Mabee Center Oklahoma

Sounds From Heaven (SFH) Productions, LLC, was contracted to perform the facility upgrade


Located on the beautiful campus of Oral Roberts University, Tulsa's Mabee Center is a special events arena that, in addition to serving as the home of the Golden Eagles men's and women's basketball teams, plays host to a broad range of cultural events. With the capacity to seat upwards of 11,300 people in its sports arena layout, the Mabee Center's 105,000 square foot floor plan includes two tiers of seats surrounding the regulation basketball court.

Tulsa, OK-based design/build firm . Gary Howard, the firm's principal, discussed the challenges of the project. "Being that the arena is regularly re-configured to accommodate the events, management wanted the new sound system designed in such a way that it was optimized for each floor plan," explained Howard. "As an example, when the Johnston Theater is set up, the outlying areas inside the arena are sectioned off with drapes to create a more intimate setting. Similarly, there is a false ceiling or 'eyebrow' that gets lowered into place. To accommodate the chameleon-like nature of the facility, we decided to create an array-based sound system that could not only be resized as required, but one that included multiple flypoints from which to suspend the clusters."

After extensive evaluation, a sizeable collection of loudspeakers from the D.A.S. Audio Aero catalog was installed. The purchase included 20 Aero 38A medium format, powered 3-way line array modules, 16 Aero CA-28A powered 2-way, compact array modules, and 8 Aero LX-218A powered subwoofers.

In its largest configuration, the sports arena layout encompasses four array clusters consisting of four Aero 38A's over two CA-28A's (using the D.A.S. AX-Combo rigging frame) in four equal distance 'corners' within the oval, along with two additional clusters each consisting of four CA-28A's in the end zones behind the basketball goals. The Johnston Theater setup includes eight Aero 38A's over 1-2 Aero CA-28A's per side in a left-right configuration that is augmented by four ground stacked LX-218A subwoofers per side. The Expanded Theater setup builds upon the Johnston setup by adding two outer arrays, each consisting of six CA-28A's per side. CA-28A's are periodically used as front fill along the edge of the stage in the Johnston setup.

For the two theatrical setups and the full arena configuration, FOH is permanently stationed at center court toward the rear of the lower tier of C section seats. A 56-channel Amek Recall mixing console with Neve preamps resides here, along with two Biamp Systems Nexia SP digital signal processors for loudspeaker management. According to Howard, "Performance tuning was done with Smaart measurement, optimization, and control software to define the various EQ and crossover settings for the various Nexia configurations. Since there are no subs used in the basketball games, the system is set up so that the 38A's carry the low end."

For the End Arena floor plan, the main left-right clusters include ten Aero 38A's over as many as four CA-28A's. These are augmented by two outer clusters, each consisting of four CA-28A's and four ground stacked LX-218A subwoofers per side. The FOH location is road show dependent. All loudspeaker clusters are flown at heights ranging from 36 - 43 feet at the top.

Text by R. Maxwell

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