Saginaw Valley State University is one of Michigan’s fastest-growing universities. The university’s main athletic complex, the Ryder Center, comprises a number of venues, including the 3700-seat James E. O’Neill Arena, which is home to the university’s Cardinal basketball teams.
The multipurpose facility can be segmented using movable walls, accommodating not just basketball, but everything from baseball practice, pole vaulting and shot putting to convocations, and even the occasional swap meet. The arena recently received a major sound system upgrade, overseen by Bret Emerson of Rockford, MI-based CommTech Design, installing a high-powered audio system featuring Renkus-Heinz CF-Series modular point-source array loudspeakers.
As Dave Spoelhof of Grand Rapids-based Accurate Audio Consultants, the audio consultant on the project, explains, the arena’s original sound system had never been quite up to the task.
“The original system was put in when the building was built, about 15 years ago,” he says. “They chose at the time to go with a distributed system utilizing 12-inch coaxial speakers mounted overhead, some 30 feet above the floor. The coverage was inconsistent and uneven – there were hot spots and dead spots, and depending on how high your seats were in the bleachers, you either couldn’t hear or you got blasted.”
The new system, installed by ICOMM of Clio, MI, comprises 26 Renkus-Heinz CF101LA cabinets, with six arrays of two and three boxes covering the court and seating areas. Spoelhof says the release of the CF-Series CF101LA was well-timed for this project.
“It just so happened that about two weeks before we started with this project, my rep Mike Somerville (of McFadden Sales) had invited me to their facility for a demo of the new CF series,” he recounts. “I was blown away by how articulate and yet musical it was. And it was about half the price of other comparable systems, which enabled us to stay within the client’s budget.”
The CF101LA cabinet employs a 10-inch woofer and two 1-inch compression drivers in a 15-degree cabinet, allowing unparalleled sound pressure to be directed into an exceptionally tight pattern.
Each array also includes a single CF15S subwoofer, providing powerful low frequency performance.
“They hold a wide range of events there, and they were clear in their desire for full-range performance,” says Spoelhof. “So even though the primary focus was on speech intelligibility, they were clear that they also wanted the system to rock.”
Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP units provide system drive and processing. “They wanted something that provided great coverage, great sound, and was easy to operate,” says Spoelhof. “We provided them with a number of different presets, changing the beam configuration depending on how they were using the room. Basically we’ve got presets for different sporting events, small commencements, large commencements, and so on.”
Spoelhof points to the CF101 as ideal for this type of application. “I’ve designed large arena systems in the past, sometimes using line arrays and sometimes using point source systems,” he says. “With the CF101 boxes, we were able to bring in the best of both worlds. It gave us the reconfigurable coverage we were looking for, using a permanently installed line array, and without the need for a ton of boxes.”