Pomona, CA - From its rural beginnings in 1922 as the L.A. County Fairgrounds, Los Angeles County's Fairplex has grown to become the fourth largest fairgrounds in North America. At 543 acres the facility is twice the size of Disneyland and hosts a year-round variety of concerts, conventions, shows and sporting events.
The Fairplex grounds are home to more than 325,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space, including a 12,000 square foot Fine Arts educational center affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The complex also houses carnival grounds, parks, plazas and picnic areas, as well as a 250-suite Sheraton Hotel and a 185-space KOA RV park. Also calling the Fairplex home is NHRA-rated Pomona Raceway and Fairplex Park, a 5/8-mile horse racing facility. Both racetracks also host numerous concerts and performance events.
Not surprisingly for a facility of its size, the Fairplex is constantly evolving, growing and modernizing its infrastructure, currently including a high-end revamping of the complex's audio systems. Woodland Hills-based Campbell-Shaw Incorporated, dba CSI Multimedia (CSI) has been involved in the design and installation of these projects-along with Fairplex IT Manager Ralph Schorbach-including a powerful assortment of Community R-Series loudspeakers in various locations.
"We were originally approached to offer a proof-of-concept demonstration for one of the nine exhibition buildings," recounts CSI President Rick Shaw. "Our Community representative, Steve McNeil of Mac West Group, set up three Community R.5 loudspeakers at one end of the hall, powered by an MC2 amplifier, and it outperformed the thirty or so horns they had been using for the same space. They immediately asked us to do the racetrack and grandstands as well. Then we got to talking about the trams, and it's been onward and upward from there."
Convention Hall 9, the first building to be completed, is covered by 80 Community R.5-94TZ two-way full-range loudspeakers, with low end enhanced by six R.5SUB 12-inch subwoofers. Outside there are 16 R.25-94TZs and five R.5s. An Aphex Anaconda digital snake system provides fiber optic distribution to Building 4, which is the communication hub for the exhibit halls.
Other ongoing projects include Building 4, one of the largest structures at Fairplex at 105,500 square feet, covered by 135 Community R.25s and 14 R.5SUBs. Convention Halls 5, 6 and 7 will receive a total of 320 R.25-94TZ units and 36 R.5SUBs, with another 86 R.25-94TZs and 20 R.5s covering the outdoor areas between buildings. The Racetrack and 10,000-seat Grandstands have received 16 R1 loudspeakers and are slated to receive another ten R1s, with eight more in the auxiliary areas.
"A lot of the equipment in this facility had been designed 20 to 30 years ago, and much has changed since then," explained Fairplex's Schorbach. "When you go from a system designed for 1,000 people to now handling 10,000, the old system just won't accommodate those needs any more. We needed a lot of volume and power to fill that capacity, which is one of the reasons we looked to Community loudspeakers. For the money, they gave us the raw power with a lot of overhead and great sound."
"We knew the Community R-Series would be a good choice in terms of their power and range, but I think the client was mainly impressed with their voicing," added CSI engineer Terry Galati. "The sound is very consistent across the entire range, both up close and far afield, and they have a really pleasant voicing that people pick up on. Very few systems can deliver both intelligibility and musicality equally well, but the Community R-Series does it."
"One thing that really impressed us was how accurate Community's documented specifications were," Galati added. "We hooked up an oscilloscope and did full power testing on the R1 and the R.25, running sine waves through it and bringing up the gain slowly. We were able to ramp the speakers up to full power with no sloppiness and no high-frequency anomalies, and that's very uncommon. Across the entire range, Community's published specs agreed with our own test results."
Another renovation included Barrett's Horse Auction site and Hinds Pavilion, which have been transformed into the Finish Line Sports Grill, and Satellite wagering facility. The Finish Line Sports Grill is outfitted with 107 screens (plasmas, LCDs and projectors), along with 30 Community CLOUD6 ceiling loudspeakers for its main sound and two R.5s for focus on the lead-in area for when the auctions are held. Three Aphex 230 Master Voice Channel Processors are also installed at the lead-in area. "The auctioneers just love what the 230 does for their voices," says Shaw. Three Community iBOX iHP1264s and an iBOX i215SW above the plasma screens supply sound for the Hinds Pavilion, the auction and wagering area. Outside, ten R.25s cover the newly tented warm-up ring for the horses.
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Related Images: Fairplexracing.jpg, FairplexConvHall.jpg, FairplexAuction.jpg
Additional images: FairplexExtHall9.jpg, FairplexAuction2.jpg, FairplexConces.jpg