They get a lot done over at the Utah Valley University UCCU Center. Built in 1996 and fully renovated this past August, the 8,000-seat, multi-use sports arena in Orem, Utah, has configurable seating for a diverse schedule of events: Utah Valley Wolverines Division 1 athletics team games, concerts from nationally touring acts like Imagine Dragons, Panic! At The Disco, and The 1975, conferences, trade shows, corporate parties, and more. And that’s when the venue is not hosting myriad other Utah Valley University events, such as commencement and convocation ceremonies. A venue this flexible needs a sound system that can keep up with it all, and thanks to a comprehensive new L-Acoustics loudspeaker network, both inside and outside the facility, it has just that.
Integrated by Salt Lake City-based Performance Audio with L-Acoustics Application design support from André Pichette, UCCU Center’s new main arena court system consists of 64 Kara II and its fixed-install version, Kara IIi, divided into four “compass” zones. The northeast and northwest corners each use a total of 16 flown Kara II, configured into two arrays per zone, while the southeast and southwest zones each use 16 Kara IIi, similarly arranged. Four KS21 subs in each quadrant are hung in a cardioid configuration behind the main array pairs.
Kendall Bowman, AV Engineer for the Installed Group at Performance Audio, notes why the loudspeaker system was designed this way: so it can easily be reconfigured when the venue hosts special events, such as concerts, speaking presentations, or conventions requiring an end-stage setup. In those instances, UCCU Center’s 32 Kara II can be lowered and repurposed as twin 16-enclosure left and right hangs, paired with eight portable KS28 subs ground-stacked four per side below. The Kara IIi remain in place and are used as delay speakers to complement whatever external sound system a touring production might bring in.
“Arenas are now truly multi-use facilities, and their sound systems have to be as flexible as they are, so UCCU’s PA had to adapt for whatever application it’s needed for,” Bowman says. “With Kara II and IIi, we had boxes that are designed to fly and be taken down as well as boxes that are designed to remain in place, so we could configure them as needed but always have consistent sound performance and coverage.”
And that system is “plenty loud,” he reports, achieving a measured 103 dBa continuous level with a 115 dBa peak. Meanwhile, coverage is also incredibly consistent, with just a +/-3 dB SPL variation throughout the listening areas.
Additional bowl systems include A10i delays in both the east and west zones, plus two downcourt fills, each comprising one A15i Wide and two A15i Focus per array. A combination of LA12X and LA4X amplified controllers provide power and processing for everything, managed through LA Network Manager software, with a Q-SYS Control plugin for secondary distributed sound systems.
The rest of the facility’s audio infrastructure is just as flexible as the main bowl. For instance, the area on the other side of the venue’s collapsible bleachers can be configured into two separate rooms for events with seven short-throw X12 speakers found in each, while the venue’s first—and second—floor concourse areas are covered by a total of 48 ultra-compact 5XT speakers. Furthermore, patio areas off the four venue entrances each have a pair of A10 enclosures, except the north entrance, which has four A10, that throw sound out toward the parking lot.
This extensive distributed sound system also utilizes L-Acoustics LS10 network switches for the Milan-AVB network that all of the venue’s sound travels on, and all of those unique applications have their system configurations stored and easily recallable via the L-Acoustics P1 DSP platform, which Bowman says is what enables system reconfigurations so effectively. “The University can adjust the system to whatever application they need it for—a game, a reception, a concert—and P1 automatically reconfigures the processing of the speakers and amplifiers for it,” he explains.
The result has been “just amazing!” in the words of Don Christensen, Associate Director of the UCCU Center. “It’s been so much fun to watch people come into the arena for the first time since the system was installed and experience it,” he adds. “And it really is an experience. With L-Acoustics, you’re getting the full range, from sports to speech to music, and you get it at high volume but with absolute clarity. That’s why I’ve been such a fan of L-Acoustics for a long time and why I pushed for it during the center’s renovation. It’s really the centerpiece of our complete renovation. Everyone is just blown away.”