Dry Gulch, USA, a year-round camp and retreat center located on the shores of Lake Hudson in Oklahoma, is using a variety of Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers for themed musical entertainment and public address purposes in a multi-zone audio system covering several hundred acres of property.
Dry Gulch, USA, owned by Church on the Move of Tulsa, was established as a summer camp for children in 1986. The campus has grown into a multi-purpose destination point featuring a 700-seat performance hall, a mini-amusement park, overnight quarters, holiday events and a “Town Square” downtown area that is a replica of an old west town.
Stephen Arruda, AV Coordinator for Dry Gulch, USA, was hired last year to upgrade technology throughout the campus, including an audio system that had fallen into disrepair. Since then he has establish a multi-zone distributed audio system featuring a large number of Technomad Berlin and Vernal loudspeakers at various points around the campus, including large building rooftops, underneath building eves, and along the main entrance.
“There is a philosophy here to not use equipment that needs constant repair work, and the weather here is so extreme that the older speakers deteriorated to a point where they were unusable,” said Arruda. “We’re spread very thin, and it’s a waste of time to drive around the ground repairing equipment every day, continually replacing drivers and performing maintenance. The Technomad loudspeakers are designed to handle condensation and extreme weather better than any other speaker I have seen. And the audio quality we get out of them is simply amazing.”
Arruda relies on the Technomads to provide a themed musical environment at most of the installation points. For example, two Berlin loudspeakers installed on the rooftop of the 700-seat Town Hall are synchronized to an indoor audio system. The Berlins reproduce music taking place indoors to signal the beginning of daily chapel services and other events.
Elsewhere, a series of Vernal loudspeakers outside of the Silver Dollar Saloon in Town Square extend live music indoors to the immediate outside areas. Arruda also occasionally sets up temporary Berlin installations by the lake to entertain guests and campers while they swim and relax on the shore.
While musical entertainment is a significant responsibility of the Berlins, public address is also very important considering the size of the campus. James Mitchell, Account Manager from regional design-build contractor Ford Audio-Video, said that the Berlin loudspeakers are the ideal solution for public address over such large areas.
“The Technomad Berlins supply a rich and reliable sound throughout the park area, and are in perfect locations so visitors can hear pages and special announcements from long distance,” said Mitchell. “The voice reproduction is extremely clear. The Berlins also have an abundance of fly points, and that design is helpful for challenging rooftop installations such as those at Dry Gulch, where the loudspeakers are anchored from the base.”
Arruda added that he is slowly moving toward a single distributed audio system across the entire campus. To this point, he has established a five-zone system that includes multiple Technomad loudspeakers all tied to a central audio distribution hub. A large number of Vernal loudspeakers are included in this zoned system, many linked together over long distances in a 70-volt configuration.
“The main reason we chose the Vernal over competitive loudspeakers in that price range is because they cover a lot more ground in smaller package,” said Arruda.“The audio quality is amazing, and they offer very broad dispersion at a reasonable cost.
“The 70-volt configuration allows me to easily add more Vernals to the existing system. The Vernals include multi-tap configurations for distributing audio over longer distances, and we can set different wattages for improved audio control in different areas. It’s also far less labor intensive. You don’t need to provide a home run from every loudspeaker back to the central hub.”
Arruda expects to add more Berlins, Vernals and Technomad Vienna loudspeakers around the campus in the near future, and also plans to merge two standalone Berlin systems into the multi-zone audio distribution network.