North Carolina, USA
Fulcrum Acoustic, Linea Research,Yamaha
Audio & Light
Project Submitted By:
he foundations for the Schar Center at Elon University dates back as far as 2010, and this Summer the 160,000-square-foot facility has been completed, and is now home to the Phoenix basketball and volleyball teams. The university in the South in the Piedmont area of Central North Carolina, between Greensboro and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle sits on 636 acres, and has been described as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country.
In addition to the newly completed main arena, the Schar Center boasts a spacious entry atrium, a large practice gymnasium, locker room and team facilities, and a hospitality room for social events and gatherings. Greensboro, North Carolina’s Audio & Light was selected to design and install a sophisticated, distributed sound reinforcement system for the new multipurpose arena. Audio & Light’s lead system integration engineer, Brian Cox based his design on Fulcrum Acoustic’s pattern control coaxial driver/horn systems and proprietary cardioid subwoofers, which rely on Linea Research power amplifiers.
The arena required a high-output, high-fidelity sound system with precise directional control and the ability to easily configure coverage for programming ranging from athletic events and convocations, to guest speakers and galas. “Like most arenas, the Schar Center’s steel, wood, sheetrock and glass surfaces make for a very loud and reverberant space,” explained Brian. “I specified Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers for the directivity, output and intelligibility we needed.”
“For the main system, we designed eight loudspeaker clusters, each consisting of three Fulcrum AH96 full-range coaxial horns paired with a CS121 21-inch cardioid subwoofer,” he continued. The main clusters are flown above the arena’s north and the south sides to cover the court and stands. The AH96’s provide all the output we need and their fully horn-loaded design increases sensitivity for more efficient use of amplifier power to reduce overall system cost. Fulcrum’s unique CS Series passive cardioid subwoofers deliver low frequency punch while minimsing reflections from the Schar Center’s steel ceiling.
“Five Fulcrum DX1265 dual 12-inch coaxial loudspeakers serve as fills for the north side stands,” he added. “We also installed 12 GX1295 single 12-inch coaxial loudspeakers above the arena’s east and west ends for concourse and lower seating coverage. Fulcrum was very helpful with loudspeaker selection and confirming our thoughts on the system design.”
Sitting alongside the Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers are Linea Research 88C10 and 44C20 power amplifiers and Symetrix Edge DSPs. “This is the first time we have spec’d or used Linea Research amplifiers, and so far, they have been very impressive,” continued Brian. “We’ve been impressed with Linea Research amplifiers’ DSP capability and ability to do all of our speaker processing in the amplifier per channel – and the power output is incredible.”
Five eight-channel Linea Research 88C10 power amplifiers drive the 40 channels of mains and fills, while a pair of four-channel Linea Research 44C20 amplifiers drive the eight subwoofers. A sixth Linea Research 88C10 is kept in the rack, unpowered, as an emergency spare. “Using the full passive loudspeakers was made possible by the Linea Research amplifiers,” Brian explained. “Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers work extremely well with Linea amplifiers. The Linea Research amplifiers’ built-in DSP gave us the ability to process the limiting by frequency, rather than just limiting by level. They can close down on high-frequency damage before it happens, without having to worry about the low frequencies.”
Linea Research 88C10 and 44C20 power amplifers fully integrate 9 kHz DSP with algorithms designed in-house at Linea. Users can create custom FIR filter sets on each channel with up to 384 taps at 48kHz resolution, or 768 taps at 96kHz. Linea Research amplifierss boast Level 1 compatibility when used with Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers.
“This was one of our first projects using Fulcrum Acoustic Level 1 presets,” offered Rik Kirby, President of Allied Professional Technologies, Linea Research’s US distributor. “This compatibility has been proving very popular, and the end result sounds great. And Fulcrum Acoustic have been able to implement Linea’s Virtual Crossover (VX) Limiter, allowing them to limit low frequency and high frequency separately despite using a passive crossover in a mid-high device.”
“We wanted this to be a Dante digital system so we could make it as flexible as possible,” added Brian. “The Linea amplifiers come with an option for Dante I/O, and they work very well with the Symetrix Edge DSPs. We have one Edge for arena processing, one for auxiliary area processing in other parts of the Schar Center, and a third Edge for routing and switching. The Linea amplifiers have three network ports: one for control and the primary and secondary Dante ports. The Symetrix DSPs, Linea Research amplifiers, and Fulcrum Acoustic speakers have so far worked together flawlessly.”
When deciding on Linea Research amplifiers, Brian considered multiple factors. “It seemed like the Linea Research amplifier was designed for the Fulcrum Acoustic speakers we wanted to use,” he detailed. “In fact, the Fulcrum Acoustic rep first brought Linea Research amplifiers to our attention. We looked at other brands but anything else that had Dante didn’t have enough DSP horsepower, and the Linea Research amplifiers’ power-to-size ratio and output capabilities are among the best on the market. To go with another brand, we probably would have ended up with more external DSP power and larger amplifiers with more heat load. And programming the Linea Research DSP was easy; we had the amplifiers updated, loaded, and ready to go and passing audio in one morning.”
Audio input for the arena system is through a Yamaha TF1 16-channel mixer with a NY64-D Dante I/O card. The mixer rolls out in a mobile cart, which includes a headset and computer inputs, providing a complete solution that can be located at the scorer’s table for sporting events. Floor pockets enable the mixer to send Dante audio to the network.
“The Schar Center is great; it’s a beautiful building,” concluded Brian. “The athletic departments are now using their new offices, and the basketball and volleyball teams have moved in. The arena opened with a women’s volleyball game on August 28, and the sound system did a really good job. The Linea Research amplifiers’ sonic performance so far seems to be above everything else. Everybody here is very happy.”
The final word goes to Elon’s Assistant Director of campus technology support, Joe Davis: “To ensure a flexible and reliable sound system, we required that each of its loudspeakers have the ability to be controlled individually. This allows us to easily tailor the 49 loudspeakers’ coverage for any use. The Athletics and Events departments, and support staff all love the system’s sound and configurability. Audio & Light delivered an amazing sound system that adds to the Schar Center’s wow factor, and is worthy of Elon’s stature and commitment to excellence.”