Cheyenne Frontier Days Revamps Sound System

As part of Cheyenne Frontier Days™ (CFD) commitment to its customers, the organization is undertaking a complete revision of its concert sound system to improve sound quality and volume issues.

For the revision, CFD worked with Patrick Baltzell of Baltzell Audio Design. Baltzell is one of the foremost acoustic engineers in the United States; and he has done acoustic design for large arena and stadium concerts, and for the 2015 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards at Texas Stadium.

Baltzell studied CFD’s layout including arena diagrams, stage and speaker configurations, and he also did an extended on-site visit in February of this year.

“My job was to look at what equipment was used, and how it was displayed, and ascertain why there were sound problems,” Baltzel said.

In the past, CFD anchored its stage with four sets of speakers on the north and south ends. To cover the entire arena the sound system had to be operated at near maximum capacity. Consequently, this caused the sound to bounce off the roof of the stands, and from the back wall in lower B and C Stand. The bouncing of sound then caused distortion and increased the perceived sound levels.

Baltzel said that he listened to the complaints, but that it is hard for lay people to describe what they don’t like about sound and its distortion. “There were three primary issues that I addressed with my system revisions,” he said.

Baltzell recommended CFD split the speaker arrays from two to four. There will be one set of speaker arrays on the north and south sides of the stage. An additional array will be approximately 125 feet north of the stage and the other array 110 feet south of the stage. This will spread the sound evenly across the arena.

All of the speakers will be raised higher to provide a level, consistent sound direction. The tops of the speaker arrays will have a baffle designed by Baltzel extending from the top to catch and direct the sound better.  The baffles will keep the sound from distorting because it’s bouncing off the roof of B and C stands.

The final recommendation from Baltzell was for CFD to install sound baffles on the back wall in lower B and C stand to absorb the sound and keep it from bouncing off the back wall, causing distortion.

Contract Acts Chairman, Larry Kehl said, Baltzell’s recommendations have been approved by the CFD Board and General Committee, and all of these revisions to the sound system will be implemented prior to the 2015 show.

“With these revisions in place, the CFD night show concert experience will be improved, with the aim to give concert-goers the same quality sound as the best concert venues in the rocky mountain region,” Kehl said.