With the building of a new performing arts center, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (HCISD) in Texas sought a portable sound system that could serve multiple needs, with school district audio engineer Juan Restrepo recommending Mackie DRM powered loudspeakers.
“Our intent was to create a portable reinforcement solution that could be housed at the performing arts center but moved around the district as needed for specific events at various schools,” notes Restrepo, who’s also an alumnus of Berklee College of Music. “I was given a budget, and I went to the NAMM Show to shop for solutions. I was blown away when I heard a demo of the Mackie DRM loudspeakers. I’d come in with a different system in mind, but once I heard that demo, it was a no-brainer.”
Restrepo decided on a system comprising eight Mackie DRM12A arrayable powered loudspeakers, each with up to 2,000 watts of onboard Class D power, a 12-inch high-excursion woofer and triple 1-inch titanium-diaphragm compression drivers. He also chose two DRM18S 18-inch-loaded powered subwoofers.
“We use two carts,” Restrepo explains. “Load-in is very easy, with one sub and four tops per cart. Before we purchased this system, I had to deal with gym sound systems, which were very limited in the way I could work with them and set up what I wanted. With this option, I know that when I roll in the carts, I’m going to have high-quality sound.
“I have to push these speakers hard in the stadium, and usually a speaker running at high SPL loses some fidelity,” he continues. “I liked the sound of the DRM loudspeakers so much that while my original plan was to have them all against the Visitor side in our stadium, instead I put them all in the end zone to reinforce the original scoreboard speaker, with independent control over each element. They were well balanced, even running flat without any onboard EQ; I just loved them! I know loudspeakers can be loud-that’s what they do. But for me, it’s much more crucial to have a really good balance across the frequency spectrum, the lows versus the highs, and the DRM was the clear winner out of all the demos I heard at NAMM.”
Another application is graduation ceremonies, where stands with two DRM12A loudspeakers per stand are fed by an Audinate Dante network with single-channel AVIO encoders and decoders. “I really appreciate the flexible angling options on the DRM12A; at the stadium, I can set some of them to aim high and get sound to the bleachers, while others are angled to get sound to visitors down on the turf. That’s some very smart engineering,” Restrepo says.
The system also serves the school district’s jazz festival, a well-known regional event that involves multiple schools. “The jazz festival is divided into two venues: the Performing Arts Center and the cafeteria at GMS middle School next door,” notes Restrepo. “While we have an installed system at the performing arts center, the Mackie DRM carts allowed us to produce exceptional sound next door as well. One sub and two pole-mounted loudspeakers per cart gave us great results.”