For Fairplex, Los Angeles County’s premiere event facility, originally built in 1922, the complex was in definite need of a power makeover.
Fairplex is a vast, sprawling complex at the busy suburban crossroads of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside Counties. At 543 acres, the site is twice the size of Disneyland, and is home to the L.A. County Fair—the fourth largest of all fairs and festivals in North America. Fairplex also hosts more than 500 year-round concerts, conventions, consumer shows, horse/livestock shows and sporting events— including its signature event, the L.A. County Fair—with more than 1.4 million guests annually.
Not surprisingly for a facility of its size, Fairplex is more or less constantly evolving, growing and modernizing its infrastructure, currently including a high-end revamping of the complex’s audio systems. Woodland Hills-based Campbell-Shaw Incorporated DBA CSI Multimedia (CSI) has been involved in the design and installation of projects—along with Fairplex IT Manager Ralph Schorbach—which have included a powerful assortment of Community R-Series loudspeakers and MC2 Audio amplifiers in various locations.
“We were originally approached to offer a proof-of-concept demonstration for one of the nine exhibition buildings,” recounts CSI President Rick Shaw. “Our community rep, Steve McNeil of MacWest set up three Community R.25 speakers at one end of the hall, powered by an MC2 Audio amplifier, and it outperformed the thirty or so horns they had been using for the same space. Once they’d heard the R.25s and MC2s in tandem, they immediately asked us to do the racetrack and grandstands as well. Then we got to talking about the trams, and it’s been onward and upward from there.”
Convention Hall 9, the first building to be completed, is covered by 80 Community R.25-94TZ two-way full-range loudspeakers, with low end enhanced by six R.5SUB 12-inch subwoofers and powered by 12 MC² Audio2 E25s—for a total of 19,000 Watts of power. Outside there are 16 R.25-94TZs and five R.5s with five more channels of MC² amplification at 1000 Watts per channel.
“Most of the indoor structures are relatively long buildings, and they’re used for a wide range of events,” Shaw Hallcontinues “Hall 9, for example, is divided into 16 virtual rooms, with five speakers per room, each with its own dedicated amplifier.”
The Racetrack and 10,000-seat Grandstands have received 16 of the 26 R1 units slated and are slated towill receive another 10 R-1 units, with eight more in the auxiliary areas, powered by 8 MC2 T-2000s (with 5 more for the final phase). As Shaw explains, ultimately the entire complex will be tied together via a central processor to provide for a park-wide announcement system. The racetrack will be upgrading its dedicated satellite broadcasting center, as well, for worldwide broadcasting of horse racing events.
“A lot of the equipment we had installed in this facility had been designed 20-30 years ago, and a lot has changed with the technology since then,” explained Schorbach. “Also, when you go from a system designed for 1,000 people to now handling 10,000, in the case of the Grandstands specifically, the old system just won’t accommodate those needs any more. We needed a lot of volume to fill that capacity, which is one of the reasons we looked to the MC2 Audio amps and Community speakers. For the money, they both gave us the raw power with a lot of overhead and great sound.”
Another renovation included Barrett’s Horse Auction site, which has been transformed into the Finish Line Sports Grill. Outfitted with 107 screens (plasmas, LCDs and projectors), this venue rocks with 30 Community CLOUD6 loudspeakers for its main sound, along with 2 R.5’s for focus on the lead-in area for when the auctions are held. Three Community iBOX IHP-1264’s and 1 iBOX I-215SW supply sound for the Hinds Pavilion, which is the auction and wagering part of the new grill. Outside, 10 Community R.25s cover the newly tented warm-up ring for the horses, powered by E25 MC2 amps.
“What prompted us to choose these MC2 Audio amps specifically,” offered CSI’s Rick Shaw, “was that both the E25 and T-2000’s had our target wattage outputs. That included 30,000 watts in the Grandstands, 16,000 Watts with an additional 10,000 watts for the final phase in both the Finish Line Sports Grill and horse auction venues. The E25s are durable. They’re on for days, even weeks, and, in some cases, never get turned off. First and foremost we chose the MC2 Audio for sound quality, followed closely by quality of manufacturer and design, and durability. Not to mention, we really liked the quality and attentiveness of MC2’s local rep firm, MacWest.”
“MC2 Audio was also one of the only amps that actually fed true power into the speaker,” Schorbach added. “Other manufacturers say they can do 1,000 watts, but MC2 was the only one that could actually do it – and we proved it on the meter. We’re sold on the MC2 amps for all of our high-power applications.”