Community College Enhances Performance Space with Electro-Voice

The Hatheway Cultural Center at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, has been equipped with a comprehensive Electro-Voice sound reinforcement system that offers a unique combination of high performance, architecture-friendly aesthetics, and energy-efficient operation. The installation features loudspeakers from the EV-Innovation family (EVA line array and EVF front-loaded models) as well as EV subwoofers, stage monitors, amplifiers, system control, and touch panels.

Founded in 1970, the national- and state-award-winning college serves more than 20,000 credit and non-credit students annually in more than 40 career and transfer programs. Central to the cultural life on campus is the college’s 1,000-seat Hatheway Cultural Center, which hosts thousands of visitors every year for concerts, plays, and numerous other college and community events.

As the previous sound system no longer met its requirements, the college opted to invest in a new sound reinforcement system. “We were looking for a system that sounded good and offered smooth frequency response and even coverage throughout the room,” said Brian McKinney, Technical Coordinator at the Hatheway Cultural Center. With a wide variety of events taking place, the venue’s system also needed to be highly versatile. “During concerts it needs to provide enough sound pressure level while also ensuring highest intelligibility for talks and recitals,” Brian added.

To provide powerful yet even coverage inside the venue, simulations of different locations and dispersion angles were made using EASE software. The ideal setup proved to be a solution centring around EVA line arrays from Electro-Voice’s EV-Innovation family of installation-dedicated loudspeakers. At left and right of the stage, each main array consists of five EVA enclosures with two different dispersion angles. Full-range EVA models are available with six different dispersion patterns and offer true line-array performance and coherent far-field summing from the patented Hydra plane wave generator. A sophisticated internal crossover allows users to power up to eight EVA boxes from a single amplifier channel, eliminating the need for external crossovers or digital signal processing while making them an highly energy efficient option.

In addition to EVA, the installation includes two EVF speakers, which act as a centre cluster if the system is used in LCR (left/centre/right) mode. Four further EVFs are installed as balcony fills. “Being able to pick from a variety of angles allowed us to get the speakers focused exactly to where we needed them,” Brian said.

Complementing the system are six QRx 218S compact dual-18-inch subwoofers, as well as 12 full-range QRx boxes used as stage monitors. All speakers are powered by 13 CPS power amplifiers equipped with RCM-810 remote-control/DSP modules.

Despite its complexity, the system is easy to monitor and control, thanks to a NetMax N8000 system controller. EV’s top-of-the-line digital matrix system offers comprehensive management of all aspects of professional sound reinforcement systems. With EV’s IRIS-Net software, designers, and end-users are given highly flexible routing, DSP, and component-level system control and supervision. To allow remote access, the system includes one TPI-8 touch panel.

“A couple of diagnostic pages are also included, so we can not only turn the system on and off, but also individually control the amps or run pink noise through the system. This is extremely user-friendly and helps unify the system. Plus, if and when we may need EV tech support, the team can connect to the system remotely,” Brian explained.

Now that the installation has had plenty of time to prove its performance and value, Brian is full of praise: “I love the quality of these products, and the system sounds great and has a nice smooth response. Numerous guest engineers have used the system and always comment on how nice and flat it sounds.

“Additionally, Preston Stevenson, of EV’s tech support team, was willing to do anything and everything to help us optimise the system to our space. I’ve worked with other companies and this level of support is simply unmatched.”