At just over 100,000 square feet, the largest public space in the city of Wasilla, Alaska is the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center. It is capable of handling 5,000 visitors, which is a common occurrence at graduations, rallies, and, of course, hockey & indoor football contests.
It opened in 2004, but its original sound reinforcement system was so ineffective that the facility had to rent a sound system for every event of consequence. Even then, intelligibility was marginal. The facility recently upgraded to Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers, which, by virtue of their exceptionally well-defined pattern control, minimize the reflections that had doomed all previous solutions to deliver crisp, intelligible sound.
“The original system consisted of four mid-grade horns in the middle of the room supplemented by a collection of 70-volt ceiling speakers,” explained Phil Ballard, principal of Sound Decisions, the firm that designed and installed the new system in Wasilla. “The main problem was the room’s acoustics. The reverb time is between four and six seconds.”
“With the old system, intelligibility was nonexistent. Literally, it was impossible to understand anything that was being said.”
When intelligibility was critical, such as at graduations, a rented system provided marginal intelligibility. “If you were paying close attention, you would be able to hear your kid’s name when it was called,” laughed Ballard. Clearly, something needed to be done.
“Apart from the prohibitively expensive solution of treating the entire room, the only option was a loudspeaker system that would focus its energy on the main floor and the bleachers… and nothing else,” he continued. “Danley’s exclusive technologies maintain pattern control several octaves below conventional designs.”
“I’ve been especially impressed by the new Danley Genesis Horn GH-60. It does exactly what you tell it to do… and nothing else.” Ballard installed three Danley Genesis Horn GH-60s in a central cluster above the main floor. Their patterns mate in such a way that the entire floor is covered, and little else.
For the bleachers, Ballard used four Danley SM-96s arrayed in a line extending the length of the floor. Two Danley DBH-218 subwoofers flown just behind the cluster of GH-60s provide the low-end support that communicates, “this is a full-blooded sound system.” To facilitate the many uses of the room, Ballard gave the staff the option of using the floor system, the bleacher system, or both. Just four Danley DSLA 6.5k amplifiers power the entire system, with routing logic and speaker conditioning provided by a Danley DSLP48 processor.
“The new system is completely unlike the old system,” said Ballard. “For example, the facility recently hosted a teachers’ meeting. There were 2,200 teachers there for talks and breakout sessions. Despite the room’s reverb, everyone could understand every word that was said, without straining. I received a lot of compliments.” At 61°34’21”N, the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center is currently the most northerly Danley installation on the planet. However, a proposed Danley installation in Fairbanks may make that a short-lived distinction.
Danley Sound Labs