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Hobbs Arena - O’Brien & Akervik Rinks
Eau Claire, WI
Sound System Installation
We were thrilled when Hobbs Ice Arena contacted us and said it was time for an upgrade to their sound system. We had installed the original system 15 years ago on a minimal budget, and the small horns and aging mixer/amplifier were not cutting through the noise of a lively hockey arena any longer. Working with an increased budget, we were able to completely replace the sound system in the main rink (O’Brien) as well as make improvements to the smaller practice/figure skating ring (Akervik).
We started our design process by mapping a wide range of speakers in our speaker CAD program. We looked at both coverage as well as intelligibility, and our goal was to cover as many areas as possible with a clear sound. After looking at the CAD maps and listening to a few live demonstrations of speakers provided by our very helpful sales reps, we decided on a new large-scale series by Bose to cover the main rink. These speakers were a revised version of ones seen in Olympic stadiums and other large-scale events around the world. A smaller, high-intelligibility speaker (also from Bose) provided the bleacher coverage.
We paid specific attention to user-friendliness when choosing our electronics. This system would be utilized by everyone from coaches to figure skating parents to the site manager, none of whom consider themselves professional sound technicians. We chose the Biamp Nexia series of mixer/processor and matching control. As you can see from this picture taken in the main control booth (press box), the user can adjust the volume of eight different inputs as well as choose between eight presets. In this case, the presets select what music source (CD, tuner, paging mic) go to what areas (O’Brien, Akervik, hallway).
The booth control also includes a master on/off for the system, keyed for security, a microphone input jack for an announcer microphone, and a media output feed for when the local radio station covers the high school hockey games.
This system is unique in that there are multiple control areas. The one pictured here is in the press box, where the announcers sit during games and figure skating competitions. The press box also holds the main equipment rack and a separate rack with the figure skater's tape and CD players for competitions.
The main rack had a drawer for the wireless transmitter, CDs, tapes, and their wired microphones and cables.
The second control area was the manager’s office. With a little creativity, we utilized an existing corner shelf for a CD player, tuner, and paging microphone, as well as a submixer for those three sources. This control area has another system on/off (also with a key-switch) and a similar volume control and preset control plate.
From this spot, the manager could play CDs or the radio for free-skate or practice times and make announcements to either rink (or both).
The third area was Akervik Rink, which was it’s own separate system, but had a feed from the O’Brien Rink, so could hear the same music source or the manager’s paging microphone.
Less than one week after finishing the system, the two Eau Claire high school hockey teams battled it out in the always-anticipated game with a full house. The reception to the new sound system was wonderful. People in all areas of the bleachers could hear and the broadcast sent to the radio sounded excellent. It was a challenging system with unique demands, but in the end we successfully installed a system that works well for everyone.