The Knowles Physical Education Center, a large multi-purpose facility on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – River Falls was recently outfitted with a new sound reinforcement systemdesigned and installed by Burnsville, Minnesota-based Intermedia Systems Group (ISG), and featuring Ashly Audio NE-series network and DSP-enabled amplifiers.
In addition to hosting graduation ceremonies, which seat 3,000, the Knowles Center hosts indoor track events and physical education classes. When not used for those purposes, the university opens it up to the community, consistent with the “Wisconsin idea” of public service.
Thus, the sound system is used for background music throughout most of the day. During track events, it provides a mix of background music and announcements.
Joel Evermann, systems consultant at ISG, provided the new system with Shure wireless microphones, an iPod dock, and radio and CD inputs. A Biamp Nexia CS provides a “front end” for the system, including input selection and processing.
From there, a single, two-rack space, eight-channel Ashly NE8250 provides power for eight Community R.5 full-range loudspeakers. A two-channel Ashly NE1600 provides the low-end power for a pair of Community CPL55 subwoofers.
The Ashly NE-series amplifiers provide speaker processing using two SHARC 32-bit/96 kHz chips each. Ashly’s features allow for musical equalization, filtering, delay and dynamics algorithms to perfectly tune the speakers to the room.
“In addition to the usual budgetary constraints, we were also quite limited in terms of space,” said Evermann. “Being able to cram so many channels of high power amplification into just four rack spaces was critical.”
The Ashly NE-series amplifiers ship network ready and are designed to work with “plug and play” reliability. Indeed, that fits nicely with ISG’s emphasis on “the IT side of things, in addition to traditional audio/visual work,” in Evermann’s words.
He continued, “Networking audio systems cuts down tremendously on travel costs. Service is easier from the installer’s standpoint and less costly for the client. Network ready devices, such as the NE-series amps, have definitely expanded horizons for contractors and users alike.”
With the new system up and running, UW River Falls technicians no longer worry about dropped audio, whether it’s during an important graduation speech, a track event, or open gym time. “We really hit the performance they wanted under the budget they required,” concluded Evermann. “The whole thing is transparent, compact, and user-friendly. It’s the kind of sound system that just does what it’s supposed to do.”