In terms of sound quality, a personal computer can be a rather hostile tool if it’s not interfaced with the right equipment, which was the case at the HP Pavilion at San Jose.
Working alongside a variety of broadcast quality capable sound sources, the laptop computer sounded positively dismal, but the situation recently improved dramatically with the addition of a Type 10S Stereo DI from Countryman Associates.
The HP Pavilion (formerly known as the San Jose Arena and Compaq Center) is the permanent home to two professional sports teams and also hosts sporting functions as varied as fencing, volleyball, and Sumo wrestling. Additionally, it plays host to numerous entertainment events.
Mike O’Brien is the technical services manager at the HP Pavilion, responsible for all aspects of audio throughout the complex in addition to managing the technical staff that operates the facility’s video and lighting systems, O’Brien described the frustrating condition he experienced prior to deploying the Countryman Type 10S DI.
“I was faced with the task of getting a laptop computer’s audio output to sound as good as our other broadcast quality devices, including CD players and a 360 Systems Instant Replay device,” O’Brien explains. “Prior to the Type 10S, I was using an external USB sound card and it just wasn’t getting the job done. Once I patched in the Type 10S, everything that, sonically, I was previously missing was suddenly there—complete with really clear highs and a full sounding low end.
“With the Type 10S, I finally achieved sound quality on par with the other equipment we use. Most importantly, it provided a level of consistency to the overall sound that we simply weren’t getting before.”
Interfacing the Countryman Type 10S DI with the existing setup was easy. After taking the laptop computer’s 3.5 mm TRS stereo output and connecting the left and right channels to the corresponding inputs on the Type 10S DI, O’Brien ran two cables terminated in XLR connectors into the house console.
“Setup couldn’t have been easier,” O’Brien notes. “The Type 10S DI was patched in and operational in a matter of a minute or so.”
The HP Pavilion at San Jose took delivery of their Countryman Type 10S DI in early December 2010 and, since that time, it’s been smooth sailing in terms of laptop computer audio quality. “From the moment I connected the Type 10S, all the highs and deep lows that I was missing were suddenly right there in my face,” O’Brien reports.
“With this direct box, everything sounds exactly as I had hoped for and it couldn’t be easier to use. I made my connections and it worked just as I had hoped for right away. That’s a beautiful thing.”
Countryman Associates Website