MBI Case Study

Hinkle Fieldhouse - Butler University


Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse has reigned as one of the nation's great sports arenas for more than six decades. The classic facility was constructed in 1928 and has stood up to the test of time, maintaining the splendor, character and atmosphere that made it one of the nation's most famous basketball arenas more than a half century ago. The facility has played host to a number of significant events over the years. One notable event was the 1954 match up of tiny-town underdog Milan High School against the powerhouse Muncie High School for the State Championship. Underdog, Milan's buzzer-winning basket and Championship win was immortalized in the 1986 movie "Hoosiers."

Since it's inception, season after season, attendance swelled and crowd enthusiasm escalated to a point where fan reaction in the highly reverberant structure became the expected noisy norm. And, intelligibility plummeted. For many years, the ensuing "racket" created by highly partisan well wishers was considered to be a natural addition to the ambiance offered by the facility.

Over the years several attempts were made to increase the intelligibility of the proceedings, but with scant regard to any correction of the underlying acoustical deficiencies.

Wright Consulting Associates, Inc. held strongly to the belief that the acoustics in the 6,000,000-cubic-foot space, with its attendant plus-6.0RT60 reverberation time, would have to be “tamed” by at least 2 seconds before any proposed sound system could be deployed successfully. Wright stated, “Make it quiet, take the destructive acoustical components out of the room and then (and only then) design a sound system that works, because [sound] systems will not overcome poor room acoustics. This design approach appears not to be the usual delivery process in the pro sound industry. But it is the favored and obvious approach in the world of professional design. While it conflicts with the design-build process of sound systems solutions and product-driven sales alone, it is the absolute hallmark for Wright Consulting Associates, Inc., and has vastly contributed to our successes.”It was thus determined that only if acoustical renovations could be properly balanced first, with a sound system replacement as second priority, could crowd noise could be managed, excitement be increased and, of course, engineered clarity for both PA and a very enthusiastic acoustical Pep Band be greatly improved.

To help bring the +6.0 reverberation down to manageable levels, Wright Consulting Associates installed 42,000 square feet of MBI Lapendary panels.

Source: Sound & Communications, November 2009

Acoustic Performance

Project Team

Products Used

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