In May of 2022 Sound Solutions was chosen to upgrade the sound system at the McBride arena. The existing system was installed sometime in the 1990s using several pieces of Peavey brand equipment. While the amplifiers and mixer were of good quality, the previous installation company that had installed many arenas in the 1990s and early 2000s used Peavey speakers that were not designed to be ‘flown’ (hung), and the speaker cabinets didn’t have the reinforcement required to safely be hung. Instead, this company used Home Depot hardware (also not rated for flying speakers) and drilled holes into the speaker cabinets to hang them via chain from the Wilson joists. In this installation, the previous installers ran chain through the speaker carrying handles, also not designed to support any kind of weight, as the handles are installed with wood screws.
The power amplifier of the existing system had failed after 25 years of service, and was causing buzzing through all of the speakers.
Old original sound system rack
We opted for a new basic system due to budget limitations, while retaining all of the functionality that the old system offered. We installed a new Rolls preamplifier to replace the old Peavey unit, pulled out the cassette deck and CD player, but retained the AM/FM tuner, as those old Inkel models never die. The main music source is a Sirius satellite radio player, and there’s a CD player, additional Rolls preamplifier and Bluetooth receiver in the scorekeeper’s booth. A new QSC 900 watt power amplifier drives the new speaker cluster.
Rather than install a number of speakers scattered over the ice surface that point straight down, we opted to install a 4 speaker central cluster, using Community 15” 2 way speakers with integral flying points.
With a new central cluster of 4 speakers, the four speakers act as a single sound source with one source of echo/reverberation. In addition, any sound that hits the ice will be reflected off at an angle, scattering the reverberations. Ultimately, the intelligibility significantly improved compared to the old system, and the sound coverage throughout the ice surface and spectator seating is excellent.
Below are a couple of closeup shots of the new speaker rigging, complete with seismic restraints. With fly-rated hardware and heavy duty Unistrut securing the speakers to the Wilson joists, the speaker cluster isn’t going anywhere