Harman Heard at University of Arizona

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The Stevie Eller Dance Theater at the University of Arizona in Tucson has just completed the installation of a HiQnet system comprising Crown I-Tech amplifiers and BSS Audio Soundweb London processors. The new audio system for the 300-seat venue, which also includes JBL Professional VerTec VT4887 line arrays, was designed by Mark Miceli, technical director for sound at the University’s School of Dance.

“We’re going all digital,” says Miceli. “I wanted to take advantage of Harman’s HiQnet System Architect, so I went with all the Crown I-Tech power amplifiers: the I-T6000 and I-T8000 amps, which are pretty hefty amplifiers.” The main digital signal processor for the system is the BSS Audio Soundweb London BLU-80 device.

One of the problems with the original system was poor coverage partly due to comb filtering caused by the horizontal speaker arrays. In the summer of 2006, Miceli put together a model of the dance theater and came up with a small line array system that is just right for the space. There are eight JBL VerTec line array boxes, four per side. With EASE modeling and TEF measurements, Miceli was able to find just the right orientation for the line arrays that allowed good coverage from front to back. “I didn’t have any dead spots. There’s very good stereo imaging. It’s not a large venue and with the new sound system, it’s not much different than sitting in a really good recording studio," he comments. The audio/video systems are supported by Jim and Norma Slone of Tucson.

The space is somewhat acoustically challenging because of the geometry of the room. Over the audience, the ceiling is very tall with a lot of catwalks and industrial air conditioning ducts overhead. Miceli needed to have good control over the vertical coverage of the system in the dance theater to minimize the sound splashing up into all the ducting and catwalk. Using the JBL loudspeakers, “This is where the line arrays have really proved themselves,” he says. “They’ve allowed me to focus the sound energy into the seating area and minimize splashing into areas that did not require coverage.”

For most of the performances, music tracks are played through the system. “That is where the quality of the system shines: When a high-quality recording is played through that system it sounds like a control room; it sounds very good.”

For additional information on the gear, visit www.harmanpro.com.