Lexington’s Rupp Arena, part of the Lexington Center in Kentucky, has been equipped with the largest L-Acoustics K2 speaker system ever used as a fixed installation.
The 24,000-seat arena is the largest purpose-built basketball venue in the US, and home to the Kentucky Wildcats, the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team.
The new system, which is part of a $15million renovation, was designed by Rupp Arena technical services manager Bob Stoops and technical coordinator Steven Grant, with input from Lexington Center/Rupp Arena director of facilities administration Merrill Richardson working with L-Acoustics’ head of integration Dan Palmer, and was installed by AV systems integrator Cincinnati-based Loud & Clear Inc.
The system consists of six K2 arrays: two 13-box K2 arrays covering the east and west sides of the venue, with four 12-box K2 arrays covering the corners. The corner arrays also have four L-Acoustics K1-SB subwoofers flown behind each of them. In addition, 12 ARCS II enclosures are hung underneath a new video scoreboard to cover the court below, while another set of six ARCS II are used as delay speakers for the uppermost six rows of the arena. Finally, 38 ultra-compact 5XT speakers are used as under-balcony fills. The system is powered by a combined total of 40 LA8 and LA4X amplified controllers.
“We knew we needed a system that would give us the sound quality you’d expect from a touring system but that would also give us the complete coverage we needed throughout the venue,” said Stoops. “The K2 has great pattern control, and we now have seamless continuity from section to section of the entire seating area. The K2 installed is really the best of both worlds.”
Richardson, who has been with Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center complex since 1976, added: “Several years ago, when we were looking to update the loudspeakers at the Lexington Opera House, we critically listened to all of the major systems on the market, and L-Acoustics was by far my first choice. Their sound was simply the most natural, both for music and vocals. Even in a very different environment like Rupp Arena, L-Acoustics has once again proved to be the right choice and our fans are enjoying the new sound very much.”
The speaker arrays and amplifiers in the new system, which are mounted in LA-RAKs on the catwalk above the floor, can be moved to allow the speakers to accommodate other types of events, such as concerts. Music is critical to Rupp Arena’s legacy, over the years it’s hosted shows by the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. “Making the system flexible in its configuration was always part of the strategy,” said Stoops. “It’s just one more reason we went with the K2.”
“The design of the system was intended to be multipurpose; they can lower two of the four corner PA hangs and the side hangs and move them to one end of the venue to create a concert configuration, leaving the other two corner hangs as delays,” explained Joe Deavers, Loud & Clear’s installation manager, and the project manager on this installation, who also credits the Rupp Arena staff’s expertise for how smoothly the project went. “They can also move it into another area of the Lexington Center, such as the convention center. It’s a highly flexible design and that’s made possible by how flexible and adaptable the K2 system is.”