The Buzz: 20 Years Ago in Sound & Video Contractor

The sound system and acoustical design of Seattle's Kingdome was the cover feature for the December 1983 issue. The Kingdome opened in March 1976, and...
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The Buzz: 20 Years Ago in Sound & Video Contractor

Dec 1, 2003 12:00 PM, By Mark Johnson

The sound system and acoustical design of Seattle's Kingdome was the cover feature for the December 1983 issue. The Kingdome opened in March 1976, and the facility was demolished by implosion in March 2000. (The event made national broadcast news.) Apparently, there was no love lost between the Kingdome and the city of Seattle. The maintenance of the thin-shell concrete roof was a primary issue, though it seems the architectural design was not generally highly regarded, as well. The Kingdome was designed as a multipurpose sports venue with seating configurations for baseball (59,000 people), football (65,000 people), and events and shows (80,000 people). A configuration for basketball (40,000 people) was added to accommodate the 1984 NCAA championship finals. Joel Lewitz was a senior sound system design consultant with Bolt, Baranek, and Newman, the firm originally retained to provide the sound system design, and then Paoletti/Lewitz/Associates designed the system for the basketball configuration.

Marshall Long provided an in-depth treatise on the development of constant directivity horns, including historical background on horns in general as well as a brief review of relevant acoustical theory. Ted Uzzle, representing Altec, Bruce Howze and John Wiggins from Community Light and Sound, Jim Long of Electro-Voice, and D. B. (Don) Keele from JBL all provided additional commentary on the subject.

Editor Fred Ampel presented Halon 1301 as an alternative solution to the common ABC-type extinguishers for use in situations where there was a sizable amount of electronic equipment in use. Although the ABC extinguishers would control the fire, the chemicals used in that type of extinguisher could prove to be damaging to electronic equipment. An example was given of an Illinois broadcast facility that sustained damage in excess of $1.2 million to equipment that was not directly damaged by the fire, and actual fire-inflicted damage to equipment was valued at about $150,000.

Ampel also offered a wrap-up of the 74th AES convention in New York. The hot topics were papers on TEF measurement as well as several papers regarding employing computers for loudspeaker array design and room modeling. Also, Sony and Phillips showed the first professional CD players. More than 190 exhibitors took up three floors of the Hilton hotel.

Articles by Douglas Brown and Robert Jerry (respectively, “Contract Bonding” and “Contract Law: What you don't know can hurt you”) covered some of the business aspects of the contracting industry. Jerry starts with a general definition of a contract and then provides situational examples through a Q&A format. Brown's “Contract Bonding” is the conclusion of a two-part piece started in the previous issue.

On the advertising front, there were two ads for tape-based background/foreground music systems. Tape-Athon featured the 770 Dual cassette intermix system, and PHI Technologies was introducing the Music Master II. PHI makes cassette tape transports and digital recording/playback cards for OEM as well as some standalone recording and logging products. PHI also manufactures products for the law enforcement and security industry. It is still at the same Oklahoma City address where it was 20 years ago.

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