Shakopee High Pumps Up Football Field Sound

Like the field at most secondary schools, Shakopee, MN, High School’s football field is a multi-purpose venue, used for football, track and field, rallies, and ceremonies. And like many high school football fields, it was somewhat lacking in audio coverage, with an underpowered system pushed well beyond its reasonable limits.

“The system was two speakers and a 150-Watt amp,” says Dohn Fadden, of Shoreview, MN-based Electronic Design Co. “In the few areas where the loudspeakers could be heard, the sound was largely unintelligible.”

Designing a new system involved a few challenges, including the logistics of covering both the home and visitors’ seating from a single point.

“Mounting the speakers above the press box on the home team’s bleachers was really the only viable solution,” Fadden explains, “since trenching for cabling across the field would have been expensive and a logistical nightmare.”

Creating an EASE modeling of the field, Fadden and Design Engineer Rustin Bullert developed a system that included a pair of Community R.5-HP loudspeakers covering the home-team seating, with two more R1 loudspeakers covering the outer edges of the bleachers and the field. A single R2 long-throw loudspeaker in the center provides coverage to the field and the visitors’ bleachers.

But what really has the fans jumping is the bottom end: two Community WET-215 subwoofers mounted underneath — and physically coupled to — the bleachers.

“The bleachers are built against the side of a hill, which acts as a reflector,” says Fadden. “So, in addition to the ‘butt-shaking’ effect on the bleachers, the bass frequencies are reflected across the whole field and to the visitors’ seating as well.”

The system is powered by Crown amplification, with DSP provided by a Biamp Nexia unit.

“The pattern control of the R-series was really helpful in designing the coverage we needed, and the price allowed the school to add in the subs and still stay within their budget,” says Fadden, adding that the subwoofers really make a difference where it counts: “You can see a little extra energy in their step. It really gets them pumped up.”

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