Processing and Control for Professional AV Installations

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Toledo’s Mud Hens Play Ball with Symetrix

Toledo, OH – Currently an International League (Triple A) affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, the Toledo Mud Hens have been playing professional baseball since 1896. Baseball Hall of Famers Casey Stengel and Hack Wilson played with the Mud Hens, and M*A*S*H TV show character Maxwell Klinger often wore a Mud Hens cap. (Actor Jamie Farr, who played Klinger, was from Toledo and was a fan.)

Fifth Third Field, the impressive home of the Mud Hens, opened in 2002. Newsweek magazine named it one of the best minor league ballparks in America. The 10,300-seat stadium’s original sound system was based on an early DSP unit, which handled the job for a dozen years before failing on Christmas Eve, 2015. “It was a first-generation DSP, and it was pretty bare bones,” recalls Engineering Tech David Ziemke of Torrence Sound, the Perrysburg, Ohio, firm that designed and installed the original sound system and recent update. “It failed a few days before an outdoor ice hockey event in the stadium, and Greg Tye, Director of Broadcast Services for the Mud Hens called us for an emergency replacement. We gave them a few options and Greg decided to go with a Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX, primarily because it’s Dante-enabled and could support future expansion. We’ve used Symetrix processors a lot, and we’re very comfortable with them.”

Initially, the Radius was a one-to-one replacement for the old DSP, handling the approximately 250 two-way loudspeakers that ring the suite, concourse, and general seating levels. A Symetrix ARC-2e menu-driven controller was mounted on the wall to enable a few simple preset adjustments that the operator had requested.

As anticipated, however, the Mud Hens’ audio needs soon grew dramatically. “The team built a venue called ‘Hensville’ that includes three four-story buildings in the outfield, with rental areas, bars, retail space, and outdoor patios,” Ziemke relates. “Another four-story building was renovated across the street and includes a rooftop bar and an outdoor park. A fiber connection enabled us to integrate it into the Dante audio system.”

In all, eleven new areas were connected to the system. Six more rental spaces will likely be added to the system in the near future. “With the Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX and Dante, we have the capacity to integrate all of those spaces into one unified sound system,” Ziemke asserts.

Each area has an Attero Tech 2-gang unD3IO mic/line input plate. An Attero Tech unD32 output box provides zone outputs. “Each area has a mic/line input, and it’s wired to a dedicated feed from the output box,” explains Ziemke. “A Crestron control panel provides matrix control of the system. We can route any input to any output, and we have simplified control panels in each of the rental spaces.” The bars are set up in much the same way. “The bar manager has a Crestron control panel that can pick from several music sources, a local microphone, the stadium game PA, and the television broadcast,” Ziemke confirms.

The Radius DSP also enables the Mud Hens to combine rental areas, so if they need to rent any combination of areas to one corporation, a microphone in one room can feed both rooms. “Hensville is very popular for wedding venues, corporate parties, meetings, and training seminars,” reports Ziemke. “The rooms are booked ahead for many months. Thanks to the Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX, the integrated sound system is fully serving all of those areas and events, with capacity to spare. The Mud Hens are delighted!”