In this edition of the SVC Podcast, Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Eddie Zamorano of Hermes Music in Pharr, Texas about their installation of a new sound system for Bobby Lackey Stadium featuring Danley speakers and a Midas M32R mixing console. The high school football stadium was preparing for a new scoreboard when a series of sound system failures led them to call in Hermes Music to add the new audio setup first.
Links of Interest:
- Hermes Music in Pharr, Texas
- Danley J3-94 Jericho Horns
- Midas M32R digital mixing console
- Danley DNA 20k4 Pro amplifier
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This is the SVC Podcast from Sound & Video Contractor Magazine with Eddie Zamorano and there are show notes and equipment links for this podcast on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.
In Texas they love their high school football and when the sound system at Bobby Lackey Stadium in Weslaco started going bad, they called in Hermes Music to install a new system built around Danley speakers and amps. Eddie Zamorano is going to give us the story on how it all went in and got up and running for the Panthers and Wildcats big home games. Coming at you right now on the SVC Podcast.
Eddie thanks very much and it’s great to have you with us on the SVC Podcast. Coming to us from out there in Pharr, Texas with Hermes Music. Good to have you aboard.
Thank you, Mr. Liles. Thank you for having me.
This must have been a high profile installation locally for the Weslaco football team but first let’s talk about Hermes Music. That looks like it was a very small outfit that’s grown considerably over the years.
Well, it’s actually – it is generally a small outfit. We are primarily an MI pro audio, pro lighting and DJ equipment retailer in south Texas. So that’s really what we do.
And we know that there was a high school that was in pretty dire need of a new sound system for the home games at Bobby Lackey Stadium. And is that fairly close by?
Well, it’s in Weslaco, Texas. And generally – we’re in the Rio Grande Valley and that’s like – it’s just like an area. I mean all these little towns are interconnected. You know, you just jump on the highway and you’re there in a matter of a couple minutes from one end of the Rio Grande Valley to the other. So it’s a territory here, really. That’s what it is. [Timestamp: 1:43]
Okay, and they needed a new scoreboard at the stadium so what was the process they went through in getting that? Did something big happen like a system failure to get them into action on this or how did they get moving on it?
Well, actually they still are in the process of finding a scoreboard. And they were looking into sound systems to attach to that system. Generally there’s this one big video screen/LED screen/scoreboard provider in south Texas; one big dealer that does that, a big national corporation. But they went to a game at another town and another venue and they heard the sound system that had just been installed a couple weeks before by that same company and they were like they not pleased with what they heard. So they were – once they heard that they were thinking we need to find something better, you know? Particularly Weslaco ISD, they have an outstanding video production group inside of the school district itself. They run all their ads on their screen that they currently have and they do a lot of productions with that including a pre-game – an ESPN-style pregame before the actual game. They service two high schools – Weslaco High School and Weslaco East High School – and then they do a post-game for about 30 minutes after the game. It streams out over the internet, but they also play it over the screen and the audio comes out over the scoreboard there in the stadium. [Timestamp: 3:03]
And so that’s all produced in-house by the high schools?
Yes, sir, it is in-house. It is in-house. And I’m telling you that for a south Texas school district running that kind of an outfit, it is top-notch. [Timestamp: 3:15]
Wow, that must be a great experience for the kids when they get to help out and learn about all of this stuff from the ground up.
They do. They actually do.
And this new sound system had Danley speakers. So how are they arranged on it? What’s the general design of the new system that you put in?
We went through a process. We had to do several demos with them. We did the J1. We did a J1 with a BC415. And finally when they had a catastrophic failure in the audio system there we did one last demo with them with a pair of J3’s and some BC218’s; actually a pair of those. And in the end that’s the system that they stuck with, I mean just because they got to try that thing first-hand. And last minute, you know, just something to finish the football season. And that’s what they decided they wanted. [Timestamp: 4:00]
Well, that’s great that they were able to demo it and decide by the sound it actually produces instead of having to rely just on promotion.
Sure. Yeah, the system sold itself. I mean Danley makes an outstanding product. I mean it’s unbelievable with the quality of sound. Sometimes the appearance may seem a little unorthodox to some people, but the thing is the product is outstanding. [Timestamp: 4:19]
And I think you used the Danley DNA 20k4 Pro amplifiers and those are four-channel units?
Yes, sir, they’re 4 channels. The thing is that we had to use one DNA 20k per Jericho – for J3. And then we used one more DNA 20k for the two BC218 cabinets.
Okay, and so each of those actually needs a four-channel amp.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Especially with the way that the system is configured and the way they would set all the components up and everything inside of there. I mean, you need one of those amps and believe me, those amps they do all the work. They handle all the processing. They’re worth every penny. They really are. [Timestamp: 4:56]
And it looks like you didn’t have to do a lot of balancing and tweaking on this setup because you had some Danley presets all ready to go.
Yes. That’s the ease of using their software. They’re using a new software now that’s called System Engineer and that – I mean that software itself, you get into your DNA amps whether it’s any one of the DNA series and all you do is you load up presets that they’ve already configured for you and it’s real easy to set that up. The only thing with that install was that there was a little bit more involved because these are actually the 20k4 Pro Dante amplifiers. I’m actually running Dante signal from the press box all the way to the scoreboard. [Timestamp: 5:33]
Oh, and that’s what I wanted to ask you about in how you’re getting the audio from the amplifiers all the way to the scoreboard. So do you have the amps up there in the press box somewhere?
No, I don’t actually. What I did was I ran fiber optics. Over 700 feet of fiber optics from the top of the press box to the scoreboard itself. And I’ve used a couple of Cisco switchers and ran that through that fiber – yeah, it was about 700 feet of fiber cable – and did the conversion through those Cisco switchers. And then I ran that Dante signal through that. [Timestamp: 6:05]
Oh yeah, the fiber link really makes better sense for stadiums and big venues where you need to cover a lot of distance and you don’t have to worry with grounding issues if the scoreboard is getting its power from somewhere else.
It does. Exactly. No problems with that. The main thing about that is when you’re configuring those systems, especially with Dante, using that software, if you follow the instructions that Audinate uses with them it’s just – it makes life so simple setting these systems up. And I mean you run everything, even the configuration. I control the configuration amps from the press box. The user-recommended setup for the Dante amplifier, running their star configuration, it’s so easy to set up. I mean they practically just work on their own. I mean you’ve just got a couple of little things that you use with that Dante controller, you know, software controller, and I mean these things are ready to go. [Timestamp: 6:53]
And so what did you use for the mixer that you’ve got up there in the press box? I think it was a Midas M32R?
That’s correct, sir. It’s a Midas M32R with an X-Dante out card. It goes out from there into the switch and then the switch runs out to the scoreboard. Now out at the scoreboard we did use a climate-controlled, weatherproofed box. We set all the amplifiers in there and the router and everything. It’s very well-protected. It’s got an AC unit because things get really hot down here in south Texas, so it’s got an AC in it to help keep things cool in there and the system is protected. [Timestamp: 7:27]
Okay, so you’ve got the amplifiers at the scoreboard?
And you’re feeding the audio from the control area so you don’t have to deal with a long speaker run.
Right. Exactly. And the only other thing I did with that was I actually – we ran a long analog, you know, just insulated a mic cable all the way from the press box down to the same station there as an analog backup. [Timestamp: 7:49]
Yeah, always good to have some good old copper just in case.
You’re right. Exactly.
And so the Midas M32R, I’ve seen a couple of those and it looks to me like one of the advantages of that one would be having a lot of very versatile mixing power in a very small space.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. It really makes the job easier for us especially in that situation because the live sound feed, everything is going into that mixer from the scoreboard and everything else that’s going on in that facility. Our engineers actually set up matrixes to run out to their video feeds as well, so I mean it’s all tied into that whole system there. [Timestamp: 8:22]
Okay, and I would think that the video control and audio control are co-located right there in the press box.
Yes, sir, they are. It’s right next door in the press box and I’m telling you, they run a top-notch video and audio production up there. [Timestamp: 8:34]
Yeah, great experience working on something like that in-house and not having to worry about getting a contract crew together every time they want to do anything. So with the former sound system out of action, how long did it take to get all of this in there?
Well, it took us longer than we would have liked. The main reason being is the Danley speakers are a little bigger. It wasn’t exactly what was in there before. I won’t mention what was in there before because they actually do make a great product, it’s just that I believe it was more user error on their part that actually led to that catastrophic failure. So that’s where we jumped in. It took us a couple of months to get in there only because the engineers in the school district, they’re contract engineers that just want to make sure everything is put in there right and we cover all our bases, especially with safety. The scoreboard is actually on the football field at that stadium so you have to be careful with these because there’s people walking around and it is an old structure as well. So it took us a little longer just to get the approvals from the engineers, but once we got that then we got ourselves going. It took us a couple of weeks just to get it up. [Timestamp: 9:36]
And I know that in Texas they are VERY serious about their high school football.
Yes, sir, they are. And, you know, it’s a production. I mean when you go to those games – I’ve actually been in the actual games – they run everything on that scoreboard. They have advertising. That’s crucial to maintaining what goes on in the stadium as well. I mean using their video capabilities they involved a lot of the people in the audience with some of their activities that are going on on the field during the breaks in the game or anything else that’s going on. [Timestamp: 10:01]
So since you had the presets to put in I guess it didn’t take very long to get the whole sound system tweaked and tested.
Honestly, it took me maybe a couple of hours maximum especially with the ease-of-use with the Danley amplifiers or this Dante. Dante, to me, is like I’m sold on that stuff. I mean, it’s really good. It’s easy to use. I haven’t had any problems with failure yet, so I mean and I haven’t gotten that call yet, so it works well. It works very, very well. [Timestamp: 10:29]
And the first time it was used, was that on a big home football game?
Well, actually they used it for an area track meet. The area track meets here, there’s certain levels in UIL, which is the group that runs all that competitive high school activity here in Texas. And the area track meet, it’s a local group of – I think it’s everybody in our region, in our area here in the Rio Grande Valley that showed up to that. It was totally intelligible. Everything that was going on, you could hear everything that was happening. And then the next event they had after that was the East-West All-Star game and honestly, there were no complaints. They used to have complaints before with the old system as it was getting ready to fail. You couldn’t hear anything. Things were unintelligible. It was just one thing after another with that system. So they really needed something bad. [Timestamp: 11:14]
Wow. So I’m sure after it was tested and you knew it was going to work there would still have to be a little pressure once you’ve got that big crowd out there expecting to hear good, clear sound.
Right, right. And that audio system is crucial to their advertising as well, so it will be important to really see it once they get their first football game series starting up this fall. We’ll get to see the degree of how they’ll be able to have their events and I’m sure people are going to be happy to hear in that stadium. [Timestamp: 11:40]
And with Hermes Music, are you more into sales or installation or a little of both?
We’re getting into the integration here with the AV integration here with us, especially the pro audio. I’ve done several projects here using a lot of Danley product. I’ve been able to demo a lot of the Danley product to some of the school districts down here. They get to see and they get to hear first-hand how these products work and I’m telling you they sell themselves. I mean, it’s just the way they work and the way they’re engineered, designed, it’s just optimum audio. [Timestamp: 12:10]
So, have you guys got some more installation projects coming up?
I do, actually. We’re getting ready to do some – schoolboard room, there’s a couple of smaller football stadiums and practice facilities in McAllen that we’re working on. I just finished one; I’m about to the other one once they get the facility done, and I’m still working that. People need to get out and hear these systems so they understand how good of a quality Danley is. [Timestamp: 12:34]
I know they’re glad to have their new sound system and it’s going to make a big difference at sports events where they really get into their high school sports, especially football out there.
It was great hearing about how you pulled all of this off without a hitch and everything that went on with it. It’s Eddie Zamorano with Hermes Music in Pharr, Texas and the total sound renovation at Bobby Lackey Stadium in Weslaco, Texas. Thanks for telling us about it, Eddie.
Thank you, sir. I appreciate you for having us on.
Glad you were here with us today with Eddie Zamorano. You can always find show notes and equipment links for the podcasts on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. Get back with us again next week for the SVC Podcast.