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Yakima Valley SunDome Boosts Sound with Community R-Series Loudspeakers

Located in Central Washington’s State Fair Park, the 6,195-seat Yakima Valley SunDome is an impressive stadium that hosts touring concerts, basketball, wrestling and volleyball tournaments, truck-pulls, trade shows and other regional events.

As Leo Lee, owner and General Manager of Sousley Sound & Communications explains, the SunDome’s sound system was historically a bit of an Achilles Heel for the venue. “The SunDome was built in the 1990s, and at the time it was fairly typical to install center-cluster loudspeaker systems in domed stadiums,” he says. “Most center-cluster technology isn’t able to meet the current audio demands for a venue like the SunDome.” As Lee observes, to achieve the volume levels they needed, the cluster system was throwing sound too far, causing major reverberation problems within the SunDome’s largely concrete environment.

Sousley Sound & Communications was contracted by the city of Yakima to design and install a new distributed audio system capable of providing the zoned coverage needed for the venue’s various events, without compromising speech intelligibility or musicality. The newly commissioned system includes 24 Community R-Series Loudspeakers and six iHP Series dual-15″ subwoofers. The weather-resistant R-series, a popular choice for outdoor venues, is also frequently selected by designers for indoor arenas and other reverberant spaces because of its sound projection, pattern control, exceptional clarity and high quality music reproduction.

The loudspeakers are powered by 13 Ashly Audio amplifiers, with matrix routing and configuration presets provided by Ashly Protea DSPs. In addition, the system was the first installation to utilize Community’s new dSPEC 226 Loudspeaker Processor. dSPEC is an Ethernet-controlled processor that provides the standard functions expected of a high-quality DSP, while implementing a number of unique features to speed up the process of system configuration, multi-level limiter setting, and system commissioning. Among these is the first commercial-audio application of RealSoundLab’s CONEQ technology. Effectively a high-resolution tuning tool, as implemented in dSPEC, CONEQ processing provides loudspeaker presets that optimize frequency response while making each speaker’s sound-field more consistent. In practice, the dSPEC features enabled the various speaker types within a difficult venue to be quickly optimized, balanced, and commissioned.

Lee reports that the new Community system works exactly as it was designed and that everyone involved is very happy with the sound quality. “We’ve received many accolades about the new audio system,” he says. “You can hear every word clearly no matter where you sit in the arena. The sound distribution is exceptionally even. We’re very pleased, and more importantly, the SunDome management is very pleased.”

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