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L-Acoustics Helps Bring Clarity To The Spoken Word At BYU-Idaho Center

Clearwing Systems Integration implements K, A, and X Series loudspeakers and more in audio upgrade at university’s 15,000-seat auditorium.
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The fan-shaped auditorium at BYU-Idaho Center, with its 7,500-square-foot stage, is one of the largest production theaters in North America.

The BYU-Idaho Center, on the western edge of Brigham Young University-Idaho’s Rexburg campus, is an architectural marvel that recently underwent a sonic upgrade with a new system utilizing a variety of L-Acoustics loudspeakers installed by Clearwing Systems Integration.

Dedicated in December 2010 after three years of construction, the “I-Center” is a 435,000-square-foot facility combining two distinct gathering places: a large athletics center equipped with 10 multi-use sporting courts, and a 15,000-seat auditorium used for student devotionals, ecclesiastical meetings, graduation exercises, and select artistic and cultural events.

The fan-shaped auditorium, with a 7,500-square-foot stage, is one of the largest production theaters in North America, offering only 6,000 fewer seats than its sister facility, the LDS Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Familiar with L-Acoustics loudspeakers installed at other LDS facilities—including the Conference Center, Salt Lake Temple, and Provo’s BYU Marriott Center—BYU-Idaho called on L-Acoustics House of Worship Application Manager Josh Maichele to conduct a product demo in its auditorium. L-Acoustics Certified Provider (CPi) Clearwing Systems Integration had both the inventory and available personnel to assist and was committed to investing the time to fine-tune the demo system to ensure that it would be optimized for the space.

“Vocal intelligibility has always been a hallmark of L-Acoustics,” says Clearwing Engineer Joshua Barnhill, “and the full L-Acoustics product lineup had exactly the right puzzle pieces we needed in every instance—from K2, Kara, and Kiva II array enclosures to A and X Series systems—to make this space sound and feel fantastic.”

The system integration process took four weeks and was conducted in two phases: three weeks were spent hanging and positioning the loudspeakers, while one full week was dedicated to tuning and testing to ensure the rig’s paramount performance.

BYU-Idaho Center’s new system includes:

• Main hangs: Left and right arrays of ten K2 over two Kara, with adjacent hangs of four K1-SB to reduce LF downstage center where the podium stands
• Subs/fills: Eight KS21 subwoofers spread out in a line under the stage, with 12 compact 5XT mounted in the stage face for in-fill, all obscured by grilles
• Mid-house hangs: Four hangs, each comprised of four Kiva II addressing the mezzanine areas
• Over-balcony hangs: 33 A10i Focus, flown in 11 arrays of three enclosures each
• Calipers (A10 array extensions): one single A10 Focus per side, each flown vertically, and five X4i mounted per side, plus an array one A10 Focus and two Wide per side for the upper calipers
• Under-mezzanine delay hangs: 26 A10i Wide, flown individually
• Under-balcony: 28 A10i Wide, plus two X8, and 56 ceiling baffle-mounted X4i
• Power and processing: 39 amplified controllers—10 LA12X (K2/K1-SB), 6 LA2Xi (X4i), and 23 LA4X (everything else)—plus 12 LS10 Avnu-certified AVB switches and two P1 AVB processors and measurement platforms (primary and backup)
• Audio comes out of the pre-existing SSL 550 console via AES into the P1, and then is connected via AVB from the P1 on

“Everything came together beautifully thanks to the adjustable dispersion of K2 via its Panflex fins, the low-frequency directivity of the K1-SB subs, and the right combination of A10i and coaxial X Series fills used throughout the room,” Barnhill says. “Every audience member now has nearly the same sound image, and the room is very well balanced so that levels are perfectly even. For spoken word, it feels like you are right in front of the speaker, no matter where you’re sitting, and you can perfectly hear everything they’re saying. And the new system also has the ‘guts’ to really pump it up for musical and other performances when they want it.”

At the same time, Clearwing Systems Integration was also tasked with installing a much smaller L-Acoustics A Series-based system at the MC Hart Student Commons in the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center (pictured below). This wide space now benefits from left and right hangs of one KS21 sub over two A15 Focus and one A15 Wide, complemented by L/R sidefills of one A10 Focus over one A10 Wide, four portable 5XT for frontfill, and three LA4X amplified controllers for power.

“The Manwaring Center’s commons are located in the center of the food court and events area, and it’s a gathering space that hosts everything from student performances and presentations to karaoke and other social functions,” Barnhill adds. “Similar to the K2 in the I-Center, the A15 features Panflex, which nicely allowed us to keep the sound directed to where we needed it. The A Series are budget-conscious systems that sound fantastic and deliver ideal coverage for this space.”

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