GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 2011: It would be hard to overstate the cultural significance of Lambeau Field. Set in a mid-sized city in eastern Wisconsin, the 73,000-seat “Frozen Tundra” is home to the reigning NFL champion Green Bay Packers. Season tickets to Lambeau Field have been sold out for over half a century, and despite repeated seating capacity expansions, the average wait time for the 81,000 desperate souls on the season ticket waiting list is thirty years. In addition to the high drama of “regular” Packers football, Lambeau Field hosted the 1967 “Ice Bowl,” where -15-degree air (-45 wind chill) provided a merciless backdrop for a contest that would have been historic at any temperature. As part of an ongoing commitment to ensure that game day lives up to its reputation, the Packers recently heeded pleas to improve stadium sound. A new distributed system, based on Danley Sound Labs’ revolutionary Genesis Horn, Synergy Horn, and Tapped Horn loudspeaker technologies, now provides clarity, intelligibility, and punch that has exceeded all expectations.
The old sound system relied on a single cluster of loudspeakers positioned at the scoreboard on the north end of the bowl. Apart from the sometimes surmountable, but ever daunting challenge of throwing sound long distances while still providing even coverage – which, incidentally, the old system was not managing to do – the architecture of Lambeau Field guaranteed that any system that relied on a single point source, no matter how pricey or sophisticated, would be inadequate. Specifically, a hemispherical ring of windowed skyboxes and suites tops the bowl, providing a surface that generates high-SPL, broad-bandwidth reflections that wreck intelligibility. The Packers hired Anthony James Partners (AJP) of Richmond, Virginia to design an improved sound system. With no ties to any vendor, manufacturer, or integrator, AJP provides its clients with ideal, unbiased solutions.
“The biggest challenge at Lambeau was the expected environmental conditions,” said Larry Lucas, director of audio engineering at AJP. “The Packers were understandably unbending about the placement of equipment. To prevent injuries from falling snow and ice (recall the stadium’s nickname!), no structures of any kind could be placed above seats. So even though we were using a distributed approach, we were left with the task of covering large areas of seating using a long throw from loudspeaker positions that were much less than ideal. The Shaded Amplitude technology of Danley’s Genesis Horn promised to provide that coverage without blasting the fans that were close or whispering to the fans who were far.”
The distributed system is primarily comprised of sixteen enclosures placed on top of the enclosed suites, around the perimeter of the field. Each of the enclosures contains a Danley GH-60 Genesis Horn and a Danley TH-118 subwoofer. The Genesis Horn and subwoofer combination covers the majority of the seating, with the Genesis Horn Shaded Amplitude roll-off positioned such that seats both near and far amazingly receive the same SPL. Due to Lambeau’s blustery weather, outdoor enclosures measuring approximately 6′ x 7′ were custom designed by Pro Media Ultrasound, the system installer for the stadium. Nineteen Danley SH-100 loudspeakers are spaced around the stadium in between outdoor speaker enclosures providing near-fill for seats below the suites that fall outside the Genesis Horn’s beam.
Two additional Genesis Horns cover the south end zone, which will be converted to seats and party decks next season. Fifty-six Danley SH-Mini’s provide coverage for club seating and the Legends Lounge. A new Yamaha M7 digital console gives stadium engineers the ability to recall mixes, and a BSS London-series DSP system provides all system equalization, dynamics, routing, and loudspeaker management. Despite the fact that a Genesis Horn contains eighteen drivers, due to ingenious crossover designs, the number of amplifiers required to cover the 80,000-plus seats at Lambeau was quite low. It only required five IP-5000s, nine IP-9000s, and eight IP-12000 Crown amplifiers to provide clean power with ample headroom to the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers. Danley Sound Labs’ Mike Hedden commented, “Our products produce industry leading high sensitivities and cutting-edge technologies. Other loudspeaker manufacturers would have had an amplifier count at least double ours along with much more required electrical service demands. When you compare this, and then add our lower electrical cost of actual operation, you’ll see why Danley Sound Labs is one of the most “green” loudspeaker companies on the market today.”
Because they have the capacity to throw long distances with appropriate SPL-by-distance performance, the Danley Genesis Horn (GH-60) and its larger sibling, the Jericho Horn (JH-90), represent alternatives to the line array. Indeed, Lucas had considered a line array as a potential solution at Lambeau Field. “However, two critical factors favored Danley’s solution,” he said. “First, when you tally up all the costs, a line array system is considerably more expensive than a comparable Danley Genesis or Jericho Horn. Second, the fact that the Danley boxes are true point-source devices make them a lot cleaner. For example, the Genesis Horn has noticeably greater intelligibility than comparable line arrays out there.”
The Packers’ fans, administration, and even players have praised the new sound system. “The improvement is not at all subtle,” said Lucas. “Fans have gone out of their way to let the administration know that Lambeau’s sound reinforcement system is a significant improvement. That very positive feedback has made them feel comfortable with the investment they made.”
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.