A new Meyer Sound system based on Leopard line array loudspeakers is the keystone component of a complete audio upgrade for Omaha’s up to 18,300-seat CHI Health Center arena.
The arena hosts basketball and hockey games, professional wrestling events, concerts, and the annual shareholders' meeting of Omaha-based conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. The arena's primary tenant is the Creighton University men's basketball team.
Integrated and installed by the Sports and Entertainment division of Alpha Video, the new system replaces a sturdy but dated Meyer Sound point source cluster system that had been in place since the arena first opened in 2003.
“The durability and craftsmanship of the Meyer Sound speakers outlasted most of the rest of the system,” notes Gino Meyer, manager of audio-video technology for the Omaha Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA), the venue’s manager and operator.
“So when it came time to upgrade to the latest in line array technology, going with a new Meyer Sound system was a no-brainer.”
CHI Health Center had worked extensively with Alpha Video on their broadcast systems, so MECA’s Meyer called on Jeff Volk, vice president of sports and entertainment, to work on solutions. System design was a collaborative effort involving Alpha Video Broadcast Design Engineer Fred Street in consultation with Meyer Sound Design Services.
“Creighton University men’s basketball is our main tenant here, so we really wanted a system with both very high intelligibility plus a really solid low end,” says Meyer. “Since most of the incidental music for them is hip-hop. We really needed a system with punch, and the new Meyer Sound system definitely delivers.”
The system’s 88 Leopard line array loudspeakers are configured in six hangs, with four arrays of 16 each at the corners for near and far throw, and two of 12 each for the end arrays with a shorter throw.
For low end impact, the 12 900-LFC low frequency control elements are deployed in four cardioid arrays, with two LF arrays of three each flown over the end LEOPARD arrays and two on the sides between the corner arrays. System drive and processing is courtesy of five Galaxy 816 network platforms, with three RMServer implementing comprehensive remote system monitoring.
The system produces remarkably uniform coverage across the full bandwidth, according to Alpha Video’s Fred Street:
“Meyer Sound likes to hit within a couple dB consistently, and we’re doing that here,” he says. “Predicted maximum levels are well over 90dB, and we’re certainly capable of doing that. We didn’t have time to do any formal intelligibility measurements, but it really wasn’t necessary. The clarity is amazing. It’s smooth, consistent and beautiful-sounding, top to bottom and all the way around.”
For Jeff Volk, the bottom line is making the sound work with the contemporary shift in sports video presentation:
“It used to be just speech reinforcement in the PA, but what we’ve designed gives them a full range of music playback capability, including a lot of low frequency power. Now when the basketball team comes out, they can complement the opening video with a lot of low end punch to match the visual elements on the screen. Yet it still delivers a very high level of speech intelligibility, even when announcements are over the music.”