EAW’s Steerable Column Arrays Circle Lakeside Rink

Delivering amazing sound is a tricky prospect when the audience is sitting still. But what if the audience is in constant motion? Making laps around the perimeter of the venue? On skates?

Skating rinks pose a peculiar set of sound challenges, especially if the goal is to deliver sound evenly to each skater throughout their orbit round the rink. And when it’s an outdoor rink, surrounded by neighborhoods, the challenge is amplified. Such was the challenge facing officials with Prospect Park’s Lakeside Rink in Brooklyn, New York.

The Lakeside Rink was one of two new rinks – the other an indoor facility – at the park, all part of a $74 million restoration and renovation project four years in the making. The end result needed to be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and amenable to neighbors.

Park officials turned to Acoustic Distinctions, New York, to develop a design, who then turned to EAW for solutions.

We chose to make this a custom build,” said David Robb, Lead Designer for Acoustic Distinctions. “There are few companies that can provide the knowledge and product that was needed. The combined requirements from the architect, the city and of course, the patrons themselves made this a real challenge. Nothing about the project was ‘standard.’”

The install team, wanted a speaker system which was steerable and could be mounted on existing outside light poles, at a height of 20 feet. After working with the rinks’ design firm, the lighting pole manufacturers and EAW engineers to ascertain the various weather, weight, and electrical specs would meet their requirements, the solution was to install steerable column arrays.

EAW’s custom externally powered, truly weather protected digitally steerable column arrays consisting of one LR3812-HF-WP high frequency section and two LR3812-LF-WP low frequency sections were installed by HB Communications of North Haven, CT. The high frequency section is comprised of 8 individually horn loaded compression drivers while each low frequency section integrates 8 x 8” woofers. Processed with the EAW UX8800 digital processed and powered by Powersoft multichannel amplifiers, the end result exceeded expectations.

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with the support and acoustic know-how from EAW. No dead zones. No drop out. No upsetting the neighbors,” said Michael Umile, the Acoustic Distinctions consultant who was on-site for the installation. “We adjusted the highs on the fly and were able to place them where they were needed in seconds. It took longer to walk back to the computer than it did to make the adjustment.”

“This solution from EAW was really one of a kind. No one else could have done it,” said Robb.

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