Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts installs largest Electro-Voice X2 system in North America

Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts installs largest Electro-Voice X2 system in North America

Located in suburban Fort Worth, the Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) facilities include the Dr. Jim Vaszauskas Center for the Performing Arts, a freestanding 142,000 square-foot facility used for live music and theater events. It also functions as a professional development center, with a conference/banquet area, breakout rooms and computer labs, creating a profit center for the school district while serving its students, staff and community.

During the pandemic, the facility began experiencing end-of-life issues with some of the high-end technology installed there, necessitating a full refurbishment. Mansfield ISD engaged CRUX Technology & Security Solutions (Fort Worth) to make an in-depth assessment of the situation, then make recommendations on how best to bring the facility back to state-of-the-art standards, in line with the district’s needs and vision.

The PA solution CRUX recommended was designed around Electro-Voice X2 line-array loudspeakers in combination with Dynacord’s IPX series amplifiers. DSP, time delays, speaker optimization, and system control were programmed into the amplifiers via Dynacord SONICUE Sound System Software. The physical installation was executed by another established area company, Electro Acoustics.

One key element of the upgrade was reinforcing the performing arts center’s ability to generate revenue for the school district by hosting national touring productions with its in-house sound system. This requirement is easily met by the EV-Dynacord solution, which provides a level of all-around performance and control that represents a marked improvement over the venue’s previous system.

“We specified the Electro-Voice and Dynacord products very deliberately on this project,” notes Mason Brooks, Senior AV Consultant at CRUX. “Since legacy product end-of-life and supply chain issues were driving forces on the project, we did not have the luxury of allowing alternates. These brands represent Grade A technology, and the X2 delivers a significant audio upgrade with a smaller footprint, and with less impact on sightlines. Bosch (EV and Dynacord’s parent company) was also one of the few manufacturers that could actually deliver the product in our required time frame.”

The ability to deliver a large system in a timely manner was critical, as the CRUX design actually created the largest permanent installation of Electro-Voice X-Line Advance in North America, with a total of 67 full-range cabinets plus ten subwoofers, making the 5500-seat auditorium’s PA system worthy of hosting major touring concert events. In addition, both the left and right sides of the semicircular room can be walled off to create smaller dedicated spaces, each with its own sound system and seating for 640.

The main auditorium PA consists of twin 13-box X2-212 arrays, each with 11 X2-212 90° boxes above two 120° models to ensure full coverage across the front. The low end is amply supplied by a center hang of ten X12-125F dual-15” flying subwoofers, notable for their tightly-controlled cardioid output. To ensure full coverage to the back of the capacious auditorium, three delay arrays of seven X2-212/120 enclosures are evenly spaced to cover the back of the room.

Audio for the two side rooms is provided by independent 10-box line arrays, utilizing the 90° dispersion X2-212 to achieve full coverage in those narrower spaces. These side room hangs were optimized via SONICUE to deliver sufficient low end without requiring additional subwoofers.

The entire PA system is powered by 16 Dynacord IPX20:4 amplifiers. With 20,000 watts in just two RU of space, these Dante-enabled smart amplifiers house significant DSP power and are part of the SONICUE ecosystem. SONICUE was thus used to implement key system design elements, including loudspeaker optimization, room EQ, time delay and subwoofer directionality. Additionally, IPX amps employ Eco-Rail technology to reduce power consumption by up to 50%, which was a big selling point for the school district.

Another unique function of IPX’s energy-efficient feature set is Ghost Power – a problem-solving technology that ensures the amplifer and processing will instantaneosly recover from mains power glitches. It eliminates reboot issues that might occur during a short-term outage or a transition to a secondary power source by ensuring the amplifiers have sufficient power in reserve to maintain DSP through generator startup. IPX achieves this without the need for an expensive uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system or non-network components.

“The Dynacord IPX amps were important to ensure the reliability of the system,” explains Mason Brooks. “The arts center is in a location that’s known for having occasional power outages, and the facility is used as a reunification point for Mansfield schools in case of emergency. The Dynacord amps solve that problem beautifully. The Ghost Power technology acts as a power backup until the building’s backup generators kick in. So as soon as the power returns, sound is happening without waiting for the amps to reboot. It’s a huge upgrade that addresses the critical needs of mass notification and evacuation.”

In replacing dated system infrastructure with a modern Dante network, finding an appropriate location for the new amplifiers presented a minor challenge. Fortunately, with only 16 amps needed to accommodate 320,000 watts of power, the existing catwalk in the main auditorium could handle the equipment racks without additional structural support.

“In upgrading the facility, our flexibility was limited in terms of conduit runs,” explains Ryan Walker, Senior Account Manager at Electro Acoustics. “Fortunately, the catwalk made a pretty good midway point. We have about 300 feet of CAT cable to bring the Dante network up to the amps. From there, we had manageable runs of about 300 to 400 feet of copper out to the various speaker positions. So really, the Dynacord product design was a big part of the solution.” Walker also notes that installation of the line arrays was remarkably easy. “We were fortunate that the auditorium had a motorized hoist system in place for the massive self-powered system we were replacing,” notes Walker. “The positive pin-locking system on the EV arrays made it easy to stack the speakers and build the arrays in place. EV’s hardware design is outstanding, so the reinstallation was ten times faster than most typical line array systems.”

The system design for the Mansfield ISD’s Center for the Performing Arts represents a strong success story during the pandemic, with Bosch’s global resources serving to enable a fast-tracked project from concept to completion in under six months. “While there are several companies that can provide the technology this project demanded, the Bosch ecosystem of Electro-Voice line arrays and Dynacord electronics provides a synergy of technology, sound quality and value that does a tremendous job of meeting all the customer’s needs,” says Mason Brooks of CRUX. “Everyone involved is thrilled with the result.”

ApexPro is the leading distributor of Electro-Voice products and services in Africa. Contact us to find out more about Electro-Voice products.



Twenty years after first opening in Italy, the complete original cast of “Notre-Dame de Paris” is back on stage to celebrate the anniversary.

Following the success of the show in Paris, the musical made its official Italian debut at Gran Teatro of Rome in 2002, featuring the translated lyrics of Pasquale Panella. Produced in collaboration with Enzo Product Ltd, entirely curated and distributed by Vivo Concerti, and under the direction of Gilles Maheu, the 2022 tour will include over 180 shows throughout the Italian peninsula.

For this 20th Anniversary production, skillful and experienced sound team members were selected, including FOH Engineer Alberto Alicandro, who was part of the original crew, Monitor Engineer Simone “Zeta” Saccomandi, and Microphone Technician Andrea “Niski” Stanisci. The microphone equipment is entirely DPA, with 16 headsets, consisting of 4066 Omnidirectional and 6066 CORE Subminiature headsets, and two pairs of 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid and 4018 Supercardioid microphones to capture room audio and feed IEM mixes.

“I often use room audio to make actors’ in-ear mix feel more natural, but we also use them to record ambient sounds and audience response. The pair of 2011s is arranged in A/B narrow or binaural configuration at the FOH position with a Jecklin Disk and one custom-made support that also houses a camera depending on the venue, while the 4018 in wide A/B configuration is positioned on the stage front,” comments Zeta. “I am a true DPA fanatic and use their mics for everything from classical to jazz to rock. I have a predilection for DPA accuracy. Using these capsules undoubtedly makes life easy in a complex musical like this one. It helps us keep standards high in many different theaters, from large auditoriums to far-from-ideal acoustic spaces, such as sports halls or outdoor venues. I hardly need extreme equalizations or unnatural interventions.” 

Alberto also has no doubt: “DPA capsules always provide optimal intelligibility, even in the most articulated songs. Whether increasing or decreasing, EQ interventions are never harsh or dull. For example, when you emphasize high frequencies, they are always very natural. DPA is always the first choice in Notre-Dame de Paris!” 

The collaboration between Producer David Zard, and Musical Supervisor, Composer and Singer Riccardo Cocciante, ”Notre-Dame de Paris” has been a global success, with 1,419 productions in nine languages, to 13 million spectators worldwide. Among the many awards the show has received, one notable mention goes to the strong partnership between the protagonists Giò Di Tonno and Lola Ponce, which earned accolades at the 2008 Sanremo Music Festival (Festival della canzone Italiana). It has also been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest sales of tickets ever in the first year of operation, with more than one million tickets and over three million albums sold.

Photos by Francesco Prandoni

Attero Tech unD32 a Hidden Hero at Car Shows

Attero Tech unD32 a Hidden Hero at Car Shows

unD32 Powers Toyota Car Show AudioAlthough best known for his work as a front-of-house and monitor engineer for such stars as Queen Latifah, Natalie Cole, and Roberta Flack, Rob Treloar does much more than mix shows. His company, Proscan Media, offers services ranging from live and studio engineering to production consultation, artist development, and web solutions. When not on tour, he provides audio services for trade shows, working for Ann Arbor, Michigan, technical services experts TLS Productions. Toyota is a TLS client, so Treloar often designs and installs multi-zone audio systems for car shows. The Attero Tech® unD32 32-channel Dante™ breakout box is at the core of these systems, hidden high above the sound and fury of the show.

“The booths at these shows are huge and spread out,” Treloar begins. “TLS Productions is primarily a lighting company, and they set up gigantic lighting systems with 200- to 300-foot sections of truss. At car shows, the companies have their various models on turntables. I set up 15 to 20 separate audio zones for these different locations on the show floor, with two to four loudspeakers per zone. I use high-end loudspeakers with tight pattern control because these are open areas, and we don’t want overlap between zones. In each zone, the car company has presenters, and we might have a dozen wireless microphones running. Toyota also has a stage with a sort of game show called Toyota Live that’s going on every hour, as well as celebrity appearances, and sometimes a DJ plays. It’s a challenging environment.”

In the past, building these car-show audio systems required running an analog snake up into the truss, branching it out over a 350 x 250-foot or larger expanse of five or six trusses, and then doing the cable drops. “It’s a lot of analog cable, so you run into ground loops, and maybe some of the connections are bad because it’s an old snake, that sort of thing,” Treloar asserts. “And you only get one chance to do the setup right. If you have to go back, you need to bring in a union guy with a lift, which costs a lot. It’s a logistical nightmare.”

Fortunately, Treloar had the knowledge and experience to come up with a better solution. “Because of my other projects, I understand the Dante transmission protocol,” he explains. “I started looking for a way to use Dante and run lightweight CAT5 cable up into the truss instead of big analog snakes. Then I discovered the Attero Tech unD32 Dante breakout box, which gives me 32 outputs over one CAT5 cable. It was like finding the Holy Grail!”

You often find the Attero Tech unD32 in permanent installations, such as hotels and houses of worship, but Treloar wanted to use it in a temporary rig for live sound. “I adapted the unD32 for live sound by adding 32 XLR connectors to the unit,” he relates. “I put it in a rack, and I mount that up in the truss. So I’m using the unD32 as a Dante-to-analog breakout box up on the truss, and then I branch out. It makes my life so much easier when we’re doing setup.” Treloar uses Dante-enabled wireless mics and consoles whenever possible, with the consoles handling the DSP, so the system is Dante all the way through.

unD32 Powers Toyota Car Show AudioLast year, Treloar supplied the audio system for a car show at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As with most such shows, the audio team was just Treloar and one other person, and he needed to get the installation done quickly to avoid holding up the much larger lighting crews. “Everything runs in catwalks at that convention center, and it takes 15 minutes just to get up there,” recalls Treloar. “Doing cable runs up there is crazy. But with the Attero Tech unD32, I was able to run just one CAT5 cable up to the catwalks, place the unD32 in a central location, and then branch out to do drops down to the truss. I had all my outputs in one place. It was fantastic!”

In addition to logistical and technical advantages, Treloar has found the Attero Tech solution extremely cost effective. “When I saw a single-rackspace Dante breakout device that could provide 32 outputs, my jaw dropped,” he admits. “In order for me to get that anywhere else, I’d have to spend thousands of dollars more, and my client probably wouldn’t agree to it. With the unD32, I have exactly what I need for a very affordable price. And Attero Tech is a cool company with very good people. They really have made my life much easier.”

Please contact us for more information on Attero Tech products.