ATHENS, GEORGIA: The University of Georgia Bulldog football team plays all of its home games in Sanford Stadium on the school’s main Athens, Georgia campus. Georgians have long stood behind the Bulldogs, and Bulldogs football is a distinguishing feature of autumn in a place where the average high temperature doesn’t drop below sixty degrees until December. Fan turnout has always been consistent at Bulldog home games, which has motivated a long series of stadium expansions. Today, Sanford Stadium can accommodate just shy of 93,000, making it the tenth largest stadium in the United States. In response to new rules allowing more music play during games and in recognition of how important sound quality is to the game day experience, the University of Georgia authorized an overhaul of Sanford Stadium’s sound system. Composed of Danley Sound Labs Jericho Horns, SBH-10 column loudspeakers, and BC-415 subwoofers, the new system dramatically improves coverage, low-end extension, and clarity.
“The old system had been installed for a decade and never covered the stadium evenly,” said Chris Williamson, athletic facility coordinator at University of Georgia. “There were several large dead spots, including a big one over the student section. Of course, that’s one of the most important sections for building the right game day atmosphere. In addition, new rules would allow us to play more music during the games, but with a subpar sound system, that would only highlight the system’s deficiencies. It had been intended primarily for speech reinforcement, not music playback. The previous system had subs but they just didn’t provide enough low end to add enough presence.”
“There is increasing recognition that the stadium itself, including its sound and video systems, is a critical tool in keeping the momentum on the field going in the right direction,” said Pete Dugas, president and founder of TSAV, the Athens-based firm that installed the system and that collaborated on the design with Mike Hedden, Danley president. He continued, “Home field advantage is more than the fans themselves, it’s also how the sound system inspires the fans. We’ve been working with a number of Division I athletic facilities, but Sanford Stadium is near and dear to us. The Bulldogs are our hometown team.”
TSAV looked at a range of feasible sound systems for Sanford Stadium, including a number of distributed systems and a number of end-fired systems. The TSAV engineers converged on an end-fired system using primarily Danley Jericho Horns with Danley subwoofers. In the spirit of due diligence, Dugas asked Hedden to come up with his own design without sharing the plans that TSAV had converged on. “The differences between Mike’s independent design and our own were small, indicating that our plans were sensible,” said Dugas. “Not only would the new system meet the university’s performance goals, it would do it without straining their budget.”
Five Danley Jericho J3 Horns provide main coverage of the opposite end zone and both adjacent sides, and three Danley OS-80 loudspeakers provide down-fill for the end zone seating immediately below the scoreboard. Like all Danley loudspeakers, the J3s and OS-80s are based on Synergy Horn technology, which delivers full-range content from a single horn. As such, their output possesses excellent intelligibility, fidelity, and pattern control. That pattern control keeps energy off the field so that the referees can speak without feedback, a situation that had caused considerable problems with the old system. Two of Danley’s new SBH-10 column loudspeakers provide additional side-fill coverage below the scoreboard. Mounted horizontally, they deliver 10 x 100-degree dispersion from a single horn, with all of the same benefits of the Synergy Horn designs. Four beefy Danley BC-415 subwoofers bolster the low end.
Considering the old system had lumpy coverage with worse than +/– 10dB swings, the new Danley system is better than +/– 2dB, and whereas the old system had no content below 70Hz, the new Danley system is still active at 25Hz. “We’re happy with the results, and the performance is close to model projections,” said Dugas. “There were adjustments to make, of course. The new low end rattled the scoreboard, which we had to fix, along with too much low end by the university president’s suite. That was easy to adjust. It was nice to see how it all came together with everyone working so cooperatively. The SPL is now 26dB greater than it was before, and the fact that everything is point source has improved fidelity tremendously. A Bulldogs fan myself, I’m looking forward to enjoying the system at every home game!”
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.