The domed ceiling and reflective surfaces in Walsh Jesuit High School’s gymnasium present a huge challenge for audio intelligibility. When the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio school decided to replace the aging center-cluster sound system in the space, they turned to Akron’s Rootaudio.
“This was a classic value-engineering situation, with a difficult room and a tight budget,” says Kevin Root. “The school wanted a PA with high SPL capacity and intelligibility, but also wanted to avoid affecting the aesthetics with a lot of acoustical treatment. Using EASE acoustic simulation software and system design assistance from Electro-Voice, we moved them from an outdated center cluster to a point-source system that really exceeded their hopes and expectations.”
With their full-range, high output and wide range of available dispersions, the horn-loaded EVH loud speakers from the EV-Innovation family of installation-dedicated models proved to be the right choice for the job. To ensure optimal performance, Rootaudio specified the new Dynacord C series amplifiers to power the biamped system.
“The C series amps are incredibly efficient, and come with powerful onboard DSP, intuitive control software and FIR-Drive optimization – including presets for the full line of EV loudspeakers,” notes Root. “That eliminates the need for a lot of external gear, which brings a lot of value, considering their competitive price point.”
It took just nine ceiling-hung EVH-1152D speakers to cover the gym evenly, with three different dispersions required. Six speakers with 60-by-60 degree dispersion deliver clear, crisp sound to the main bleachers, while two 90-by-60 models cover the end zones. To cover the main basketball floor, a single EVH-1152 with 90-by-90 degree dispersion is aimed straight down from the center of the domed ceiling. All the loudspeakers were custom-painted to blend in aesthetically. As a final touch, an Electro-Voice ND76 large-diaphragm dynamic microphone was added for the announcer.
“When we were aiming the speakers before the final tuning, the precision of their dispersion was very impressive,” says Root. “That took all the guesswork out of positioning; all we had to do was follow the EASE model. In the end, only one filter was required to tame the high-energy room.”
The sonic results are outstanding. Charles Korecki, Technology Support Specialist at Walsh Jesuit HS, contacted Rootaudio with this report after the school’s first basketball game: “The improvement in SPL, clarity and presence is dramatic. Many people commented on how fantastic it was to finally understand the announcer. The new PA turned out to be more than an investment in good audio, it has enabled us to reclaim the WJ Dome as a multipurpose room. Both myself and the school administration are ecstatic with the results!”