Huntsville, AL | July, 2011 – The Von Braun Center has been a cultural nexus of this city for more than 35 years. The center includes a performing arts complex, a playhouse, multiple exhibit halls and meeting areas, as well as its centerpiece, the Propst Arena. The 10,000-seat multi-purpose venue is home to Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League and the Alabama Hammers of the Southern Indoor Football League, as well as numerous concerts and special events.
Opened in 1975, the arena has recently undergone a much-needed $15 million renovation that includes a full-scale audio system replacement. The new system, designed by consultant Bob Ledo of Coffeen Fricke and Associates, is based around multiple clusters of Renkus-Heinz ST-Series loudspeakers. Working with sound contractors All Pro Sound, Ledo designed a system comprising 18 groups of ST7R speakers distributed around the perimeter of the ice floor. Clusters of four boxes cover the main seating areas and premium seats behind the dasher boards, tapering off with clusters of three and two boxes toward the long ends of the perimeter.
While the acoustics of the arena were manageable, Ledo says the venue’s relatively older design did present some logistical challenges. “Other than some reflectivity from the floor, it’s a fairly well-behaved acoustical space. But the size and layout of the technical infrastructure was a bit of a challenge.”
As Ledo explains, the ST-Series’ self-powered design was key to addressing the issue. “Typically we wouldn’t use a powered loudspeaker in an arena like this,” he says. “But the existing facility had a very limited equipment room, with no space to add a central rack location and no room on the catwalk to install distributed racks. So the powered loudspeakers were a great solution.”
The main three-way cabinets are augmented with ST4LR dual 12-inch subs for powerful low frequency coverage. “Both teams play a lot of rock and high-energy music, and the system needed to have a lot of low-end punch and power,” says Ledo.
A dozen more ST7R cabinets are arrayed in a downward-firing configuration to cover the actual playing surface, used during the sporting events as well as for commencements and other events that utilize the playing floor for seating.
The system’s RHAON control was another major asset in the system design. “The ability to send audio and control data over a single cable enabled us to control and monitor the system remotely, which was a big plus,” says Ledo.
Ledo points to the versatility and musicality of the ST-Series as major pluses in designing the system. “Because of the multi-use nature of the venue, we needed a system that could deliver full-range musical performance as well as excellent coverage and intelligibility. The Renkus-Heinz system delivered in a big way.”