to fantastic with the replacement of the existing loudspeakers to the fully-weatherized Danley Sound Labs OS80s.
“The owners of the hockey team wanted a better experience for their ticket holders,” explained Keith Broughton, an independent contractor who led the design and installation on behalf of Straight Street. “The existing system did not provide clear announcements, and the quality and SPL of music playback did not cover all seating areas sufficiently. Many people complained that they couldn’t understand the announcer, and, this being a fairly small town, those complaints reached the right ears… many times!” Keith Kissner, the owner of Straight Street Event Services, who has a trusted relationship with the owners, hired Broughton to help evaluate the owners’ requirements, evaluate the existing system, recommend a solution, oversee its implementation, and test and tune the system after installation. In addition, he added, “and I would take the heat if the new system didn’t live up to expectations!”
Kissner and Broughton have been using a Danley TH-115 subwoofer in a rental application and were impressed by its performance. Based on that experience, together with the realization that it was precisely the “conventional” aspects of conventional loudspeakers that had so failed the McArthur Arena, Broughton scheduled a two-day trip to visit Danley headquarters in Georgia. “The folks at the ‘lab’ treated me very well,” he said. “They made me feel welcomed and answered all of my questions. They’re clearly interested in building relationships with the people who use their products. Southern hospitality is alive and well!”
Broughton’s requirements for the new loudspeakers were exceptional vocal clarity, high directivity, good visual appeal, and even coverage across the spectrum. A lightweight, easy-to-rig design was also important, as was a weather-resistant enclosure since the arena becomes very humid during the transition from lacrosse to hockey. “I originally spoke with Ivan Beaver, Danley’s chief engineer, about the Danley SM-80, which met my requirements,” said Broughton. “He turned me on to the new Danley OS-80, which has the SM-80’s characteristics plus a truly weatherproof enclosure and less overall weight. My visit to Danley headquarters gave me a chance to listen to the product and to talk with Ivan about its technical points. I left confident that the OS-80 was the right product.”
The new system covers the seating area only and was “piggy-backed” onto the existing control system. The Straight Street installation team removed the old loudspeakers and amplifiers and left the rest of the house system as it was. Broughton added a new Xilica processor, which conditions the system and feeds three Crest Pro9200 amplifiers. The amplifiers power five sets of four Danley OS-80s each (twenty OS-80s total), and the remaining channel powers a new Danley TH-118 subwoofer mounted over center-ice. Broughton and the Straight Street crew mounted the OS-80s directly on the roof trussing with the included yokes using beam clamps. “Director of Danley University, Doug Jones was also very generous with his time, and walked me through the use of the speaker prediction software,” he said. “That further convinced me that the OS-80 was the right tool for the job. Its 80-degree pattern is perfect for covering the front to rear seats and proved to be just as the Danley speaker prediction software had indicated.”
He continued, “The J.D. McArthur Arena may not be a big ticket install compared to what Danley usually does, but to this client, this is THE big ticket item. As you can imagine, my reputation, the reputation of this sound company, and the satisfaction of the client were riding on this products ability to deliver. The OS-80 and the support from Danley both exceeded my expectations. Danley included high-grade wire with the weather resistant coupler, they pre-lubricated the hardware, and they coated the grill with weather resistant film. Those details were not lost on me or the installation team! Both the arena technical staff and the hockey team’s director of marketing met the initial audio demonstration with a big ‘WOW, we have never heard sound like that in here!’ In fact, the members of the arena tech crew were so impressed that they want to add more Danley OS-80s to cover the ice area.” We are very happy with the OS80 and hope to use more Danley Sound Lab products in the future.