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Abilene Civic Center Gets Major Upgrade

March 1, 2016

Originally constructed in the late 1960s, the Abilene Civic Center is a spacious, multi-purpose venue with a live performance theater, an exhibit hall and a large conference center that can be subdivided to accommodate as many as four simultaneous events.

In part because of its age, the conference center’s audio system did not meet the voice intelligibility or audio quality expectations of its many banquets, meetings, press conferences and other events, especially those that involved modern presentations or musical performances. Thus, in 2015, the city decided to upgrade the audio system. They wanted an easy-to-use system for simple meetings but they also wanted the ability to host events with dramatic or musical performances. They wanted a modern control system that would make it easy to configure the conference center for one large or multiple simultaneous events. And, they wanted a system that would provide both highly intelligible voice reinforcement and high-quality music production.

The city contacted Jerrold Stevens, of consulting firm Marsh PMK, who designed a highly flexible system with wireless iPad setup and control. Simple events can be configured for hands-off operation with one or two Sennheiser wireless microphones or meeting planners can request one of four Yamaha digital mixers for events with musical or dramatic performances.

Auto-mixing, signal processing and control are provided by a BSS London DSP with iPad interface and the system includes seventy-eight Community D SERIES model D8 two-way coaxial ceiling loudspeakers powered by Lab Gruppen amplifiers. Consultant Stevens commented that he included the D8s as an alternative in his specification for their true coaxial design, high sensitivity and wide coverage.

Electro-Acoustics, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, installed the conference center’s new audio system. Sales Manager Ryan Walker noted that the Community D8s easily filled the performance specifications and helped meet the city’s budget requirements. Electro-Acoustics, Inc. completed the system in time for a banquet celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday on January 18th of 2016. “The system operated flawlessly,” said Walker, “and it sounded great."