- by Frank Hammel
BLOOMINGTON, IN — Sweetwater and All Pro Sound collaborated recently on an all-new sound system at Assembly Hall, home of the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team, located on the Indiana University campus here. The new audio system includes components from JBL, Crown, BSS and Renkus-Heinz.
Since it was first constructed in 1971, Assembly Hall has been one of the most famous sports venues in the world, having played host to some of the signature moments of college basketball. This was the first renovation of the sound system since the venue’s initial construction.
A job of this scope, from bid to completion, typically takes three to six months. But due to scheduling issues, this project was fast-tracked and completed in about 30 days — with the demolition of the old system and the installation of the new state-of-the-art system taking only 19 days. The work had to be performed around the IU practice schedules. That meant that this was entirely a nighttime project, with 6PM–8AM shifts.
A key aspect of Sweetwater's and All Pro Sound's winning of the contract was their unique ability to complete it in this incredibly short time frame. A coordinated effort between manufacturers was integral to the project’s success. Sweetwater and All Pro Sound were able to work with long-time manufacturing partners on the procurement and quick delivery of the various audio components involved. Those partners included JBL, Crown, and BSS, as well as Renkus-Heinz, who mobilized their resources and coordinated with Sweetwater and All Pro Sound to accomplish this amazing feat in a fraction of the typical installation time period.
Sound-system design for the project was provided by New York-based SIA Acoustics. Sam Berkow, founder of SIA, said, “Sweetwater and All Pro Sound faced all of the standard logistical challenges that sports arenas present, plus a very short time window in which to finish the installation. They were able to work with us as the designer, as well as with the facility’s in-house crew, to find ways to meet these challenges. The result was a system installed on budget and on schedule. A very good job!"
The technical side of the installation project was comprised of completely new speakers, amplifiers, and signal-processing units. This included 90 specialized world-class PA speakers, resulting in a significant increase in speech intelligibility. Also included were six JBL Vertec VT4888DP self-powered line arrays plus four subwoofer arrays designed to provide speech reinforcement and the power to add "punch" to the Hoosiers' home games. The system also featured five BSS BLU160 audio processors, along with Crown CTS and Crown I-Tech amplifiers to power the fills and subwoofer arrays, plus a Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 twenty-four channel digital mixer. A LynTec Sequential Power System was added to provide clean power to the entire system. All of this impressive power and sound was implemented by using a completely new rigging and hanging design, new hardware, and SIA Acoustics’ completely new sound design.
"Assembly Hall is one of the premiere college basketball venues in the nation, and our state-of-the-art sound system will greatly enhance the event experience for our fans," said Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass.
Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack said, “With Fort Wayne, Indiana, being the home of Sweetwater, I felt a particularly strong desire to see the sound system in this incredible sports facility be installed by an Indiana company. From sales to merchandising, our team worked around the clock to put together a winning bid. And with our existing relationship with All Pro Sound, plus our incredible partnerships with audio manufacturers, we knew that, together, we would be able to meet the many challenges this huge project presented.”