ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre near St. Louis, Missouri seats 7,000 people under its roof, but it seats another 13,000 people on its vast lawn. However, the previous line arrays that covered the lawn – and thus the vast majority of patrons for a well-attended show – strained to provide the necessary volume, irritated neighbors with the volume it did manage to provide, and literally rotted under the stress of the summer humidity and heat in St. Louis. Rather than replace the failed system with an equally doomed solution, Logic Systems Sound and Lighting completely re-conceptualized the entire approach. They installed four clusters of two point source Danley Sound Labs J7-95 Jericho Horns each and opted for Danley’s fully-weatherized version that can be left out, not only all summer but, all winter as well, with no ill effects.
“The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre was on its third lawn sound reinforcement system, and like the ones before it, it had completely rotted from exposure,” explained Chip Self, president of Logic Systems Sound and Lighting. “The boxes weren’t even safe to hang, despite the fact that the owners went through the $10,000 per year expense of removing and reinstalling them for every season. They asked us to come out and propose a new system. At first, we thought about it like all of the other contractors who were given the same request: what’s another line array that we can put in the same seven spots to give the folks on the lawn a few more years of decent, but not excellent, sound.”
However, it didn’t take long for Self to snap out of it. “I changed the design criteria on my own,” he said. “What would I want if this were going to be my system? First, I would want something that I could leave up all year, which immediately made my list of potential manufacturers very short. Second, I wasn’t happy with the locations. Given the distance to the audience, the arrays were way too close to each other and prone to comb filtering. I was walking on the lawn, considering all of this, when I noticed that there were four cut-outs in the facing above the roof. They were the previous locations of video screens that were open thanks to the updated video screens the amphitheater now uses. I did the math and realized they are ideally situated for the coverage patterns of Danley Jericho Horns.”
The solution solved several problems at once. First, technicians wouldn’t need an expensive boom lift to service them; they could just walk across the roof. Second, the old hung line arrays tended to throw energy over the edge of the lawn to annoyed residents on the St. Charles side of the Missouri River. With Jericho Horns on the roof, the angle would be steeper, and Danley’s legendary pattern control would keep energy contained within the lawn area. Third, mounting the Jerichos on the roof would remove a sight-line issue that was a constant irritation with the suspended arrays.
Because the roof structure makes an excellent wave-guide for low-frequency energy from the band’s PA system, Self didn’t need to add a lot of bass for the lawn system. The newly-introduced Danley J7-95 Jericho Horn, which forgoes the deep bass response of its Jericho siblings in favor of more mid- and high-frequency energy, was the ideal fit, and Self purchased the first eight J7s ever produced. Four Danley DNA 20k4 Pro amplifiers power the system with a total of 80,000 Watts and a full toolkit of transparent DSP resources. A fifth DNA 20k4 Pro amplifier is in the rack as a hot spare.
“The new Danley system at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre sounds substantially better than any of the previous systems, even to casual listeners,” Self said. “With fewer sources, it’s much easier to align with touring systems, and the Danley boxes and amplifiers have much more headroom than the old system, which was in full limit for every show – and it sounded like it. The Danley system is considerably louder and we’re not even touching the limiter. And with Danley’s incredible weatherproofing – I could sit there with a hose on it and never touch the drivers – we can leave them up all year with no issues.”
When Self proposed the system to the owners, he offered to sell and install the system, as expected. But he also offered to buy the system himself and do an extended full-service lease. They opted for the latter, and so Self really put his money where his mouth was. “I wasn’t asking them to do anything I wasn’t happy to do myself,” he said. “I’ve heard and used lots of lawn systems, and none can touch the sound quality, coverage, or volume of this one. By taking an entirely different approach, I believe we’ve established a new standard for lawn systems. For venues that are newly constructed, you could put the relatively small Danley boxes right into the roof structure and no one would ever know there were speakers even there!”
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