In October 2018 Sound Solutions was awarded a sound system upgrade for the Nelson arena. The existing sound system consisted of four large Community R1 speakers positioned in two sets of two, with one pair at one end zone and the second pair at centre ice. While the Community speakers are excellent, the coverage was less than ideal, with the first three rows of seating receiving no direct coverage due to the arena glass.
Two pix of the existing pairs of Community R1 speakers as originally installed in 2006
We proposed to relocate the four Community speakers at center ice to cover only the ice surface, and to supply ten additional smaller Community speakers to cover the spectator seating areas on each side of the rink. An additional four channel amplifier and digital signal processor would be utilized to properly process the audio signals from the sound booth, as well as new Factor input plates in the penalty box and in the sound booth.
We worked with Martech Electrical contractors out of Castlegar. They installed the speakers and the needed wiring, with Sound Solutions coming up to install the amplifier rack and to tune the system.
We rewired the system so that two Factor mic and music input plates, along with two Bluetooth receivers at the penalty box and the sound booth would always be live. This meant that we did not need to run through the more complex sound booth mixing board. By wiring the sound system in this manner, the figure skaters or other independent users of the arena would always have a live input to connect to, without having to touch the mixing board. Similarly, the mixing board could be left set up for larger events such as hockey games, without having to be reconfigured to accommodate other users of the arena.
We moved the two existing Crest power amplifiers from the main sound rack to a smaller new rack in the sound booth, and they continued to power the existing Community speakers. A new QSC PLD 4.2 amplifier was installed to power the ten new Community R.35 speakers over the spectator seating. Martech Electrical installed a new 15 amp circuit to power this amplifier, which would draw in excess of 10 amps at full power.
A Lectrosonics DM1612 digital signal processor accepted the signals from the Factor plates, the main sound rack, and the mixer in the arena sound booth. This DSP also equalized and processed the signals, and we configured appropriate volume limiters. The volume limiters ensure that the sound system would never be overdriven, thus preventing speaker and/or amplifier damage.
The Bluetooth receivers allow staff and patrons to wirelessly pair their phones and tablets to the sound system, without requiring the 3.5mm cables that tend to get broken or lost over time.
Upon calibration of the system, it was demonstrated to the staff as well as to Martech, who commented that this was a significant improvement in sound quality and intelligibility over the previous sound system configuration.