Elon University has recently opened the all-new Schar Centre which serves as the new home for Elon Phoenix basketball and volleyball and a centre for major campus events. Audio & Light, designed and installed the AV systems for this beautiful and extensive new facility, including a state-of-the-art sound system in the 160,000 square-foot, 5,100-seat arena that relies on Linea Research power amplifiers.
Audio & Light Installation Division Vice President Brian Cox, who designed the Schar Centre AV systems explained: “This is the first time we have spec’d or used Linea Research amplifiers, and so far, they have been very impressive, we’ve been impressed with Linea Research amps’ DSP capability and ability to do all of our speaker processing in the amplifier per channel—and the power output is incredible.”
To ensure that quality, Brian designed a Dante system featuring high-end Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers driven by Linea Research 88C10 and 44C20 power amplifiers and networked with Symetrix Edge DSPs.
Brian added: “The main sound system over the court, covering the seating area, consists of 24 Fulcrum Acoustic AH96-FP ‘full passive’ loudspeakers, configured as eight arrays of three loudspeakers each, each of those arrays also includes a Fulcrum Acoustic CS121 subwoofer, for a total of eight CS121s. On the north side, the seats go up much higher so we installed five Fulcrum DX1295-FP fill speakers. On the east and west ends of the arena, on the concourse, are seating that’s shaded from the main system, so each end is filled with six Fulcrum Acoustic GX1295s. That requires a total of 40 amplifier channels for the mains and fills and 8 channels for the subwoofers.”
Five 8-channel Linea Research 88C10 power amplifiers drive the 40 channels of mains and fills, while a pair of 4-channel Linea Research 44C20 amps drive the 8 subwoofers. A sixth Linea Research 88C10 is kept in the rack, unpowered, as an emergency spare.
Brian said: “Using the full passive loudspeakers was made possible by the Linea Research amplifiers, Fulcrum Acoustic speakers work extremely well with Linea amplifiers. The Linea Research amps’ built-in DSP gave us the ability to process the limiting by frequency, rather than just limiting by level. They can close down on high-frequency damage before it happens, without having to worry about the low frequencies.”
Linea Research 88C10 and 44C20 power amps fully integrate 96 kHz DSP with algorithms designed in-house at Linea. Users can create custom FIR filter sets on each channel with up to 384 taps at 48kHz resolution, or 768 taps at 96kHz. Linea Research amps boast Level 1 compatibility when used with Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers.
Rik Kirby, President of Allied Professional Technologies, Linea Research’s US distributor explained: “This was one of our first projects using Fulcrum Acoustic Level 1 presets, this compatibility has been proving very popular, and the end result sounds great. And Fulcrum Acoustic have been able to implement Linea’s Virtual Crossover (VX) Limiter, allowing them to limit LF and HF separately despite using a passive crossover in a mid-high device.”
Brian said: “We wanted this to be a Dante digital system so we could make it as flexible as possible, the Linea amplifiers come with an option for Dante I/O, and they work very well with the Symetrix Edge DSPs. We have one Edge for arena processing, one for auxiliary area processing in other parts of the Schar Centre, and a third Edge for routing and switching. The Linea amplifiers have three network ports: one for control and the primary and secondary Dante ports. The Symetrix DSPs, Linea Research amplifiers, and Fulcrum Acoustic speakers have so far worked together flawlessly.”
When deciding on Linea Research amplifiers, Brian considered multiple factors, he added: “We looked at other brands but anything else that had Dante didn’t have enough DSP horsepower, and the Linea Research amplifiers’ power-to-size ratio and output capabilities are among the best on the market. To go with another brand, we probably would have ended up with more external DSP power and larger amplifiers with more heat load. And programming the Linea Research DSP was easy; we had the amplifiers updated, loaded, and ready to go and passing audio in one morning.”
Audio input for the arena system is through a Yamaha TF1 16-channel mixer with a NY64-D Dante I/O card. The mixer rolls out in a mobile cart, which includes a headset and computer inputs, providing a complete solution that can be located at the scorer’s table for sporting events. Floor pockets enable the mixer to send Dante audio to the network.
Brian concluded: “The arena opened with a women’s volleyball game on 28 August, and the sound system did a really good job. The Linea Research amplifiers’ sonic performance so far seems to be above everything else. Everybody here is very happy.”