Montana State University Delivers Hi-Fi Audio with One Danley Jericho Horn

With capacity crowds squeezing into the 12,000-seat Bobcat Stadium in recent seasons, Montana State University funded a plan to dramatically upgrade the facility. The upgrade added 5,200 seats, a sophisticated new scoreboard, and an audio system that may provide a glimpse into the future of stadium sound reinforcement. The system centers on Danley Sound Labs’ Jericho Horn JH-90, which throws “near-field quality” audio up to 400 ft. from its position on the new Bobcat Stadium scoreboard.

Montana State University's Bobcat Stadium

The old sound reinforcement system suffered from poor coverage and a noticeably uneven frequency response. “Before the renovation, Bobcat Stadium was very obviously built on a ‘home side vs. away side’ plan,” said Steven Shewlakow, lead designer at Michael Garrison Associates (MGA), the company that designed the new audio system. “The PA was attached to the press boxes on the home side. It provided coverage both for the home side, which ended up being too loud, and for the away side, which ended up too quiet.”

The University did not want a new distributed system, so before MGA began participating on the project, the only solutions being considered were typical for scoreboard systems: multiple so-called “arrayable” loudspeaker boxes. “It was very, very far from ideal,” commented MGA principal Michael Garrison. “The available space within the scoreboard cabinet was limited, so no matter how many traditional boxes you could manage to cram in, the lack of coherency and limited maximum output would ensure poor sound quality, inadequate levels and even worse uniformity of coverage.”

“Line array technology could theoretically deliver the desired sound levels and sonic quality,” Garrison continued. “But, besides the fact that there was far too little physical space to contain such a system, there was also far too little budget. Furthermore, though I would not presume to challenge the science behind the much-advertised coherent summation between line array elements, in my admittedly limited experience, I’ve only ever heard a lot of beaming and sonic variation; quite disappointing, especially given the cost of these types of systems.”

The staff at MGA had recently been alerted to Danley Sound Labs’ Jericho Horn, which delivers the long-throw coverage and extended frequency response of a line array. But unlike a line array, the Jericho Horn produces its output from a point source, which ensures smooth, even coverage across the entire beam width.

Advanced Electronic Designs in Bozeman, led by owner Bryan Robertus, was responsible for performing most of the audio system installation. MGA did the final aiming, setup, programming, and tuning. A single Danley Jericho Horn JH-90 end-fires from the scoreboard to cover both sides of the field, the seating across the field, and the field itself. A pair of Danley SH-46 full-range loudspeakers provide fill for seats immediately adjacent to the scoreboard. A Lab.gruppen ST6000Q and two Lab.gruppen ST10000Q amplifiers provide power. A BSS London processor provides overall system balancing, timing delays for the SH-46s, and input mixing. Finally, a Danley DSLP48 provides turnkey processing for the Jericho Horn JH-90.

“We had heard demos of the Jericho Horn and we knew it was going to work well,” said Shewlakow. “But it was still impressive to actually hear it in Bobcat Stadium. The coverage was surprisingly consistent, both in terms of fidelity and volume.” Garrison added, “Even before we had the system tuned, the head of the athletic department and the other dignitaries on hand were ecstatic about the fidelity they were hearing. The whole experience was great. It turns out that the Jericho Horn JH-90 is a very cost-effective solution. When you consider what it would require from other manufacturers to even approach that level of performance, it’s obvious that any other system would cost way more money and take up way more space.”

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