Daktronics Expands University’s AV Capability, Part 2

John Carlson, design and field engineer with Daktronics provides more details on the installation of Daktronics sound systems at Indiana University in Bloomington.
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Daktronics Expands University’s AV Capability, Part 2

Apr 12, 2011 12:00 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Installing a sound system in a big sports stadium can be a huge challenge and when it came to such a project in a soccer venue Indiana University called on Daktronics for scoreboards and sound. Design and field engineer John Carlson was lead installer and he’s here to wrap up his talk with all the details on the Daktronics Sports Sound 1500HD system set up there up next on the SVC podcast.
John thanks for being back with me for Part 2 on the sound installations by Daktronics at Indiana University. In Part 1 we talked about Memorial Stadium, the football stadium there. You did a huge sound installation in Bill Armstrong Stadium the soccer venue there on campus. What type of sound system did you put in there?
The sound system in Bill Armstrong Stadium was a standard 1500HD system from Daktronics. [Timestamp: 1:09]

And that system has a number of very interesting features on it, first off it’s got to be very well environmentally sealed because there in South Dakota you’re dealing with some very tough weather conditions. Tell me a little bit about the Sports Sound 1500HD sound system.
Well the Sports Sound 1500HD is all enclosed in one large metal cabinet. Now all the internal speakers to that, since it’s a…technically a three-way system, each of those speakers is actually a self-powered system much like on any one of our larger outdoor systems they have self-powered speakers within them and that being said the signal transport is the same as we would do on a larger self-powered system as well. So you have individual self-powered speakers all going into a weatherized industrial control enclosure and then a fiber transport system to the front end. [Timestamp: 2:01]

And you can run just about anything in the way of sound formats and media into that system.
Yes the front ends of our systems are compatible with all types of inputs and they’re extremely easy to use for any user level. We provide an interface for direct connection to a laptop via US feed audio sound card and there’s also inputs for several microphones and there’s two wireless channels available. [Timestamp: 2:27]

And of course that’s 20-bit 48k digital audio you’re sending out on that.
Yes transferred over CobraNet. [Timestamp: 2:33]

And on board signal processing. We talked a little bit about that in Part 1 and it’s pretty impressive that you have that kind of control over the system but then I guess you’d have to because some of the points of sound output are fairly difficult to get to once they’re installed. And now we’ve seen fiberglass speakers placed behind acoustic mesh before, how does the Sports Sound 1500HD differ from that?
Well Sports Sound 1500HD give us the flexibility of total speaker DST configuration so from the front end, like we spoke about, you can actually plug in and diagnose the entire system. Also the way this differs from just regular fiberglass speakers behind a mesh is that this system can deliver much more power in a wider range to a larger audience. [Timestamp: 3:18]

Obviously you’ve got a very challenging acoustic environment outside where the sound just comes out and keeps right on going. What sort of features do you have for customization to suit the acoustics of the stadium?
The 1500 itself has been designed for maximum speech intelligibility from the get-go. So from stadium to stadium we do not have to change that many aspects about the 1500 itself. We can aim the speakers physically inside but as far as vertical aiming of those speakers the 1500 series system is compatible with a wide range of venues. [Timestamp: 3:54]

And of course with a lot of these systems working outside there you don’t really have small time delays and reverberation to deal with. The time delays are going to be much bigger and can potentially cause problems with intelligibility.
Right, if this system were installed in a particular arena that would…or a stadium that would have large reflective surfaces that could pose a very serious problem but in this case it’s outdoor and there are no large reflective surfaces. So as far as time delay and speech intelligibility is concerned this system is a perfect fit for this field. There is some times a problem of time delay for a professional performer using a wireless microphone but that’s why this system incorporates a professional wireless monitor for that single person. [Timestamp: 4:42]

Yeah one of the things you have to deal with in the great outdoors. So what if any were the running challenges on running cable at the soccer venue? What kind of timeline were you on for this installation?
This system was actually a very rapid installation. There was an existing sound system in that same location so they were able to utilize the same exact pipes that were there or conduits so basically it’s pulling out the old wires and replacing them with the new fiber optic cable is all they had to do in this installation and the speaker cabinet went in and was turned on within the same day. [Timestamp: 5:15]

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Daktronics Expands University’s AV Capability, Part 2

Apr 12, 2011 12:00 PM, with Bennett Liles

Well you can’t get everything going much faster than that. When it came to turning everything on and getting an operator at the control point, what kind of learning curve is involved in this setup? Did Daktronics come in and provide a lot of training for the people operating this?
For every system that we install we, of course, provide training. Depending on the complexity of this system and the user level expertise we curve our training as needed. Like I said there is a professional operator over at the Memorial Stadium so I just had to show the tools that were available and the operator was able to take over. At this particular system it may be run be several different people of much lower expertise level with audio. So of course this is a system that is already designed to be much easier to run and we provide immediate training to get this system up and running as quick and easily as possible for every user. [Timestamp: 6:08]

And it probably doesn’t take your people long in talking to the new operators to determine exactly what their level of expertise on this stuff is.
Yeah I usually start off my training by just asking what their level of knowledge and expertise of this system is. Sometimes the people have been running that particular system that was replaced or another system for years and sometimes they have somebody brand new so it’s different. [Timestamp: 6:32]

Right, and it’s also a challenge when they’ve got a team of people and they may be rotating operators of various experience levels from one event to the next—just one aspect of a very impressive installation with multiple sports venues. So what’s coming up for Daktronics? What’s other projects have you got going on?
Well Daktronics has several projects going on with their standard series systems such as the Toronto Blue Jays and also with our custom series systems that are much larger similar to Memorial Stadium such as the Arizona Diamondbacks and down in Ed Smith’s stadium down in Florida. [Timestamp: 7:05]

And I’m sure it’s an advantage when you’re coming in there to put in a new sound system and you’ve got people with the same company working on the new scoreboards and video displays.
Yes we do have a tremendous advantage being one company to install an audio system with the scoreboard and video system all together because the customer doesn’t have to speak with many different people. They can come to us and ask us one simple question. We can show them exactly where the answer is. [Timestamp: 7:3]

I’m sure that helps in avoiding communication problems between people working on various aspects of the whole project. John it’s been great having you here to tell us about the sports venue sound system installations at Indiana University all done by Daktronics and thanks for taking time to tell us about it.

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