Series FIVE fit for a Palace
13 October 2005
USA - Home court to the NBA's Detroit Pistons and WNBA's Shock, the 22,000-seat Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan has been considered one of the best-marketed facilities in the US since opening in August of 1988 and is one of the country's top-grossing arenas of its size. The facility has been voted 'Arena of the Year' eight times by Performance magazine and presented with the same honour by Pollstar magazine on two occasions.
KLA Laboratories of nearby Dearborn has served as the Palace's sole audio systems contractor from its inception and recently undertook a revamp of the 17-year-old sound system. Working closely with the Harman Pro Group, KLA recommended that a full Harman system be specified - JBL loudspeakers, over 150,000 watts of Crown power, and a 32-mono-/4-stereo-channel Soundcraft Series FIVE mixing console.
Between basketball games, major concerts, conventions, and other events, the Palace is booked more than 300 days a year, which presented a challenging installation timeline for KLA. "This meant that we had only a five-day window to tear out the old system and install an entirely new setup," notes KLA president Matthew O'Bryan. "In order to accomplish that, we had to schedule crews around the clock. Any shipping delays or product failures out of the box would have absolutely killed us."
The Series FIVE, the heart of the new system, is now housed in the venue's sound room. According to Arena Sound Engineer Steve Conway, every channel on the new desk is being utilised - and some more than once. "One of the things that I love about this 36-channel board is that it's really a 72-channel board because each mono input has both an A and B path," he says.
Conway notes that he has been the man in the mixer's chair for every Pistons and Shock game since he first started working at the Palace ten years ago. "This means that I've heard YMCA more times than anybody other than the Village People. And I've let the dogs out more times than anyone. But at least they're a little less painful to let out with the Soundcraft."
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