Electro‑Voice & Paladin Team for Winning Sound at GaREAT Complex

August 24, 2010

Having laid claim to the moon with a Declaration of Lunar Ownership in 1966, Geneva, Ohio is a small city with a history of thinking big. So it's no surprise that the local GaREAT Sports Complex, operated by the non-profit Geneva Area Recreational, Educational, Athletic Trust, is an ambitious undertaking. Started just two years ago, the multi-sport recreational facility on a 175-acre campus already encompasses more than 450,000 square feet of indoor fields, courts, and tracks for year-round practices and competitions, as well as an outdoor stadium with a field and a track. Sound throughout the facility, which also includes dining and meeting rooms, has been handled by Paladin Professional Sound of Valley View, Ohio, working in close cooperation with manufacturers’ representatives C. L. Pugh & Associates of Brunswick, Ohio.

With two decades of experience serving clients including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Browns, The Ohio State University, Quicken Loans Arena, and Kent State University, Paladin is no stranger to the design, installation, and service of large-scale systems. Even so, Paladin's John Davidson, who led the design and installation effort, is impressed with the high bar the Trust has set for the GaREAT Complex. "They've got a facility that is second to none in the state of Ohio," Davidson says, "and they want sound that is as state-of-the-art as everything else."

“These EV speakers can take the weather extremes, and they can also be pole mounted, which was an important consideration in our design.”

To meet GaREAT's standards, Paladin has relied on sound systems built around Electro-Voice loudspeakers, amplifiers, and controllers. "Electro-Voice is my preferred speaker line," Davidson says. "For projects that merit modeling in EASE, I will always choose to model a system based on Electro-Voice over anything else, unless there's no EV product that fits a specific application. And when we get an EV system installed and running, it not only covers the way it should according to EASE, but more often than not we are surprised that the overall sound is even better than we expected. So, having a positive history with the EV line, I'm not typically going to choose anything else."

A case in point is the latest stage of the multi-phase build-out of the GaREAT Complex, which included installation of the sound system for the stadium. Used for football, lacrosse, soccer, and track, the stadium is home to the region's semi-pro football team and also hosts practices, games, and events for local leagues and high school and collegiate teams. The outdoor system was configured as a combination of wall-mounted and pole-mounted Electro-Voice loudspeaker systems.

"Geneva is in the snow belt," Davidson says, "and these speakers are going to have to stand up to some of the harshest weather in the country. These EV speakers can take the weather extremes, and they can also be pole mounted, which was an important consideration in our design."

For bleacher coverage, Paladin chose 18 Electro-Voice ZX5 15-inch, two-way, composite-enclosure loudspeakers – nine each on the stadium-facing walls of the buildings that bracket the long sides of the space. "We wanted the system to sound noticeably better than what people would typically run into, even at college and professional sports facilities," Davidson says, "and the sonic quality of the ZX5 is awesome. We also needed speakers that don't weigh too much, to avoid harming the steel siding, so the composite body of the ZX series is a great advantage. And the design of the mounting bracket also helped us achieve a stable mount without damaging the siding."

For on-field coverage, including events for which a stage is set on the field and amphitheater seating is set up in an end zone, Paladin pole-mounted more composite-enclosure systems from Electro-Voice: a total of eight SX600 high-output, dual 12-inch, two-way, full-range systems and six Electro-Voice Sb122 12-inch subwoofers (in a directional cluster of three in each end zone). The setup is powered by Electro-Voice CPS 4.10 Contractor Precision Series amplifiers.

"The CPS 4.10s are perfect for the job," Davidson says, "because each amp gives us four channels of 1000 watts each into 4 ohms, so we need only one amp for each pole." The amplifiers are each outfitted with optional RCM-810 remote control modules that allow them to be operated via an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller that Paladin set up to give the customer easy touch-screen control over the system's various zones.

"Because of the cable distances involved," Davidson says, "a football field would typically be handled with a constant-voltage, high-impedance distributed system, possibly 100 volts. But because we had the ability to control the amplifiers via NetMax, we were able to put each amp into a thermally-controlled Hoffman enclosure at the base of each pole and drive all the speakers at low impedance. By eliminating step-up and step-down transformers, we have a signal that is much cleaner and has no core saturation at higher levels. NetMax allows us to make the system as high-fidelity as possible."

The overall result, Davidson says, is "fantastic — really good sound. There's not a bad seat in the house, sonically. Every seat is consistent within plus or minus 3dB. You've got plenty of bass thump for modern music, incredible clarity from the announcer, the wireless referee mic is crystal clear, and there are no feedback issues whatsoever. It's just an awesome system. We've now done four different Electro-Voice systems for the GaREAT Complex, and they keep coming back to us for more."

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