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Amplifying More Than Just Hockey

St. Pete Times Forum (, home to the NHL’s 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, recently installed a turnkey L-Acoustics system comprising 66 dV-DOSC enclosures, a dozen dV-SUB low-frequency extension boxes, eight SB218 sub-bass cabinets and four ARCS boxes, all powered by LA48a amplifiers.

The multipurpose facility also brings in a wide array of other events, including high-profile concerts by artists like Paul McCartney, U2 and the Rolling Stones; NBA exhibition games; USF Basketball and NCAA Tournament games; tennis; professional wrestling; boxing; figure skating; rodeos; and circuses.

Jason Dixon, SPTF director of broadcasting and programming, and Michael Cooley, arena A-1 engineer, began the search for a new rig by inviting various vendors to come in and demo systems for the room. Given that the design focus for the new system is primarily based on the hockey configuration, dasher boards and glass had to be factored into the equation. The goal was to provide an even blanket of coverage from the first row of seating adjacent to the glass all the way up to the last row in the upper concourse. The system trim height is fixed; the same trim height had to be used for Storm football with no trim or site-angle adjustments necessary. As ice-related events specifically request that no direct audio hit the ice surface due to undesirable reflections, it was necessary that the system design take this into account. Another design challenge in any arena is delivering coverage to the corner seating areas; however, the 120-degree horizontal directivity of dV-DOSC would enable it to provide more than adequate coverage in these otherwise problem areas.

The new system deploys six longer dV-DOSC arrays, each comprising 11 cabinets positioned below two dV-SUB low-frequency enclosures. For additional low-frequency reinforcement, twin arrays of four SB218 sub-bass cabinets each are flown in the geometric center of the three dV-DOSC arrays on each end of the venue. These LF hangs are positioned equidistant from their surrounding MF/HF enclosures and, consequently, the time alignment and distance between subs and each dV-DOSC array is identical. Clearances are within the specification of 70 feet above the ice surface and do not interfere with visual sightlines to the Jumbotron scoreboard above the center ice area.

Additionally, four ARCS downfill speakers are positioned on the underside of the scoreboard, added for the benefit of players and performers in need of audio reference on the ice or floor below. When audio reinforcement is not required in this zone, the ARCS downfills could be easily turned off.

To power all of the loudspeaker elements, L-ACOUSTICS specified a full complement of LA 48a high-efficiency, low-weight power amplifiers installed in the pre-existing racks on the catwalk. Amplifier gain settings are set to strict specifications required by DSP presets to optimize acoustical accuracy and ensure protection of the loudspeaker system. It is important to note that no gain shading or power scaling was used in this system.

Also key to this project was the specification of two wireless Dolby Lake LP4D12 digital signal processors.

Tampa-based Audio Visual Innovations (AVI, installed the spec’d system.

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