At their flagship Downtown LA campus, Cross Campus hosts talks and seminars in their event space by luminaries ranging from Elon Musk to President Obama.
Cross Campus’s early success led them to desire a more powerful sound system for their events with advanced digital controls and networking. They reached out to Brett Grossman of Hollywood Sound Systems, who designed an upgrade that included Powersoft‘s Ottocanali 8k4 DSP+D amplifier.
Cross Campus wanted their new system to be as networked and automated as possible.
“They were very explicit about their desire to have everything networked and digitally controlled in such a way as not to require having a designated sound engineer present for the vast majority of events,” says Grossman. “We knew we could achieve that with DSP and Dante and wanted an amplifier that had that functionality built in.”
Enter the Ottocanali DSP+D, Powersoft’s 8-channel 8,000 W at 4-ohm amplifier with built-in DSP and Dante capabilities. Grossman realized quickly that Powersoft’s Ottocanali was the only amplifier that could deliver on all of Cross Campus’s audio needs.
Grossman designed a system for the space that featured two Ottocanali DSP+D amplifiers powering (18) Martin Audio CDD loudspeakers plus a CSX112 subwoofer. For his main DSP he used two Symetrix Radius 12 x 8 EX units. A Shure ULXD4Q provides 4-channels of wireless microphone input, with a completely digital signal path between microphone input and the Ottocanali’s output stage. A Crestron touch screen controller provides users with access to the system’s automated audio, visual, and lighting programs.
“Most of their events are talking heads or other things that are relatively simple technically,” Grossman says. “We have all the sound mixing automated, as well as feedback detection and correction, and application specific presets available for any kind of event with predetermined base settings for things like microphone and monitor volume, background music, and lighting. You can even control how far into the space the sound travels by controlling which amplifier channels are active via the network.”
Grossman was pleased at how he could offload all output-stage processing to the Ottocanali’s DSP. “I used Armonía for all of the system tuning, though I must admit that because these amps have such a clean sound to start with I needed far less EQ to get a great sound than I usually do,” he says. Grossman also took advantage of Armonía’s limiting capabilities. “There are at least two limiters on every channel just to make sure the health of their system stays as good as it can for as long as it can,” he explains.
Rack footprint and power efficiency were also key for Grossman, who shares an equipment rack on each floor with the IT department.
“As you can imagine, the IT demands on a place like this are substantial, and all that networking equipment takes up a lot of rack space,” he says. “That left me with 16 spaces to put the whole system in, which I knew meant I needed an amplifier with a small footprint. Getting 16 channels of output from the two Ottocanali amps and taking up only 4 rack spaces in the process was critical.”
But space was not his only concern. “I had to be very careful about heat dissipation, especially because I’m sharing the space with IT” he notes. “I certainly didn’t want to risk baking all the networking gear. Once I did my BTU calculations, it was very clear that Powersoft was the best solution. It runs incredibly cool while providing all the output I need, allowing me to share the rack without being an unfriendly roommate.”
“Cross Campus needed a system that was both deeply functional and incredibly robust, and we were able to give it to them with Ottocanali,” he says. “The robustness of the system includes Powersoft’s failover system. It allows us to have the option of running a very basic version of the system completely in analog even in the event of a total network shutdown.”
Grossman is also taking advantage of some of the latest diagnostic features in Cross Campus’s Powersoft amplifiers. “The Ottocanali amps are the only gear in the system that will give me detailed reports on system health, including specific information about a component that’s not functioning properly, or if the amp detects that one of my speaker drivers is out because the pilot tone is not returning the correct voltage.” Through Dante he can even get this information automatically sent to him in real time via email updates. “That way in the event of an issue I can call my clients before they call me.”
Ultimately for Grossman it is the sound quality that does the talking. “Everyone who has come through has been really impressed with how the system sounds,” he says. “Powersoft is the only amp manufacturer that would have allowed me to provide the network and DSP functionality this job required while maintaining a healthy, great sounding system.”
And the amps’ performance has made an impact on Cross Campus management. “Going forward Powersoft has been selected as the standard amplifier for any Cross Campus site that includes a performance space,” Grossman says. “In fact, we’re in the process of retrofitting their other campuses as we speak.”