In October 2021, Sound Solutions was awarded the contract to supply and install a new sound system for the Port Hardy Arena. The existing system consisted of an aging digital signal processor, two 4 channel QSC power amplifiers, and a number of ElectroVoice speakers. While the system was still working, the signal processor was aging, and wasn’t intuitive to use. The sound system also lacked Bluetooth connectivity, and a number of their wireless mics no longer worked.
Now, the tender documents mandated that the installation be completed by December 1 which was 32 days after the tender was awarded. While this was a tight timeline, equipment generally takes no longer than 2-3 weeks to get to us or to the job site, and the installation wouldn’t take longer than a week, so how difficult could this be? Well, before we discuss the sound system, let’s take you behind the scenes. Let’s find out what happened to the speaker shipment that was to go from our supplier, Biamp/Community, directly to the client in Port Hardy, BC via Fed Ex freight.
Speakers ordered Nov 1, to be sent directly to site. Asked for either black or white speakers from supplier, and for speakers to be delivered to site by Nov 20.
Speakers ship out Nov 4, and promptly sit in Washington state for 10 days.
We call the courier, and was advised that the manufacturer didn’t supply paperwork with the shipment.
Called the supplier, and was advised paperwork WAS sent to the courier.
Called courier back, and confirmed that paperwork was in hand.
Shipment still not moving from Washington state.
Called the courier back (now Nov 15), and was told that they were advised by manufacturer to redirect shipment within the US, and not to send it to Canada. Asked the courier to supply a copy of that email from said manufacturer, as it was a blatant lie!
Courier admits that “oops, yes, that’s incorrect – we’ll get the shipment on the way”.
Nov 19 – shipment now in Vancouver and handed off to a subcontractor trucking company who deals with Vancouver Island. Advised that the shipment is already on Vancouver Island. Great!
Nov 22 – Call subcontractor to make sure the shipment is on the way. Was informed that they have the paperwork but no shipment. Called the courier back who claimed that was not true. Courier then calls subcontractor. I also call subcontractor to confirm that they actually have the pallet of speakers. Yes they do.
Nov 25 – call the subcontractor terminal to find out if the pallet was delivered. Get connected to the terminal manager, who informs me that the pallet has been delivered to a mine. A mine? WHAT MINE? Well, apparently this terminal receives a ton of shipments for a mine 90Km away, and our pallet got mixed in with those shipments. No one checked the manifest to see that our lone skid was not going to the mine. The manager also tells me that they are not doing a run to Northern Vancouver Island, unless the other freight that comes in from Alberta shows up, and with the flooding around Vancouver, the shipments have consistently been late. So no guarantees that the shipment will even show up on Monday Nov 29, when our installer is on site.
Nov 26 – Call terminal manager back to see if our speakers are back at the dock, and if the the Alberta shipment showed up. Affirmative to both, speakers will be on site on Monday. Yay!
Nov 29 – Sure enough, speakers show up. Reward driver with a 6 pack of beer.
Nov 29 – installer calls me. Supplier sent up 9 black speakers and one white one. On the PO, I was specific. We can use either white or black speakers, but all must be the same color. Installer tells me that he can get spray paint, and paint the lonely white speaker black. (cabinets are designed to take paint).
To top it off, the worldwide supply of all things electronics has been curtailed due to the backlog of semiconductors, but we found all the required equipment we needed to get the installation done.
We installed a new QSC Core 110f digital signal processor with 5.5” touch screen into the same rack that the old system was installed in. We’ve installed dozens of these QSC Core systems all over BC with great results. The touch screen provides easy to use user interfaces, with the client getting access to only the controls they need. The sensitive settings like equalizers and volume limiters being locked away behind password protected software.
We installed two mic and music Factor input plates, one in the scorekeeper’s box, and one in the skate shop. Each Factor plate has a Bluetooth receiver built into it, for wireless connection from a smartphone or tablet.
Two TOA handheld wireless mic systems and one headset/beltpack system were supplied for the various functions within the arena.
A new central cluster consisting of 15” 2 way Community speakers was installed to replace the six EV speakers firing across the ice surface. A centre cluster brings the speakers closer to the skaters, increasing intelligibility and volume levels as desired.
We replaced the existing six EV speakers over the spectator seating with new Community R series speakers, with 3 different time delays to sync the arrival of the sound from the main speaker cluster. Again, this improves intelligibility, and reduces echoes and reverberation.
We prewired the centre cluster for a subwoofer, to be installed at a later date as budget allows, and also provided a spare amplifier channel for future lobby speaker installations.
The easy to use touch screen pages make for an easy user experience, even to untrained staff.
With the QSC Core already being installed, the main lobby, pool system and civic centre meeting room zones can easily be incorporated into the main system with the addition of a QSC input and output expansion unit, and with CAT6 cable runs going to the main arena sound system. With the Core 110f system accepting up to 128 inputs and outputs, the system can be expanded without the need for additional digital signal processor units.
We also supplied a Wifi router, so that the arena sound system can be controlled via the QSC app available for IPad and IPhones. The arena manager started using the app right away, and noted how easy it was to set volume levels while standing in the spectator seats or on the ice surface itself.