The extensive sound reinforcement system serving the new Lancaster County Convention Center (LCCC) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania features network-ready Ashly Audio NE8250 power amplifiers. Interestingly, these amplifiers didn’t exist at the outset of the original system design for this long-delayed building project.
“Now that it’s all finished, the preservation of the famous façade is a wonderful aspect of the center, and well worth the hassle during construction,” said Mark Showers, system specialist at Sage Technology Solutions in nearby Mount Joy.
Sage collaborated with Electro Media Design, a Maryland consulting firm, to install LCCC’s customized A/V system. “Preserving it required a lot of care, though. Normal problems, like getting power to a rack, forced us to get creative.”
The system itself is comprised of three head-ends, each with its own program sources for audio and video. All inputs are equipped with Jensen transformers. Patch bays feed a Biamp AudiaFLEX with expansion modules, which distribute audio via CobraNet.
Crestron systems work with digital signal processing to provide user control of the system both globally at the rack position and locally from within room partitions.
“The original design had an extensive relay system,” Sage president Daniel Rohrer said. “A relay was needed for each loudspeaker zone, many for individual loudspeakers. But we had just less than 100,000 square-feet to cover, and managing that number of relays seemed inelegant to us. We knew there had to be a better way.”
Ashly’s new amplifier designs offered a solution. “With several years between the design and the actual installation, technology had marched ahead of the documentation,” said Showers. “We saw an opportunity to use Ashly’s new NE-series of network-ready amps to add grace to the system at no additional cost.”
Using two rack spaces, Ashly’s NE8250.70 eight-channel amplifier delivers 250 watts per channel at 70 volts. Ethernet volume control, muting and monitoring come standard on all NE-series amplifiers.
“Sage worked with Electro Media to redesign the system so that each loudspeaker zone would have a dedicated Ashly amp channel,” said Adam Kirkessner, project manager at Sage Technology Solutions. “That control blends seamlessly into the Crestron control system. Users don’t know what’s controlled from the Biamp and what’s controlled from the Ashlys, nor do they need to know!”
In addition, LCCC can easily choose to monitor their amps; a scenario Showers says is quite likely given the huge size of the facility. From the amps, signal travels to a massive array of Community and Lowell loudspeakers. Input and output panels from each of the three head-end rack rooms make the signal available to other systems and to television broadcast trucks in the outside world.
“It’s elegant,” Showers said. “Users will have little trouble navigating through the Crestron interfaces to configure inputs and outputs. Everyone I’ve talked to in the Lancaster community is quite happy that the saga of the convention center has finally reached a functioning, moneymaking end. And the delay has actually made for a much better system overall.”