The Lea County Event Center, located in Hobbs, NM, has upgraded its installed sound system with QSC Audio WideLine-8 line arrays powered by CX Series amplifiers.
The multi-use venue, which can seat more than 10,000, hosts a diverse program of commercial, industrial, community, social, sports and entertainment events throughout the year.
In order to accommodate such a wide variety of events and to meet the venue’s budget, Casey McGrew, Senior Consultant at Tarpley Media Systems in Lubbock, TX, specified three hangs each of 10 WL3082 arrays together with four WL212-sw subwoofers and twenty three matching CX Series amplifiers to power the system.
“We covered almost 300 degrees with the three QSC arrays,” says McGrew, who specified a mono summed configuration, with the entire array covering a floor area measuring 245 feet by 110 feet.
McGrew initially chose a solution from another manufacturer before realizing it would not provide the power or coverage that the venue needed. Being his first experience with WideLine, McGrew was concerned that its technical specification might be marketing hype and not reality. “But the QSC worked just as described,” he notes. “Now I know why they call it WideLine – it has worked out very well.”
Two rings of reflective concrete walkways extending around the venue were a particular challenge. By using the venue’s existing digital signal processor, however, and by specifying a number of QSC amplifiers, McGrew was able to design precise control into the system.
“The arrays may have very wide horizontal coverage but vertically they’re very narrow, so I could keep the reflections from walkways to a minimum. I was very pleased with the end result,” he explains.
McGrew designed the system in consultation with QSC application engineer Rob Pingle “Rob and I had several long conversations. We did EASE predictions and his analysis pretty much matched mine—I was very pleased with that,” McGrew says. “All the money seats are well-covered; even the non-money seats. The seats at the edges and clear up to the top all sound good.”
McGrew has been involved with the venue since its construction in the early 1990s. “They called me because they got into trouble with the original sound system manufacturer. So, I gave them the name of one of the top 10 acoustic materials manufacturing companies, in Amarillo, Texas.”
As a result of installing sound treatment, he states, “That room is acoustically one of the better sounding arenas for its size. It let us use WideLine-8s to overcome the reverberant field and have a little more power so that you have a larger sweet spot.”
With no professional staging companies located in the region the venue must rely on hired labor for its productions. This necessitated an easy-to-use control system. According to McGrew, “It’s really simple. There are two line level inputs from the floor and two line level inputs up in the booth. The rest of the system is controlled by computers. The event personnel have an on/off switch—the entire system stages itself up and on, and turns itself off, without any pops or bangs. A second switch mutes the two side line arrays. So if they’re just going to use the floor they can cover the center all the way to the back with just one switch. That also reduces reverberation and makes it sound more intimate.”
“With the Lea County Event Center now offering first-class event personnel, easy loading access, essential power, air conditioning, green room and catering services, and a great sound system, it attracts a wide range of events,” he concludes. “On Father’s Day they had Bill Cosby there with over 11,000 people. They’ve had Travis Tritt and other country artists. The event center also hosts tractor pulls, graduations, weddings, and charity fundraisers. With all of the oil business that’s happening around there, they have a lot of major meetings. You just can’t imagine the range.”