The Ottawa Hills Local School District prides itself on excellence and works hard to promote both athletic and academic achievement. Located just outside of Toledo, Ohio, Ottawa Hills is comprised of an elementary school and one junior/senior high school. It’s home to the Green Bears and an athletic program that has won multiple state titles in sports like football, soccer, volleyball and basketball. Needless to say, the high school gymnasium is pretty important place for the Green Bears’ fans and the Ottawa Hills community.
The gym was constructed 10 years ago and although the structure is acoustically sound, the same cannot be said of its original sound system. As it turns out, the equipment installed by a previous integrator was positioned ineffectively and the technology itself was not a good fit for the space.
“The original system had no intelligibility,” explains Eric Harter, President of Montpellier, Ohio-based Harter Sound. “There was a tremendous amount of reverberant reflections. The speakers were in the wrong places. They didn’t have enough power [and] they were the wrong type.”
Ottawa Hills’ old sound system consisted of four powered cabinets located at center court. The district’s technical crew tried to compensate for the inefficient speaker placement by pointing the speaker cabinets in different directions depending on the event taking place inside the gym. But, this wasn’t a great solution so they eventually opted to bring in Harter sound and replace the system with something more efficient. Harter’s firm was chosen to install a new PA system on the recommendation of one of the district’s technical directors who had worked with the company in the past.
Here you can part of the newly installed PA system at Ottawa Hills. Fans now have no problem hearing game announcements as they cheer for the Green Bears.
“Our goal was to analyze the environment, make a determination as to what needed to happen, make recommendations and have the opportunity to be of service,” Harter says.
And that’s exactly what the integration firm did. After looking at the space, Harter chose to install a sound system that included speakers by Eastern Acoustic Works, three Powersoft K Series amplifiers, 12-inch woofers and a single 1.75-inch driver for high frequencies. Harter says he chose the Eastern Acoustic Works speakers because he’s had great results with them in the past.
“This particular model of speakers is compact in size and aesthetically pleasing. They sound good and they’re easily adjustable,” Harter says.
As for the Powersoft amplifiers, those were chosen specifically with the gym space in mind.
“They have a tremendous amount of power per a square inch. They only take up one rack space,” Harter explains. The amplifiers also have internal processing that eliminates the need for any additional processing for loudspeakers or zone control.
In addition to intelligibility issues, Ottawa Hills’ original sound system also posed another problem. It was easily accessible to anyone in the gym, meaning people without technical expertise were often fiddling with the system turning zones on and off and altering various settings for their own convenience.
“Too many chefs spoil the stew,” Harter says.
The new system allows for settings to be locked down, which preserves its intelligibility and ensures optimal performance. The sound system also hooks up to Wi-Fi and can be controlled remotely using Powersoft’s Armonia software.
The system installed by Harter sound certainly wasn’t the cheapest option on the market, but it was the one that really fit the needs of the school and delivered the kind of value Ottawa Hills was looking for. The entire install took about a week and was completed shortly before students began the school year in September.
“They love it,” Harter says. They think it’s great. Even better, spectators and fans can actually hear the games as they cheer the Green Bears to victory.
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