L-Acoustics Heads Up Audio Overhaul At University of Wyoming’s “Dome of Doom”

The University of Wyoming’s 15,000-seat Arena-Auditorium—home to the NCAA Division 1 Cowboys basketball team and colloquially known as the “Dome of Doom”—has been outfitted with a new sound reinforcement system headed by L-Acoustics Kiva loudspeaker arrays that’s part of a $12 million upgrade of the facility.

The venue has also hosted prestigious guest speakers over the decades as well as all of the university’s commencements, with the original sound system, circa 1982, showing its age and in need of a significant upgrade.

“The previous sound system didn’t completely reach the upper bleacher areas and wasn’t adequately meeting the needs of productions coming in, so an upgrade was long overdue,” states Pro Sound & Video’s Shawn Risberg, president of the systems integrator’s Los Angeles operation, Pro Sound CA, which won the bid for the installation.

Although several loudspeaker manufacturers and models were considered, PS&V and consulting firm Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) settled on L-Acoustics’ compact Kiva arrays as the choice. “We’ve worked with L-Acoustics on various installs over the past five years and always had a good experience with their products and people, so we chose to partner with them for this project,” Risberg adds.

WJHW senior consultant Tom Falgien and PS&V agreed that Kiva made sense in Laramie. “The Arena-Auditorium at UW is a unique dome design built from wooden beams that don’t conveniently permit loudspeaker rigging points,” he notes. “As a result, we had to find arrays that were lightweight and low profile as they would have to hang from an existing catwalk assembly. The Soundvision model proved that the compact enclosures would throw all the way to the back of the venue, and their 15-degree splay angle was ideal for vertical coverage.”

As a result, the system now installed is comprised of six arrays of nine Kiva enclosures, six SB18i subwoofers, seven 12XTi coaxials positioned over the arena floor, and 17 LA4X amplified controllers delivering loudspeaker power and processing.

The arena’s previous system had been a central cluster constructed from full range cabinets. “Due to the building construction, a true center cluster was not possible,” notes WJHW associate Mark Graham. “So the previous cluster was rather off-center from the playing floor and became more so when the court was rotated and expanded as part of the remodeling. We removed the previous cluster cabinets and used this structure to install the L-Acoustics subs and coaxial court fill speakers. The Kiva arrays now form a circle in relation to center court and evenly cover the spectator seating.”

Falgien was pleased with the tonality and coverage of the arrays. “Pro Sound had loaded the factory tunings, and we changed very little during commissioning,” he says. “Just a few minor tweaks, including a bit of low roll off, and the sound was great. The athletes, staff and coaches quickly noticed and appreciated the substantial improvement in sound quality and coverage.”

Falgien commended PS&V for being engaged and detailed in its approach to the project. “Given this was a remodel on a tight timeline, there were the usual, and some unusual, difficulties—none of which became a crisis,” he concludes.

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