Tumwater High School in Tumwater, WA has an ambitious and growing performing arts center that needed a powerful and dynamic sound system to match. For this reason, when the school sought to upgrade the audio amplification system in its main theater and other support spaces, it chose the LEA Professional (opens in a new tab) Network Connection series.
The Network Connect Series IoT-enabled amplifiers are a family of commercial-grade audio amplifiers ideally suited for small to medium-scale installations. With three ways to connect, users can enable the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, connect to site Wi-Fi, or use FAST Ethernet to connect to any local area network via Cat5 or Cat6 cable. The Connect Series also features cloud connectivity allowing users to harness the power of the cloud for remote control, monitoring, configuration, and more. remote on/off and fault monitoring.
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Back to school: CCI Solutions selects the LEA Network Connect series
The school’s performing arts department hosts everything from plays and musicals to ensemble performances, solo instrument recitals, and vocal/choral and spoken word performances. The main theater can accommodate around 200 people. There are also large classrooms on either side of the theater that can accommodate an additional 100 people each. When needed, the air walls between the theater and the classrooms can be opened to accommodate an audience of approximately 400 people, making Tumwater High School the largest venue in the school district.
Mark Pearson, of national AVL systems integration company, CCI Solutions, was the project manager for the Tumwater facility. Pearson explained that the main space and each side class space have their own sound system, but they also needed to work together for bigger performances. The main space also needed an update to its stage monitor amplification. The school mainly uses passive line array elements and studio monitors from Martin Audio.
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“Our rep company recommended LEA amps, and it turned out to be a great experience,” Pearson said. “Van Browne from Brownestone sent us examples of LEA amps to play with, our whole team fell in love with them. It’s always nice to discover a new range of high quality products that fit well into your offerings.
“Due to delivery issues, this was a spec swap, but the high school ended up with a much better amplifier and a more robust system. That’s why, as a company, we move away from the other company to adopt all LEA amp solutions for this type of application and many more.
To cover the gaps adequately, Pearson and the CCI team used a mix of four different amplifiers from LEA Professional’s Network Connect series. The system solution included ten individual channels of monitoring capability (a single Connect 352 and two Connect 354 amps), allowing the high school to cover stage monitoring, but also place speakers off stage to support effects specials or to power additional floor monitors. for large groups. They also now have a four-channel unit (four 70-volt zones with a Connect 84 amp) that handles rear-of-the-house paging and stage manager announcements. And each side class has its own Connect 702 amplifier.
“These amps have an impressive list of features that we really like,” Pearson added. “They can be networked and controlled via IP addresses so we can easily access them with an app, and then the ability to have internal DSP in the amp for detailed speaker settings; and then I also like that they are GPI controllable and the side pieces can be turned on or off depending on the users needs.”
To simplify the process of use, Pearson has configured the amps with a series of relays. If a relay is open, the GPI triggers and powers the amps. They have four relays in use – two for each amplifier. One relay is controlled by the DSP for the main house, then another relay is controlled from a touchscreen in each classroom. If students need to turn on the system for a classroom, they can now turn on the system with a single press, which opens a relay. With a simple press, amplifiers turn on, a projection screen is lowered and a protector is activated – everything is ready to go.
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LEA amplifiers ready to go
Due to the pandemic and the summer holidays, the system has not yet been used for a full performance, but the high school is very eager to put it into operation soon. The team has done several sound tests with different setups, and everyone is very happy with the quality and headroom of the amplifiers.
“The installation was really smooth; we didn’t encounter any obstacles. This is another advantage for LEA, everything is very self-explanatory and you don’t have to be an engineer to follow the installation process. programming and setting things up and running; it’s all very simple and logical,” Pearson said. “The amps themselves have a good user interface, and the app is beneficial. We had a question about the relays and the GPI interface that we weren’t sure about, so we called LEA, and got our response instantly.They were great for I look forward to many more installations with LEA.