Sound system for a baseball diamond
Designing a powerful PA for the Charlottesville TomSox
This sound system needed to hit a home run on a budget
Charlottesville, Virginia was awarded a Valley League baseball franchise in 2015. The well-appointed Charlottesville High School diamond – not in use during the summer months – became the home field of the team, nicknamed the TomSox. Crutchfield Pro Audio system designer Dallas was tasked to create a setup that was reasonably priced, portable enough to be stored during the offseason, and powerful enough to reach the fans seated beyond the outfield fences.
The Field Layout
New bleachers were constructed behind home plate to supplement the existing seating at CHS. Underground utility lines prevented the new seating and press box from lying flush with the bleachers along the first and third base lines, so Dallas had to find a solution that would allow fans seated to the sides of the press box to hear just as well as those in front.
In the Bleachers
Dallas based his system around six powerful QSC AD-S10T speakers. Four of the weather-resistant speakers were mounted on the roof of the press box, with two facing toward the field and two directing sound to the infield bleachers on either side.
A ladder inside the press box leads to a fenced-in roof, where our installers fashioned custom brackets from parts left over from the construction of the new bleachers. The speakers are bolted to the brackets, so they can be removed when not in use.
An additional pair of QSC speakers were mounted on tall poles along the first and third base lines. Each speaker has a 10” woofer that produces deep low notes when music is played and a 1” tweeter that helps the announcer’s voice ring through loud and clear. Since the system had to be easily removable, these surface-mounted speakers fit the design better than a more permanent choice, like an Atlas horn loudspeaker.
The Press Box Setup
A reliable, easy-to-operate Yamaha MG10 mixer allows the TomSox announcers to connect their own microphones and an external music source, so they can be up and running in moments, ready to call the action and pump up the crowd.
Plenty of Power and a Tidy Installation
Dallas included three powerful QSC GX5 amplifiers, rugged cables from Audioquest and Whirlwind, and a Furman M-8x2 power conditioner to protect the equipment from power fluctuations. The gear is mounted in a Sanus component rack that can be quickly disconnected and stored in a secure location between games.
Many fans – especially those with small children – choose to sit beyond the outfield fence, where there’s room to roam. Dallas (left), with help from Crutchfield Account Manager Travis (right), used an SPL meter to check volume levels in home run territory, and discovered that the QSC speakers pushed around 75 dB of high-quality sound beyond the fences. “I think that’s loud enough!” he said with a smile.
The TomSox sound system proved its mettle on June 9, 2015, when excited fans filled the bleachers for the team's home opener - a 6-5 nail-biter. Over 1,400 spectators turned out to welcome the new team, and they heard every moment — from the singing of the national anthem to the announcer's call of the dramatic final out — loud and clear.
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