Farmington, NM - Ricketts Field has always been more than just a local ball park for this city near America's Four Corners. Since opening its doors in 1965, the stadium has been the home of one of Little League Baseball's signature events, the Connie Mack World Series.
The venerable 5100-seat venue was recently treated to a large-scale audio makeover, upgrading their aging horn-based system to Community's R-Series all-weather loudspeakers. According to William Hartley of Albuquerque-based Sound & Signal Systems, the R-Series was selected not only for its durability but also for its tight pattern control.
"The stadium is situated very close to a residential neighborhood, and the sound from those pole-mounted horns was shooting right across the surrounding homes," Hartley explains. "After receiving several formal complaints, the city approached us to design a better solution."
Sound & Signal Systems' approach was to design a system using the R-Series to tightly focus the sound onto the field and seating areas, without spilling over into adjacent neighborhoods. Atop the press box, pairs of Community R.5HP three-way, R.5-94Z two-way, and R2-52Z full-range, long-throw loudspeakers are arrayed in left-right facing pairs to cover the field and bleachers. QSC amplification powers the system, and as Hartley explains, a bit of creative DSP helps to maximize the system's versatility.
"While the stadium is full for the World Series and other big events, many times it's just being used for a local community game, with just a few dozen parents in the stands," he says. "We designed the new system to be configurable, depending on the size of the crowd."
Using a Bose Control Space processor and CC-64 control panel, operators can select between small, medium, and full stadium settings. The small crowd setting turns on only the two R.5HP loudspeakers at nominal levels, while the medium setting selects both the R.5HP and R.5-94 boxes, along with a pair of WET-Series W2-122 subwoofers, at a medium gain level. The full stadium setting adds the R2-52Z loudspeakers, running the system at full gain.
And as Hartley observes, this configurable solution improves not just efficiency, but sonic quality. "With the old horns, the entire system was running, full-bore, all the time," he says. "With sound coming from all those different point sources, the intelligibility factor was next to nil. With a selectable, directionally focused system, the difference in sound quality overall is just unbelievable."
Hartley reports that the new system has made a dramatic difference with the stadium's neighbors. "We've been able to reduce spillage outside the venue by as much as 60-70%," he says. "I'm told there hasn't been a single complaint since the new system's been in use."
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