We have been servicing the sound systems in Merritt BC for a number of years now, and have recommended the upgrade of the arena sound system due to the age, and the potential safety issue of having speakers hanging 25’ in the air that were never designed to be ‘flown’. Without factory engineered fly points that are integral to the speaker cabinets, undue stress is put on the cabinets, and they have the potential to come apart.
The system consisted primarily of Peavey components that were approaching 20 years of age.
In 2018 we replaced the top amplifiers that were driving the Mezzanine, change rooms and lobby, as they were distorting and cutting out. The existing system was difficult to use, as the controls bolted to the side of the rack were not labeled, and overall the system was not intuitive to use.
The speaker location and layout left a lot to be desired, as the previous contractor had hung 10 speakers aiming straight down on the ice surface, resulting in significant reflections off the concrete floor in the summer, and the ice throughout most of the year. Standing under one speaker gave good results, but standing between two speakers resulted in lost intelligibility. The speakers over the spectator seats were too far back over the ice surface, resulting in much of the sound bouncing off of the protective glass, so that most people only heard reflected sound. With no sound absorbing material located in the arena, the sound quality was poor throughout the arena.
We opted to keep the existing power amplifiers due to budgetary reasons, but replaced the Peavey digital signal processor with a new QSC Core 110f and touch screen, with clear visual interfacing to show the operation of the sound system. The Merritt arena staff installed and wired the speakers as per our specifications to meet budget, and all speaker lines were tested prior to turning on the system.
New Factor RVC PRO mic and music input plates were located on the mezzanine as well as the press box, allowing direct connections to the sound system from both locations.
The touch screen allows for arena sound to be heard in the mezzanine and lobby for hockey games, but also allows meetings and functions to use the sound system in the mezzanine without being heard on the ice surface. Separate volume controls allow each zone to be controlled individually.
All speakers were replaced with Community R series speakers. Four Community R.5 speakers were located around the scoreboard as a central cluster, with two smaller R.25 speakers located under the scoreboard to cover centre ice. Twelve additional R.5 speakers were located directly over the spectator seating, bringing the sound much closer to the audience without dead spots. Two speakers were added over the beer garden area that normally had no speakers over the area.
A noticeable improvement was noticed as soon as the new speakers were calibrated, and we look forward to client feedback once the hockey season starts.
See below for views of the touch screen, clearly showing which speakers are on and off, along with the master volume control page.