Built in the early 1960s as part of the city’s convention center, the Long Beach Arena is a cornerstone of entertainment in Southern California, hosting sporting events such as the 1984 Olympic volleyball tournaments to live performances as diverse as Cirque Du Soleil, Iron Maiden, Run-DMC and Disney on Ice.
The arena’s Pacific Ballroom, along with the rest of the convention center, has recently reopened after a series of renovations that includes new audio, lighting, and curtaining system (the largest ceiling grid in the country).
The latter has been recognized by Venues Today magazine with an Ops and Tech Awards, and more importantly has helped transform the arena into even more of a multi-functional venue with the 46,000-square-foot, 200-foot long elliptical floor able to be partitioned for use without the surrounding arena seating, and arranged in a wide range of configurations.
While the curtain does wonders to partition and conceal the arena seating and frame the flat floor, it does little for the acoustics of the space, which presented a challenge in finding a sound system flexible enough to meet the demands of its wide-ranging roster of events.
Working with architectural firm John Fisher & Associates, engineering firm JR Clancy, and installers Pro Sound, Burbank, CA-based Electronsonic designed the new audio system.
The loudspeakers mount on a moveable ceiling grid, comprised of left and right hangs of 10 Renkus-Heinz IC2 digitally steerable array cabinets per side. Each array is augmented by eight IC118S subwoofers for low-frequency power and punch.
Electrosonics Andy Batwinas explains that it’s a concept that likely hasn’t been implemented on this scale. “The grid itself can lower to 30 feet for smaller events, and raise up to 70 feet for games and larger events,” he says.
A series of connection points allows the loudspeakers to move around the grid depending on the desired configuration. Once in place, the IC2 arrays’ digitally steered beam technology can be configured to cover only the areas needed, steering sound away from the hall’s reflective outer areas.
The grid can also lowered and removed for events like a Cirque Du Soleil show, providing full access to the 75-foot ceiling, and the IC2 arrays can be removed from the grid and ground stacked as well.
“The IC2 delivers such even sound pressure level from front to back,” Batwinas says. “When we did the demo, it was set up at the far end of the arena and shot down the long way. You could walk the whole space, cover the floor, and keep it a solid 98 dB SPL from one side to the other.”
The system is networked using Renkus-Heinz RHAON control, enabling the arena’s technical crew to implement preset coverage configurations for different event needs, and making quick changeovers possible with the press of a button.
“The IC2 steered beam technology made it a vastly superior alternative to a standard line array system,” Batwinas states. “With the IC2 you can aim the sound down to the floor so it’s not bouncing off the architecture.”
Based on the success of this IC2 application, Renkus-Heinz VARIA modular point source arrays and 12 VA15S subwoofers were added to cover the Arena’s 19,000-square-foot lobby area and 29,000-square-foot concourse. VARIA’s modular design and variable dispersion patterns enable the systems to be custom configured for the area’s different ballrooms, theaters, halls, and atrium.
Additionally, 16 CFX81 loudspeakers were installed in the ceiling of the arena’s lobby for added foreground coverage.
The Long Beach Arena’s grand re-opening late last year met with rave reviews, and the ballroom will be hosting a full calendar and an exciting 2014.