When legendary Texas football coach Mike Spradlin joined Magnolia Independent School District in suburban Houston as Director of Athletics in 2016, he set about upgrading the football experience at the district’s high schools. Part of that plan was the installation of new video scoreboards and sound systems at both Magnolia and Magnolia West. Southwest Building Systems (Sillsbee, Texas) was engaged to design and install new sound systems at both facilities.
“Our old systems were just a few horns mounted on top of the press box. They sounded terrible, and music was out of the question,” says Robert Patty, Sports Information Coordinator for the district. “We wanted to create more of a college-type game day experience, to get the fans and players pumped up.”
The goal was to deliver full, even coverage in the bleachers, with clear, high fidelity sound quality for game announcements, music, and sponsor video commercials. Southwest Building Systems designed a PA system featuring long-throw Electro-Voice loudspeakers powered and processed by C Series amplifiers from EV’s sibling brand Dynacord. The same system was installed in both stadiums, which have virtually identical bleacher and scoreboard layouts.
The system is based on three EVH-1152D/43 coaxial loudspeakers, a two-way, horn-loaded design that delivers up to 139 dB SPL. This highly directional 40 x 30 version provides the tight dispersion required to deliver clear sound throughout the 8,000-seat venue. Two 1152s cover the home side of the field, with the third handling the smaller visitors’ bleacher section. Two EVF-2151D subwoofers provide low frequency support.
Power is provided by four Dynacord C3600 amplifiers, with integrated DSP and FIR-Drive to optimize loudspeaker performance (Dynacord amps are optimized for use with EV speaker systems). One is dedicated to each biamped EVH-1152D, while the fourth amp powers the two subwoofers. One interesting problem posed was the fact that there are no other buildings near the scoreboard. As Brent Thornhill, President of Southwest Building Systems, explains, “Normally we house the amplifiers in a nearby fieldhouse, but that was over 500 feet away. We wanted to put the Dynacord amps close to the speakers, so we came up with an outdoor-rated, climate-controlled rack room to put them in. We call it The Fridge.”
The speakers feature Electro-Voice’s fully weatherized design option, with fiberglass cabinets, powder-coated stainless steel grilles with hydrophobic mesh, and water-tight input panel covers. The loudspeakers are housed in an enclosure above the new video scoreboard, providing further weather protection while keeping them out of sight.
“We like to provide a sleek, integrated look to our end zone systems,” says Thornhill. “The enclosure has a special black fabric cover that blocks out the wind-driven Texas rain but doesn’t interfere with the sound. We printed them with the school logos, so they look like part of the scoreboard.”
As a final touch, the announcer’s microphone in the press box was outfitted with the Electro-Voice PC Desktop-18, a gooseneck design with sturdy, weighted steel base and selectable pick-up pattern from the PolarChoice range.
Fans, teams, coaches and administrators of both the Magnolia Bulldogs and Magnolia West Mustangs are impressed with the way things are sounding:
“We’ve had nothing but awesome reactions from everyone. People are blown away by the sound,” reports Robert Patty of Magnolia ISD. “Now we can really get the place rocking, from the time the team comes out of the locker room and all through the game. Our superintendent was there for the first game, and came over and told me, ‘Man, this sounds like a rock concert!’
It’s really brought our whole football program to a higher level, just like we hoped. We couldn’t be happier.”