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Powersoft Amplification At The Heart Of Sonic Upgrade At Mackay Stadium At University Of Nevada Reno

Amplifiers deliver increased performance while requiring less AC power and withstanding extreme temperatures

By PSW Staff February 12, 2015

Four new Powersoft Ottocanali 1204s amplifiers at Mackay Stadium that are a key to the venue's sonic upgrade.

Pro AV & Electronics (Sparks, NV) recently upgraded the aging audio system at Mackay Stadium, a 30,000-capacity football and soccer venue llocated on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno, utilizing Powersoft amplification.

Mackay Stadium is situated in the Nevada desert, where temperatures can be punishing during the start of the fall football season, and inside the venue’s equipment closet situated under the north scoreboard, temperatures often exceed 100 degrees (fahrenheit). In 2012, Pro AV was called in to perform a full system analysis of the venue and to prepare the audio system for a new decade of University of Nevada sports fans.

“We assisted UNR with a DSP swap out and also began helping them with a system roadmap as they were planning for their current system’s end of life — and amplifiers were an important part of that roadmap,” explains Nathan Barlow of Pro AV & Electronics. “During the first game in 2014, some of the old amplifiers experienced failures, resulting in audible drop-outs during the game.

“We had been using Powersoft K and M Series amplifiers for a long time and were aware of their low power consumption and high output and high performance. So we didn’t hesitate to recommend Powersoft for this installation.”

Since the stadium was experiencing failures after the season had already begun, Barlow and his team knew they needed a reliable solution that could be swapped in before the next home game, which was to occur in two weeks. As a test, they brought in four Powersoft Ottocanali 1204s — replacing 12 pre-existing 3U space units — and decided to try running the entire system off of a single 20-amp circuit.

“We wanted to know if we could,” Barlow says, noting that the result was positive. “Our experiment gave us all the assurance we could have wanted. We were not pushing those Powersoft amps anywhere near their capacity, and each amplifier in our previous system would draw anywhere between 11 and 17 amps during game time.”

Given the limited control room space Pro AV had to work with, the small footprint and high output of Powersoft amplifiers factored heavily into their decision: “When we discovered we could get eight channels in a 2U rack space at such a high wattage per channel, it was no-brainer to jump on it,” Barlow says.

Another key factor was reliability: “We needed a bulletproof unit,” he says. “The control room is a cinder block building that is constantly exposed to the heat, and there is very little insulation or ventilation. I already knew the Powersoft units were reliable and would stand up to the challenge.”

Pro AV executed the installation while the team was playing two consecutive away games before returning for another home game. As Barlow recalls, it was a seamless ‘set and forget’ experience installing the new amplifiers. “We called Powersoft and said that we needed these units now — they delivered, and everything performed flawlessly.” The entire cut-over from the older system took less than an hour.

After the new amplifiers were installed, just one day before the home game, it didn’t take long for both staff and fans to notice the difference in audio quality. “The sound and clarity was amazing,” says Barlow. “One of the first comments we heard was one of the executives asking if we had installed subwoofers in the system, which of course we hadn’t.”

Barlow attributes the increased sound clarity to the extremely fast, accurate performance of the new Powersoft Ottocanali amplifiers: “These amplifiers hit a lot harder than others on the market. It is a much faster response that gives us a lot more detail and intelligibility at the end of the day.”

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