Spectra, the venue management and operator of the Iowa Events Center (Des Moines, IA), recently teamed up with Daktronics on the design-build update of the sound system at the center’s Wells Fargo Arena, a project headed by Electro-Voice line arrays driven by Dynacord amplifiers.
The goal was to modernize the sound both within the arena – which serves as the region’s primary sports and entertainment venue – and for several ancillary areas outside the main space, including concourses, restaurant/bars, and interview rooms. The project was led by David Sturzenbecher, applications engineer in the Audio Systems division of Daktronics, with the physical installation managed by Daktronics field engineer Thijs Hammink.
Sturzenbecher elected to fly a series EV XLD291 compact line arrays, with a key factor being the physical size of the loudspeakers, which provide full audio coverage within the bowl area without interfering with sightlines to the main floor and video scoreboards. A total of 94 XLD291 elements are deployed in eight separate arrays ranging from nine to 13 boxes each. Coverage for the main floor itself comes courtesy of four Electro-Voice EVH-1152 horn-loaded loudspeakers hung within the scoreboard structure.
Another EVH-1152 is deployed as a fill loudspeaker for the low seats behind each basket. As with the majority of its stadium projects, Daktronics also specified an Electro-Voice RE20 broadcast microphone for the announcer.
“The unique thing about Wells Fargo Arena is that it’s symmetrical across one axis, but varies wildly on the other, so the south end of the house has only about two-thirds the seating of the north end. We also needed to account for the Plexiglas dasher boards used for hockey, which can create shadowing if the arrays aren’t positioned precisely,” explains Sturzenbecher. “We mapped the venue in EASE, which allowed us to position everything for full audio coverage without blocking sightlines to the center video board. Because we are, after all, also a video board company.”
Amplification throughout the arena is provided by Dynacord IPX series multi-channel DSP amplifiers for fixed installation. This enables both digital processing and Dante networking of the entire system while also providing efficient power and additional system performance and protection technologies. “Originally, we were considering another amp for this project,” says Sturzenbecher, “but when Dynacord came out with the IPX series, we found the processing and tuning for the entire EV system works natively in them, so we gladly made that change,”.
For the ancillary areas outside the arena’s main bowl, Daktronics employed a wide range of Electro-Voice surface-mount loudspeakers, primarily the EVID-S models with a proprietary quick-mount system. More than 180 EVID-S5.2XBs were required to expand coverage beyond the concession stands, helping to eliminate dead spots on the concourses while upgrading the audio in the facility’s restaurants and bars.
Further, dedicated interview room received nine EVID C8.2 ceiling loudpeakers, while the service level entrance downstairs is covered by 12 EVID-S8.2TB models. Various bar areas are served by ceiling-mounted C10.1 and EVID-S10.1DB subwoofers plus 20 C4.2 ceiling loudspeakers.
The new sound system has received high marks from all involved. Spectra’s A.J. Johnson, production manager for the arena, states, “Wells Fargo Arena needed improved sound quality and clarity to ensure the best experience for our guests. We also needed a timely installation that stayed on budget. Daktronics nailed all our needs and stayed patient when we needed to make adjustments. The new EV sound system checked all our boxes with a greatly improved listening experience throughout the arena. We are also very happy to have improved flexibility of use to fit our varied types and sizes of shows and events.”