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Von Braun Center Selects Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) for New Audio System

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When officials at the Von Braun Center, located in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville, Alabama, approved a transformative renovation project at the multi-purpose facility, the task of installing a new audio system was awarded to Verta Technologies, a pioneering force in audiovisual solutions. Spearheaded by Christian Tuttle, Principal and CEO of Verta Technologies, the company selected a state-of-the-art ADAPTive audio system from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW), a leader in professional audio solutions, to deliver an unparalleled auditory experience.

The Von Braun Center has undergone extensive renovations over the past two years and sought a comprehensive update for its aging audio system at the 10,000-seat Propst Arena, home to the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Huntsville Havoc. This is in addition to EAW ADAPTive being deployed in the 1,300-capacity Mars Music Hall and the 2,000-seat Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, showcasing the flexibility and range of EAW’s ADAPTive products. While Propst Arena is primarily used for hockey, all three of the Von Braun Center’s venues can host touring productions of any scale.

2.14 VonBraun 3“It’s impressive to see ADAPTive present in both smaller music halls and large-scale arenas, demonstrating its versatility across various venues,” says Tuttle. “The Von Braun Center now boasts one of the largest permanent installations of EAW ADAPTive under one roof in the world, showcasing the versatility of the technology across different venues on the campus.”

With a looming hockey season and a tight project completion timeline, Verta Technologies executed a rush project for the arena, receiving the purchase order in July and completing the installation with a week to spare before the first hockey game in mid-October. EAW’s ability to deliver products in a very timely fashion and also have a technical support member onsite to support the commissioning of the system was crucial to meet the pressing deadline.

2.14 VonBraun 2After extensive research, the Von Braun Center chose the EAW ADAPTive system for the arena, with Anya chosen for the main speakers to meet the venue’s specific asthetic, as well as electro-acoustic requirements. The space offers a unique “hub-and-spoke” ceiling structure, where the primary load bearing beams meet in the center compared to the typical rectangular grid structure in most arenas. Considering this, the installation included a range of hangs, with the shortest being three-boxes all the way up to seven-boxes – for a total of 12 clusters around the bowl. Each configuration leverages ADAPTive’s ability to easily expand horizontal coverage by simply adding another column to the array. Otto subs are centrally located in the hub providing seamless horizontal coverage of the sub band, EAW QX 566 speakers for ice fills, and a QSC Q-Sys backbone for DSP and control completed the comprehensive audio solution.

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The height of the space is a significant challenge for the majority of today’s line array technologies. As Tuttle explains, “from ice to steel is only 65-feet, so it’s not a high arena structure,” which would create a considerable obstacle for many of today’s articulated arrays. EAW ADAPTive arrays meet these needs with flying colors by being able to cover an expansive vertical geometry with very short arrays.

“Using EAW’s Resolution software, we were able to steer the audio precisely to the audience from the first row all the way to the back row, so that every seat sounds exactly the same, from a frequency standpoint,” adds Tuttle. “We could also expand the horizontal coverage from a single rigging location. A lot of people don’t realize how difficult it is to get smooth SPL throughout a space, and this is a huge range of multi-tiered seats. The EAW ADAPTive system ensures everyone in the venue gets the same experience.”

The Mars Music Hall and Mark C. Smith Concert Hall house both EAW Anna and Anya systems as well as Otto Subwoofers. The Concert Hall will soon feature its AC6 Column Loudspeakers.

Doug Collingsworth, design engineer and production manager at the Von Braun Center, who was integral to the project from the beginning, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome. “It’s always satisfying when the naysayers leave with a smile on their face,” adds Collingsworth. “The decision to go with EAW was an excellent one. The system sounds great.”

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