Chardon HS Gymnasium Gets in the Zone with Electro‑Voice Sound System
At first glance, PA for a high school gymnasium might seem to be at the straightforward end of the sound installation spectrum. But with six individual zones to address on a modest, fixed budget, the Chardon High Gymnasium in Chardon, Ohio presented designer/installer Showtime Sound Company with what owner Sam Messina describes as a “tricky yet interesting project.” Working with Jason Jacquemain, Support Team Leader at Brunswick, Ohio manufacturers’ rep firm C. L. Pugh & Associates, Showtime was able to craft a solution that exceeded the school district’s expectations while respecting its financial constraints. At the heart of the new system are a controller, amplifiers, and loudspeakers from Electro-Voice.
Four of the system’s main zones are in the gymnasium itself, which is used primarily for physical education classes and school athletics—basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, rainy-day softball practice—as well as for dances, concerts, and special events such as commencement exercises. As with any gym or arena, one key task was to design the system’s dispersion pattern to minimize hard-surface reflections.
“It does exactly what we need it to do, and it’s one of the best‑priced units we've found.”
“Jason came out to the gym to take measurements,” Messina says, “and to note the type of surface materials in the gym and where the coverage was the most important. He then entered various speaker options into his computer modeling software, and it showed us the coverage patterns we could expect. We were able to maximize the impact of the speakers by positioning and angling them until the pattern was just right. There really isn't a dead spot anywhere, and the echo is minimal.”
The home and visitors sides of the stands make up zones 1 and 2 respectively, which are each covered with three white Electro-Voice Sx100+ compact composite 12-inch two-way loudspeakers. These loudspeakers are driven by an Electro-Voice CPS 2.6 power amplifier, one channel per zone. “We've never had a problem with a CPS series amp,” Messina says. “The durability is fantastic, they’re easy to install, and they sound and look great. It was the perfect choice to power the six Sx100+s because it has great power and a great price for an EV-quality product, which made it easier to fit in the budget.”
Zone 3 is the main floor of the gym, covered by four Electro-Voice EVID 6.2 dual 6-inch surface-mount loudspeakers that are mounted to the spine girder. Zone 4 is the upper grand stand on the home side, which is handled with four EVID 4.2 dual 4-inch two-way surface-mount loudspeakers. And Zone 6 is the cafeteria adjacent to the gym, outfitted with three existing Electro-Voice P1-100 loudspeakers that were relocated from their former perch on the gym ceiling. All three of those zones are handled with one pair of Electro-Voice PA2250T dual-channel amplifiers. Once again, Messina says, reliability was a key factor in amplifier selection.
“Like the CPS series,” he says, “the PA2250Ts look and sound great but the durability is particularly important. You have to stand behind the product when a component goes down, and call-backs cost us money. We don't get paid to go back to the job, pull out the defective unit, repair or replace it, and then re-install it. We've never had that happen with these amps.”
The PA2250Ts are operated in 70-V mode, with an additional 70-V volume control inserted for each of the loudspeakers in the cafeteria. “They wanted the cafeteria split into three volume-controlled zones,” Messina explains. The PA2250Ts are also slated to handle Zone 5, which is wired up for future use to cover a small auxiliary gym next to the main gym when additional funding is available. “They will probably install a pair of EVID 4.2s. At 270 watts into 70 volts, the PA2250Ts leave them plenty of headroom and expansion capability.”
The six-zone configuration was a perfect match for the DC-One two-in/six-out processor that controls the system. “The DC-ONE is one of the easiest-to-use DSP controllers on the market,” Messina says. “It’s extremely versatile, it has a wealth of options, and it’s laid-out extremely well. This gym is very zone-specific, so the versatility of being able to select any zone, equalize all the zones, and delay certain zones was phenomenal. Plus you get all these great features in a single rack space. It does exactly what we need it to do, and it’s one of the best-priced units we've found.”
With the control, versatility, and performance of the Electro-Voice components, Messina says, “the school is ecstatic. A gentleman named Dave Jevnikar from the Chardon Booster Club, which raises money for the school, oversaw the project for the school and was on-site for most of the installation. He has since recommended us for two other jobs, which gives you an idea of how happy they were. All in all it was a challenging but rewarding project. I've been selling Electro-Voice products since 1974. They've always been fantastic, and they just keep getting better.”