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Make Some Noise

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
Scotch Plains, N.J.

On homecoming day in 2012, the audio system serving the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School's athletic fields for football and soccer failed. So, instead of replacing it with the same old, same old, the school chose to upgrade its sound to something a step above the rest.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School is a comprehensive regional public high school that serves the Township of Scotch Plains and the Borough of Fanwood in north central New Jersey. The school's active athletic program features the Raiders football and soccer teams playing on back-to-back playing fields that feature large bleachers, new turf, a common press box and, now, a new audio system that covers both fields.

"The old audio system failed on homecoming day in 2012," said contractor Scott Hibbard of Scott Hibbard Audio. "They had no audio for sports announcements or even for emergency paging."

The school reviewed several proposals, ultimately selecting Hibbard's company to replace the damaged audio system. He designed the new system to cover both fields from the common press box. For the football field, he installed four Community R.5-94s for the home-team bleachers and two R.5HPs firing across the field for visitor seating. The smaller soccer field bleachers were covered with a pair of Community R.25-94 loudspeakers.

The system uses a dbx ZonePRO Digital Zone Processor for system control, mixing and equalization. Hibbard provided a Shure announce microphone and a pair of Shure wireless mics for use on the field. A wall panel provides source selection and volume control, while another wall panel configures the system fort football games, soccer or events that use both fields simultaneously. For the sake of security, both wall panels are located in the equipment rack.

The loudspeakers are aimed away from adjacent neighborhoods, but provide excellent coverage with only 3 to 4 decibels of variation across the entire field.

The system was used in its "both fields" mode for the school's 2013 graduation ceremonies, and the school staff was pleased with its performance.

"The old system had used traditional paging horns and had a narrow frequency response and poor dynamic range," Hibbard said. "The students love the new system and, when the school officials heard it for the first time, their jaws dropped!"

Scotch Plaines-Fanwood High School: www.spfk12.org/Domain/61
Scott Hibbard Audio: www.scotthibbardaudio.com