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Bethel University Expands Its Football Sound Reinforcement System

MC KENZIE, TENNESSEE: Located in northwestern Tennessee, Bethel University is a small Christian institution of higher education. In recent years, its student body has swelled to nearly 5,000 students, and with that increase has come new interest in its many athletic programs. Chief among them is the Bethel University Wildcat football team, which plays at Wildcat Stadium. A sound reinforcement system installed by Lowrance Sound Company (Union City, Tennessee) nearly a decade ago continues to cover the main home and visitor bleacher sections well, but dramatic increases in attendance have inspired many fans to bring their own chairs and set up in areas that were never meant to be covered by the sound reinforcement system. After a failed music store attempt to cover those areas, Bethel hired the professionals of Lowrance Sound Company, who relied on an Ashly nXp 4004 four-channel 400W Multi-Mode Network Amplifier and built-in Protea™ processor to deliver an affordable and articulate system in a small 2U package.

“Bethel has been blessed with the ‘problem’ of dramatically increasing attendance at its football games,” explained Systems Engineer Carl Lowrance, son of LSC founder Mark Lowrance. “Since the bleachers filled up regularly, fans started bringing their own chairs and setting up on the hilly grassy areas adjacent to and above the bleachers. However, the original sound system, which is comprised of two Community R2 loudspeakers, didn’t address those areas. In the hope that it would fix the problem on the cheap, the university hired a local music store to install one amp and loudspeakers. Since they weren’t processed or time-aligned, and were attenuated entirely too loud, the result was actually worse than the original lack of coverage.”

He continued, “The school called us in for a professional solution, but one that would still meet a very tight budget. We said that to do it right, we’d need to include reliable processing. However, there was only three RU of space left in the rack. Based on our past successful Ashly installations, we suggested a solution that centered on an Ashly nXp 4004. The fact that it is built in the USA, comes with a long warranty, and packs four channels of amplification and processing into just 2RU made it the obvious choice. We also demonstrated that with the low price point and long warranty, the annual cost was comparable to their failed music store solution.”

Six new Community R.25 loudspeakers, arranged in three pairs, each get their own zone of processing and amplification from the 70V output of the nXp 4004. The remaining channel powers two new Community R.5 loudspeakers mounted to the poles that support the original loudspeakers, but aimed down to hit the new areas. “It was important to zone the loudspeakers out that way because there were clear advantages to time-aligning them,” Lowrance said. “Ashly’s Protea software gives us that flexibility and also allowed us to give each loudspeaker custom equalization and compression.”

By all accounts, the new system is a huge success, and, four games into the 2016 season, the Wildcats remain undefeated! “It’s been all compliments,” said Lowrance. “The levels are perfect, with even SPL and no hot spots across the entire area of coverage. The time-alignment delays really improve the intelligibility and impact of the system.”

Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of high quality & high performance signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets. The 42 year-old company is headquartered in Webster, New York U.S.A.

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