Saginaw Valley State Uni installs Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers in arena

One of Michigan’s fastest-growing universities, Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), has upgraded the sound system of an arena in its main athletics complex, the Ryder Center, with Renkus-Heinz CF-series modular point-source array loudspeakers.

Ryder Center at SVSU—which was founded in 1963 and now has over 10,000 students—plays home to the university’s many Cardinal Athletics teams and includes a 6,800-seat football stadium, indoor and outdoor track and field facilities and much more.

The center also includes the 3,700-seat James E. O’Neill Arena. The O’Neill Arena, as well as being the home to the university’s Cardinal basketball team, is a truly multipurpose venue. It is designed so that it can be segmented using moving walls. This means the venue can accommodate everything from baseball practice, pole-vaulting, shot putting and more besides simply basketball.

The sound system previously in the O’Neill Arena was originally installed when the Arena was constructed but was woefully inadequate for the expanding university’s needs.

“The original system was put in when the building was built, about 15 years ago,” explained the project’s audio consultant, Dave Spoelhof from Grand Rapids-based Accurate Audio Consultants. “They chose at the time to go with a distributed system utilizing 12-inch coaxial speakers mounted overhead, some 30 feet above the floor. The coverage was inconsistent and uneven – there were hot spots and dead spots, and depending on how high your seats were in the bleachers, you either couldn’t hear or you got blasted.”

The new system—installed by Clio-based ICOMM—incorporates 26 Renkus-Heinz CF101LA modular point source array cabinets. These are divided into six arrays of two and three boxes which cover the seating and court areas of the arena.

The self-powered CF101LA array module speakers—which feature a 10 inch woofer and 1 inch compression drivers—became part of the O’Neill Arena project after a surreptitious piece of timing.

“It just so happened that about two weeks before we started with this project, my rep Mike Somerville (of McFadden Sales) had invited me to their facility for a demo of the new CF-Series,” Spoelhof explained. “I was blown away by how articulate and yet musical it was. And it was about half the price of other comparable systems, which enabled us to stay within the client’s budget.”

The top draw sound pressure provided by the CF101LA combined with its 90 degree horizontal and 15 degree vertical coverage allows sound to be both high-quality and highly directed.

The CF101LA’s point-source array nature, according to Spoelhof, was particularly ideal for the application at the O’Neill Arena.

“I’ve designed large arena systems in the past, sometimes using line arrays and sometimes using point source systems,” continued Spoelhof. 2With the CF101LA boxes, we were able to bring in the best of both worlds. It gave us the reconfigurable coverage we were looking for, using a permanently installed line array, and without the need for a ton of boxes.”

Each of the array sets includes a single Renkus-Heinz CF15S subwoofer which provides the system with a powerful low frequency performance—a key requirement for such a multi-purpose rig.

“They hold a wide range of events there, and they were clear in their desire for full-range performance,” Spoelhof continued. “So even though the primary focus was on speech intelligibility, they were clear that they also wanted the system to rock.”

So how to handle the system drive and processing? In the end, Spoelhof plumped for the Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP unit which provided him with the opportunity to include a number of different presets.

“They wanted something that provided great coverage, great sound, and was easy to operate,” he explained. “We provided them with a number of different presets, changing the beam configuration depending on how they were using the room. Basically we’ve got presets for different sporting events, small commencements, large commencements, and so on.”