A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Audio Company Exorcises Floor Exercise Demons

Question: What do a gymnastics meet, a youth fitness center, and a multi-ring circus have in common?

Answer: All three feature non-stop action going on all over the place at the same time.

While that can be visually exciting, it can also be highly disconcerting, especially when music is a key ingredient in one area, but a distraction in others. Additionally, each of these three events generally takes place in view of a large number of people, making some type of a PA system a must.

Until recently, Studio West Gymnastics in Torrance, CA was confronted with two such predicaments.

The company offers children aged 2-18 a variety of programs ranging from kindergym to after school programs, gymnastics camps, and competitive men’s and women’s teams. In addition, it hosts a number of gymnastic meets throughout the year. Its 23,000-square-foot gymnasium is open seven days a week, 12 hours a day. 24 coaches instruct approximately 1000 students and team members.

Floor exercises, naturally, are part of its curriculum. And that is where the music problem arose. The discipline is the only one in gymnastics that involves the use of music. All of the others are audio-free. Gymnasts are judged on how well the various elements of their routines tie into the music they choose to use in their performance. Songs as far reaching as country-rocker “The Devil Went Down to Georgia?, Madonna’s high-energy “Vogue?, big-band styled “Hooked on Swing?, and the classical “Ode to Joy? are floor-exercise staples.

While the music is critical, keeping it contained to just the floor-exercise area is equally as important, as it is distracting to coaches and students practicing and competing in other areas of the gym.

As part of its audio system, Studio West used a pair of 4’ tall, freestanding, view-obstructing speakers in the floor-exercise area. Sound quality was so poor that the music was not only distorted, but it would blast the entire gym. The company decided it needed to direct the sound solely at the floor exercise area as well as reducing the amount of audio bleed-though. In the process of doing that, it could also eliminate the two speakers, whose exposed cables presented a potential hazard.

And, in an oh-yeah-while-we-are-at-it moment, Studio West decided to put in a public address system, as it had no effective way to communicate with everyone in the gym. Without one, it was next to impossible to signal station rotations and announce awards during meets.

At the suggestion of an audio engineer, the gym chose four OWI P Series P8378P 8? 3-way ported speakers manufactured by Carson, California-based OWI, Inc., an international leader in advanced audio systems. It has manufactured sophisticated audio equipment for commercial, educational, residential, and worship markets for over 30 years. The full-range speakers are ideal for both music and paging applications and they easily met Studio West’s under $1,000 budget requirements.

To solve the floor-exercise sound issue, a pair of speakers was mounted in the ceiling over the floor-exercise area. As a result, the music is now directed specifically to that apparatus and not to the rest of the gym. For the public address system, it used a second pair of P8378Ps mounted to the ceiling at either end of the gymnasium, giving great sound coverage in the cavernous building. In both applications, the speakers simply ‘disappeared’ into the ceiling. At just 14? wide and only 19 pounds in weight, the units were quickly and easily installed.

Gymnasts and parents cannot believe the difference just four speakers has made. Gone are the black monsters that were a visual eyesore and an audio nightmare. Now, gymnasts can clearly hear the music for their routines and the rest of the gym is not distracted. The addition of the PA system made communications easier and more effective. When an announcement is made, everyone – especially the younger ones – stops and listens.

OWI P8378P Indoor/outdoor Speaker
70 volt/8 ohm selectable
3-way, ported w/ 8? woofer, 2″ midrange, 3/4″ tweeter
5, 10, 20, 40 watt transformer tap and 80W maximum/40W minimum power
“U? bracket included for wall or ceiling mount installation
Plastic enclosure w/ weatherized aluminum grill
Black or paintable white
Website: www.owi-inc.com

Barbara Stracner
Antarra Communications
Tel. 714-891-3660

©2009 OWI Inc. All rights reserved
Specifications are subject without notice. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

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