WEBSTER, NEW YORK – JULY 2011: Namesake of famous statesman and orator Daniel Webster, the tranquil town of Webster, New York is the fastest growing suburb of nearby Rochester. The town lives up to its motto, “where life is worth living,” in part by supporting a top-tier school system. Recently, a voter-supported capital project to revitalize the aging components of the school system’s infrastructure provided the means to update the A/V systems in three area schools. Both high schools (Thomas and Schroeder) and one middle school (Spry) benefitted from state-of-the-art installations that center on Ashly Audio processors and amps. And because Ashly Audio is based in Webster, the new installations will directly benefit its employees’ children!
Led by principal Seth Waltz and audio designer Geoff Nichols, local firm AVL Designs designed all three systems. Local integrator Platinum Sound and Communications performed the installations. “The previous systems in these schools were well over twenty years old, and the problems were numerous,” explained Alan Clayton, vice president of Platinum Sound and Communications. Added Waltz, “The schools were running into the biggest issues during their many theatrical performances. The coverage was spotty and the tone was uneven, both of which seriously degraded intelligibility. To compensate, they naturally tried to increase the volume, but gain before feedback was in short supply. Unfortunately, feedback was a recurrent distraction during performances, which was demoralizing for students who worked hard for every performance.”
With minor modifications, the three A/V systems share a common core design. As one might expect, the high school systems are more involved, with powerful Sanyo PLC-XF1000 projectors, Sony EVI-D70 cameras, and fully-implemented Crestron Control. New audio input sources include Shure wireless microphone systems, Sennheiser fixed-position gooseneck and hanging mics, and CAD recording mics. Yamaha LS9-32 main consoles, with stage mixers by Lectrosonics and/or Mackie wrangle the inputs. In an unique application, a Yamaha AFC Acoustic Enhancement System handles the stage areas only. In the smaller system for Spry Middle School, two EAW MK 2394 loudspeakers cover most of the seats, with three EAW UB 12 se loudspeakers on delay. Both high schools rely on sixteen EV XLD-291 compact line array cabinets with low-end support provided by a beefy and utterly faithful Danley Sound Labs TH-115 subwoofers.
The middle school system relies on one Ashly ne24.24m matrix processor paired with an eight-channel Ashly ne8250 amplifier. Because that system has no Crestron components, Waltz provided system control via an Ashly WR2 wall-mounted remote control. The larger high school systems each center on a pair of Ashly ne24.24m matrix processors with additional modular inputs and outputs. With minor modifications between the two larger systems, one Ashly ne800, five Ashly ne1600, and four Ashly ne2400 amplifiers power the line arrays and subwoofer.
“We’re very comfortable installing Ashly equipment,” commented Clayton. “It’s easy to use, sounds great, and seldom fails.” Waltz’ involvement with Ashly Audio extends back to his days in live sound, when many of his company’s PA components came from Ashly. “No one else can come close to Ashly’s performance-to-price ratio. The programming software is so intuitive that we feel comfortable handing it over to tech-savvy clients. For example, the A/V gurus at these three schools will use the software to save presets after they’ve had a chance to work with them for a while.”
He continued, “Back in my touring days, we could always count on Ashly to fix anything we broke quickly and without hassle. That was their policy back then, and it continues to be their policy today. I trust that when we are entirely out of the picture, if something goes wrong, the Webster school district can call Ashly and they’ll talk to someone who is friendly and helpful. Most importantly, they will talk to someone who is only interested in making the situation right… not in making money off of the problem!”
ABOUT ASHLY AUDIO
With a greater than thirty-seven year history, Ashly Audio Inc. is recognized as a world leader in the design and manufacturing of quality signal processing equipment and power amplification for use in the commercial sound contracting and professional audio markets.