Published in November 2005

Excitement in the End Zone
By Jim Stokes

OSU stadium’s AV augments the fan experience.

Oregon State University’s Reser Stadium.

     At the kickoff opener of the newly remodeled Oregon State University Reser Stadium in Corvallis OR, football fans were greeted with an updated sound system, as well. New major equipment includes bowl speakers, DSP, amplifiers, mixing console, fiberoptic feeds and a 17-cube club videowall.
     OSU Beavers and rival Portland State fans nearly packed the seating bowl on September 3. The $80 million stadium expansion project, “Raising Reser,” added around 8000 new seats to a full capacity of slightly more than 43,000, thanks to a newly constructed east grandstand. The celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for Reser Stadium before the game matched the day of victory on the field, with Beavers over Portland 41-14. Augmenting the contributions of thousands of people, a multimillion dollar donation from the Reser family, the venue’s namesake, certainly added impetus to the OSU football program. In addition to greatly expanded seating, the new east grandstand is home to the Stadium and Founders Clubs as well as a bevy of suites.

Family Ties, Stadium History
    The Reser family’s OSU ties go back to 1960, when Al and Pat Reser were graduated from Oregon State University. Four of their five children are also OSU grads. All told, the Reser family includes 11 OSU graduates. The Beavers’ football stadium was renamed Reser Stadium in 1999 in honor of Al and Pat, who made a significant long-term gift to the athletic department. Al Reser is president/CEO of Resers Fine Foods, Beaverton OR.
     The facility opened as Parker Stadium in 1953, named after Portland businessman Charles T. Parker, for his financial involvement in stadium construction, which was funded entirely by donations. The original stadium seating capacity was 28,000; this was raised to 33,000 after the 1965 Rose Bowl season. Another 9000 seats were added in 1967. As mentioned, today the grandstand seating capacity is slightly more than 43,000.
     The Parker namesake lives on as ticket holders enter the facility across a newly constructed Parker Plaza between the stadium and Ralph Miller Drive. Taking the football victory full circle, the first game in the OSU stadium on November 14, 1953, had the Beavers over Washington
State 7-0.

     The general contractor was Hunt-Wildish. Cherry City Electric in Salem was the electrical contractor. In turn, the electrical contractor subcontracted audio installer DSI/Delta Systems Integration of Portland. DSI credits include project manager Eric Willard, site foreman Scott Anderson and our interviewee, systems engineer Jeff Overbo. The audio system was designed by consulting group WJHW/Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, of Dallas TX. Representing WJHW on this project were Jim Miles and Kevin Day. Cabling for voice/data, broadcast and security was supplied by Ceitronics, represented by Brian Davis.

Reser Stadium, which has hosted the Oregon State University football team since 1953, currently seats 43,000.

East Side, West Side: All Around the Bowl
     To twist a classic song lyric, the sound system update took DSI from east side to west side, and all around the stadium. According to our guide, DSI systems engineer Jeff Overbo, “a lot of the remodel was on the west side, where we worked first,” because the east side grandstand was being constructed from the ground up. He noted that DSI came onsite around March 2005.
     We approached the west side work early in the process, so a lot of things got resolved long before the end of the project when everything gets ‘all crunchy’.” Thus, the existing west side grandstand still had the press section, the control room down the hall from there and the coaches’ rooms as before. DSI tied into some existing systems and replaced equipment in the control room.
     Then, across the playing field in the newly constructed east grandstand, DSI installed the main speaker system and amplifier rooms as well as sound for the two clubs, a videowall in one club and ancillary systems audio, such as the concourse, ticketing and restroom areas. Audio was also tied into existing speakers and the campus-wide cable TV system.

Where East Meets West
     The audio runs over CobraNet because of the vast distances covered throughout the stadium. In contrast, copper wire would really be effective for only a couple hundred feet. “What happens is, the system can be quite a ways between mixing console, amplifier room and final speakers,” Overbo pointed out. “In this case, they’re at opposite ends of the stadium. The amp room is on the upper level of the east grandstand, relatively close to the roof. The control room is on the upper level of the west grandstand, giving you a good view of the playing field. CobraNet connects what I consider several nodes or groupings of equipment in the system. That is, there’s a point  where the signal goes from network to standard analog audio.”
     System nodes would include the control room, amp room, the truck bays point and audio from the field that goes to an OSU building next to the stadium where a lot of the video work emanates during the game. “So we have network connectivity through fiberoptic cabling that connects all these different nodes,” he offered. “The Symetrix DSPs do the transfer from analog audio into the DSP and turn it into CobraNet. Then it’s a networkable audio feed and gets picked up wherever it has to get picked up at this destination. Line loss is non-existent, and you don’t have to worry about ground loops.”
     The IDF/MDF racks, which are co-located in telephone closets, have Ortronics gigabit fiberoptic patch bays for networking. The west side MDF room has an Aphex Dominator II peak limiter to control audio signal peaks. And it’s the main limiter for the system. The fiberoptic cabling was installed by Ceitronics. On the digital processing side, Overbo noted that DSI “put a lot of effort into writing the Symetrix DSP program because it’s one big program for the entire stadium. It was a cooperative effort between us and Symetrix, who was very helpful. Hats off to them. They did a great job and were very supportive.”
     Overbo explained that equipment was installed in groupings. “For example, on the playing field, copper feeds would run from the field to a nearby IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame) in a telephone closet, where it would hit our Symetrix DSPs then be switched onto the network and travel to destinations via fiberoptic.”

Hybrid Cluster/Bowl Coverage
     Regarding stadium bowl speaker coverage, Overbo declared, “I think that WJHW’s hybrid distributed and cluster system design was very good. It did a wonderful job designing this system.” Bowl coverage called for JBL weather-resistant speakers. “JBL is really nice to deal with,” he added. “The WRX custom boxes have their highest level of weatherproofing. And the JBL custom guy was an OSU alum, so he was pretty excited about doing this. The WRXs are entirely enclosed in fiberglass, and they should be able to handle our local rain!”
     Three clusters mounted on the east grandstand shoot across the field to the west grandstand. Specifically, the center cluster, which covers the west seating, is comprised of four PD743-WRX mid/high cabinets and three PD164-WRX low-frequency cabinets. The north and south end zones are covered by separate clusters aimed their way, each consisting of two 743s and two 164s per cluster. Then the east side’s distributed system has combinations of AM series 6215-64WRXs and 6215-95WRXs. “Those speakers hang from the roof, the underside of the overhang and underside of the upper-level seating,” explained Overbo. All the speaker cabling from the east side comes down to the east side amplifier room, which is one of the end points of the CobraNet system where the Symetrix DSP processors, QSC power amplifiers and the QSC CM-16A amp control system reside.
     And there was some rigging drama. “Hoisting the JBL WRX speakers through the holes in the stadium roof resulted in breaking a chain in the hoist,” said Overbo. Fortunately, no speakers were damaged during the install.

Control Room
     Now we’ll jump across the playing field to the west side control room, where the board operator and the announcer sit during the game. The Clear-Com system was existing. New equipment includes a Crest multi-channel mixing console, JBL monitoring and nearby Middle Atlantic equipment racks with a lot of patch bays, Symetrix DSPs, DAs, processing and a LynTec Crowd Noise Compensator. The board operator has such sources as a cassette deck and CD players, and combinations of wired and wireless mics. “We created a GUI for the operator to monitor the east side power amplifiers via the CN-16A.”
     Specifically, some other audio production-related equipment includes ATI card frame distribution amps, AVP patch bays, BSS 1/3 octave equalizer, Dell computer for display monitoring the amplifier control system, Peavey digital delay, Presonus vocal processor, Symetrix compressor/limiter and parametric EQ, and TOA AM/FM tuner. An Oxmoor matrix mixer is located in the control room for the fire-alarm system. It injects fire-alarm announcements, working through a contact closure, which switches the input from the standard feed from the PA system and control room over to an output from the fire-alarm system. In order to accommodate the press and broadcast media, there’s an Opamp Labs audio press feed box. “You can plug a line level into it, and this unit has 24 transformer isolated outputs,” said Overbo. That’s plenty of outputs to serve the radio/TV/press folks reporting on the game.

Two Clubs, Suites
     The east side has a Stadium and a Founders Club, both of which have Crestron wireless control-panel equipment access. The Stadium Club, nearly the length of the stadium itself, has as its stellar attraction a Clarity Margay 50-inch rear-projection display, consisting of one 3x3 and two 2x2 cubes. “We’re using the Quick Media system running over Cat5 to connection points within the club,” Overbo pointed out. Although fans in the Stadium Club mostly will be watching the game on the videowall on football days, meetings can also be held at the club. A number of sources are accommodated, including cable TV from the campus system, CD/DVD/VHS and laptop display. Microphones can be plugged in as well. The space has its own amplifier, Ivie automixer and processing.
     Because the Stadium Club is a couple of stories high, ceiling-mounted Community Cloud speakers as well as Tannoys for the lower heights assure full coverage. The Founders Club is a smaller room, with Tannoy ceiling speakers and mixers, amps, processors and audio sources similar to the Stadium Club. Video monitors are existing from the campus cable system. In that regard, Drake RF combiner and modulator components are used for cable TV insertion. It modulates the video and inserts it into the local cable feed, so fans can see it on local existing monitors in the Founders Club. The suites are fairly simple, with the same Tannoy CMS-8 ceiling speakers as the clubs and a small Atlas volume control.

Ancillary Areas
     New equipment was tied into existing equipment, such as speaker systems in the press section on the west side as well as other areas. Video monitors were also existing. OSU has its own video suite in a building next to the campus that feeds the Jumbotron system, which takes its feeds from various camera locations. And OSU video operations has an audio/video switching system. “We have stadium audio going over there,” said Overbo. “It’s one of our DSP or network nodes. So there’s fiberoptic cabling going over there and then there’s some Symetrix DSPs and CobraNet interface.” There’s stadium audio service, as well, to the truck bays where AV and TV trucks set up. “We have a node there where they can patch into stadium audio. It’s down by an MDF (Main Distribution Frame) in the telephone closet near the truck area.”
     Speakerwise in ancillary areas, DSI mounted Community R2-77s outside the stadium, pointing down where people cue up for tickets. Tannoy i6AWs were installed on the concourse level near the concession area. Tannoy i8AWs are positioned just outside the Founders Club. And some Atlas FAP42s were installed in the concourse and restrooms.
     The JBL EON portable sound system and its foldback speakers can be used throughout the stadium whenever a quick setup is needed, such as down on the field or in an interview area. We’ll close our exploration of the renewed and expanded OSU Reser Stadium with a look at microphones, where the sound all begins. Shure Beta 58s and a performer’s wireless are used throughout the facility, from playing field to the clubs. And perhaps the wireless most often seen on the playing field and seen very often on TV sports is the Telex FMR-1000 referee mic system with the on/off beltpack switch. There’s also a Telex ELM-33 lavalier microphone available.
     All in all, it was a great ribbon-cutting in September for OSU fans, with a winning team and the premiere of a new high-performance stadium sound system.

Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc.
Founded in 1990 by its four managing principals, Jack Wrightson, Jim Johnson, Bill Haddon and Chris Williams, Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc. (WJHW, Dallas TX), has become a leader in providing clients with consulting and technical system design for a wide variety of systems found within entertainment venues, performing-arts facilities, public assembly spaces, corporate and educational facilities.
The managing principals of WJHW, along with principal Ron Baker and senior associates Robin Crews, Jim Faber and Gary White, individually have more than 20 years of experience in the industry. The goal of each member of WJHW’s staff is to provide an outstanding end result for the users of the spaces and the systems they design. This can be accomplished only by listening to project owners, users and developers, and then using that information to arrive at solutions that respect the needs, expectations and budget of the project.

DSI/Delta Systems Integration
Portland OR-based audiovisual contractor DSI/Delta Systems Integration has installed sound and media systems all across the country. Using its communications skills, design approach and technical expertise, DSI brings its clients’ dreams to life.
DSI’s Delta Audio/Video division is the main focus of its business. This division has grown to be the premier business of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Any project involving sight or sound allows Delta Audio/Video to create extraordinary systems. Examples of systems types include audio- and videoconferencing, distributed sound, multimedia presentations, concert sound, interactive displays, broadcast, theater, lighting and media walls.


2 Aphex 720 Dominator II peak limiters
1 ATI 20273-501 mic preamp rack shelf
2 ATI M100 mic preamps
4 ATI MDA 100-1 1x6 - channel distribution amp cards
2 ATI MDA 200-1 2x8 - channel distribution amp cards
4 ATI PS100 power supplies for system 10,000
2 ATI RM100 distribution amp rackmount frames
33 Atlas Sound AT35A volume controls
61 Atlas Sound FAP42T ceiling speakers
1 Audio Accessories PCH-X patch cable holder
7 AVP AP-A224E2-L-ST-RPT patch bays
AVP patch cords
Belden audio, video cables, Cat6 cabling
1 Black Box SW625A-R3 KVM for control computer
1 Black Box SW625A-R3 KVM for amp computer
1 BSS FCS960 1/3 oct EQ
2 Canare ECO100FB 100' mic cables red
Canare mic cables
17 Clarity Margay video wall cubes
7 Clarity MSB-5040 screen braces
1 Clear-Com AB 100 announcer’s comm box
Commscope RG59 headend cables
43 Community Professional Loudspeakers Cloud 12-66T speakers
3 Community Professional Loudspeakers R2-77X speakers
3 Community Professional Loudspeakers TRC400 transformers
1 Crest X8 HS32 reinforcement console - 24 mono 8 stereo
2 Crestron CNRFGWA wireless control receivers
1 Crestron CNSP-124 
2 Crestron CNSPWS-75  
1 Crestron CP2E controller
1 Crestron MP2E controller
1 Crestron QM-MD-8x8 media switcher
3 Crestron QM-RMCRX media receivers
5 Crestron QM-WMC media transmitters
2 Crestron STX-1700CXP wireless control transmitters
2 Crestron TPS-RFGWX RF gateways
1 Crown CM-310A announcer’s desktop mic
1 Crown CM-311HS announcer’s headworn mic
2 Drake PC1201 12x1 RF combiners
1 Drake PSM121 modulator power supply
1 Drake RMM12 modulator cardcage
6 Drake VMM860AP frequency agile modulators
7 Eaton Powerware 5125-1500RM UPS units
2 Electro-Voice NC450D page mics
2 FSR DC-24R-2.5 relay power supplies
1 Gilbert GGB-4U ground block
Gilbert connectors
1 Gilbert G-SPB-GLU ground block
10 Gilbert GTR-59-DCB 75 ohm terminators
10 Gilbert GTR-M 75 ohm terminators
4 HP J4131B gigabit SX transceivers
1 HP J4862B 10/100 24 port module
1 HP J4864A gigabit SX module holder
3 HP Procurve 2512 network switches
1 HP Procurve 4104GL network switch
5 IVIE 884PW auto mixers
10 JBL AM6215-95 WRX weather-resistant speakers
18 JBL AM4215-95 WRX weather-resistant speakers
34 JBL AM6215-64 WRX weather-resistant speakers
2 JBL EON 15P foldback speakers
1 JBL EON System15 portable sound system
2 JBL LSR25P control room monitor speakers
7 JBL PD-164WRX cluster LF speaker cabinets
8 JBL PD743-WRX cluster M/H speaker cabinets
8 Jensen DIN-LI 600:600 ohm transformers
1 Jensen DIN-MS-2P mic splitter
4 Jensen DIN-PC 10:600 ohm transformers
4 Jensen JT-11P-1 line input transformers
2 Jensen JT-MB-CA mic input transformers
1 LF Engineering M-601 AM antenna
Liberty CRESCAT-QM Crestron quick media cables
1 Lowell L45-21 operators rack
1 LynTec C3 crowd noise-compensation unit
2 LynTec CEM-2 sensing mic conduit mounts
2 LynTec CEM-2 crowd noise-compensation units
1 LynTec RD-1 crowd noise-compensation unit
2 LynTec RSM-2 crowd noise-compensation units
1 Magnum Dynalab ST-2 FM antenna
1 Marantz Pro CDR510 CD recorder/player
1 Middle Atlantic DWR-35-26 wall rack w/accessories
6 Middle Atlantic MRK-4431 racks
1 Middle Atlantic VMRK-5431 club equipment rack
1 Middle Atlantic WRK-24SA-27 operators rack
2 OmniMount 30.0 Series mounting brackets
1 Opamp Labs A-24/2ML audio press feed box
Ortronics patch cables, patchbays
1 Oxmoor RMX-44 matrix mixer
1 Peavey IDL 1000 digital delay
2 Presonus VXP vocal processors
Proco cables
7 QSC CM-16A amp control systems
7 QSC CX 1102 power amps
6 QSC CX 1202V power amps
1 QSC CX 302 power amp
4 QSC CX 502 power amps
5 QSC CX 602V power amps
4 QSC CX 902 power amps
QSC amp data port cables
20 QSC PL 6.0II power amps
5 RDL PS-24A power supplies
1 RDL STA-DA3 audio distribution amp
1 RDL STM-2X press announce mic switching module
4 RDL STP-1  
7 RDL ST-UBA2 summing amps
1 Roland AR-2000 message repeater
1 Rolls MP13 mic preamp
3 Samsung DVD-C631P CD players
2 Samsung V3800 DVD/VCR players
8 Shure Beta 58 voice mics
1 Shure UA506 rack kit, single rcvr
1 Shure UA844US antenna coupler
1 Shure ULXP24D/58 performer’s wireless mic
2 Sony MDR-7506 headphones
8 SurgeX SX 1115R power protection
5 Symetrix 322 club & suite DSPs
1 Symetrix 422 compressor/limiter
1 Symetrix 551E parametric equalizer
6 Symetrix 8x8 8x8 DSPs
6 Symetrix Breakin 12 12-input DSP units
8 Symetrix Breakout 12 12-output DSP units
5 Symetrix Cobra Link CobraNet interfaces
3 Symetrix FP3 rack fillers
4 Symetrix RM3 racks for club DSPs
139 Tannoy CMS-8 TDC-60 ceiling speakers
19 Tannoy i6AW-T60 speakers
9 Tannoy i8AW-T60 weather-resistant speakers
139 Tannoy TEQ-880 enclosures w/square grilles
2 TASCAM CD 450 single-CD players
2 TASCAM LA 450 balancing kits
2 TASCAM RC 450C CD wired remotes
2 Telex ELM-33 lav mics
2 Telex FMR-1000 referee mic systems
2 Telex RSB-2 switch boxes
1 TOA DT-920 AM-FM tuner
1 TV One C2-770 video scaler
West Penn Wire cables

List is edited from information supplied by DSI/Delta Systems Integration.

Contributing Editor Jim Stokes has been involved in the AV industry for 33 years as an AV technician and recording studio designer among other areas.

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