The 5,000-seat Coussoulis Arena is home to California State University, San Bernardino’s Coyotes basketball, volleyball, and other indoor sports teams. The arena also hosts spoken-word events, such as lectures and panel discussions, as well as music acts and performing artists of both regional and national status.
Although the Community Sound-based system that went into the arena when it was built in 1995 served it well, an upgrade of the electronics a decade ago crippled it, rendering speech unintelligible and music boxy and lifeless. Without replacing the original Community loudspeakers, live sound and AV integration firm Simon Productions (Winnetka, CA) revitalized Coussoulis Arena with Ashly Audio processing, amplification, and user control.
“The original loudspeakers went in with a custom-made, proprietary controller that included all of the crossovers and tuning,” explained Terry Stewart, owner of Simon Productions. “But a decade after it went in, the proprietary system had to be replaced, and that didn’t go so well. For another decade, the system was spotty. They used it for sporting events, but any music or spoken word events required a rental system. We had been supporting them with rental systems, and based on the mutual trust we developed over the years, they asked us to devise an upgrade to the in-house system given their tight budget. They didn’t have enough money to replace the cabinets themselves, but by using Ashly processing, amplification, and user control and by adding subwoofers, we upgraded the system from unusable to outstanding.”
“Ashly offers perfect solutions. It took very little time for the system administrators to become comfortable with both the high-level control offered by the neWR-5 and FR-8, as well as the ‘deep’ control offered by Ashly’s iPad app.” –Terry Stewart, owner of Simon Productions
A new Ashly ne24.24M Protea matrix processor with its modular I/O set up for 8-in/12-out forms the heart of the upgrade. In addition, Stewart used an Ashly MX-406 line mixer to submix a handful of inputs, and he gave users an optional Ashly GQX-3102 graphic equalizer for situations where a familiar and trusty graphic EQ was needed. “The subpar processing that came before this upgrade wasn’t powerful enough to allow for a full system tuning,” he said. “In contrast, the Ashly ne24.24M gives me full parametric control on every input and output, and I was able to emulate the Community processor. The Community RS-Series boxes sound as they were intended to sound— which is great! The bottom line is that the Ashly filters sound fantastic”.
Stewart added two Turbosound TSW-218 touring subwoofers to round out the system’s low end. He replaced all of the existing amplifiers with four Ashly nX3.04 four-channel, 3,000-watt programmable output amps for the Community loudspeakers, two Ashly nX3.02 two-channel, 3,000-watt amps for the new subwoofers and downfills, and two Ashly nX4004 four-channel, 400-watt amps switched to High-Z mode for all of the existing 70-volt loudspeakers. “The amplifier footprint is way smaller than it used to be and vastly more efficient,” Stewart said. “Ashly amplifiers deliver audiophile sound quality and plenty of power. In fact, we gave them more than double the power they need for the current loudspeakers. When they decide to upgrade the sound system in the future, we wanted to make sure they would have enough existing power to do that without revamping everything all over again.”
“Their amplifiers are very musical and punchy. As for the analog Ashly gear—I’ve had Ashly graphic EQs and line mixers on jobs going back as far as fifteen years, and I’ve never had a single failure or problem. They always work, and they sound great. Some of those units have been powered up continuously for over a decade.”
Coussoulis Arena also benefits from Ashly user control. An Ashly neWR-5 wall-mounted remote control gives arena staff control over different scenes to instantly configure the system for its many diverse uses. Users control individual source volumes and mutes from an Ashly FR-8 fader bank remote control. Finally, Stewart set up a proprietary network so that arena administrators can make changes to the Ashly ne24.24M via the Ashly Remote iPad app. “As an integrator, I want a user control system that is easy to set up and intuitive for the end user,” he said.