The 55,000-seater Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at University of Louisville has chosen what is claimed to be the most powerful loudspeaker technology available today — Meyer Sound’s LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system with the 1100-LFC low-frequency control element and SB-3F sound field synthesis loudspeakers. Selected for its sheer power and its ability to project sonic clarity and impact over long distances, the system was chosen by recently retired long-time stadium manager KC Scull after experiencing the impressive LEO system at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
“The performance of the new Meyer Sound system at Cardinal Stadium has been excellent,” said Mike Dewees, head technician at Acoustical Audio Designs, the company contracted for operation and maintenance of the stadium systems. “There are no more complaints about not being able to understand the announcer. Now the music quality is very good throughout the bowl with consistent coverage in all seating areas, and the system has incredible headroom.”
Packed tightly into the north end scoreboard, the system features 24 LEO-M line array loudspeakers deployed in five arrays: two main arrays of eight each for the lower bowl plus two additional arrays of five and three LEO-M loudspeakers for the upper seats on the east side.
Eleven SB-3F loudspeakers throw crisp, mid-high-frequency sound to the far end seats and an upper deck terrace over 200m away. Eight 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements arranged in cardioid arrays supply low end, and two arrays of three MICA line array loudspeakers provide additional coverage. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 AES and two Galileo 616 processors handles drive and optimisation.
According to consultant Ron Baker, the power of LEO and SB-3F helped to solve a difficult packaging problem. “Everything had to be squeezed into the same scoreboard structure as the old system,” he notes. “We had to apply creativity to shoehorn all the extra horsepower into the same small engine compartment.”
For Dewees, the extra horsepower is appreciated. “The old system was susceptible to changes in air temperature and wind,” he says. “Now, with LEO, we can get over peak crowd noise as needed with no distortion.”
Dewees added that the additional horsepower calls for adjustments and restraint on the part of users: “Because the potential level is off the charts, our only issue so far has been getting the operators to use that power wisely.”
The new system for the stadium was designed by Ron Baker and Justo Gutierrez of Dallas-based consultants Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams. Installation of the system was contracted in two phases, with the SB-3F loudspeaker system installed by Parsons Electric of Minneapolis. The LEO system was installed by Florida-based Pro Sound & Video under the supervision of Brian Smith of the Pensacola office.
Two of the five largest American stadiums use Meyer Sound SB-3F sound field synthesis loudspeakers, including Michigan Stadium (109,901 capacity) and Ohio Stadium (104,944 capacity).