Community sound for Crazy Horse memorial

Thursday, 1 September 2005
Community sound for Crazy Horse memorial
USA - The Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, SD is a very high profile installation. At 563 feet high and 641ft long it's also not just a profile, but a massive three-dimensional sculpture. Chief Crazy Horse, and the mount he rode in on, is being carved and blasted out of mountainside in Rapid City, South Dakota. The project has been a work-in-progress for 57 years - and completion is not in sight.

The memorial to Crazy Horse was the life long work of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982) who came to the Black Hills at the invitation of Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Oglala Lakota tribe: "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes too," said the Chief's invitation. On Memorial Day this year, Legends in Light - a multi-media laser-light show - premiered on the site. The laser-light show transforms the mountainside into a giant 500ft 'screen' for the spectacular presentation that shows nightly throughout the summer. To support the laser-light show, Pro Sound Inc was commissioned by special effects provider, Chameleon Productions of Orlando, Florida, to design and build a sound system that would cover some equally monumental spaces from which the show is viewed.

"There's three viewing areas on the site, and all are a little over a mile away from the mountain," says Pro Sound VP (Orlando office), Kelly Prince. "We used Community R-Series speakers for the largest of these three areas: the upper and lower parking lots, and the Observation Deck that stretches between the museum and the restaurant."

Two Community R1-94Xs, two R.5SUBs, and two R.5HPs used as delays cover the 300ft by 80ft Observation Deck. Two R2-94Xs cover the upper parking lot (about the size of three football fields turned sideways), and two R1-64Xs cover the lower parking lot. Two cross-firing Community R.5-HP's cover the grassy area alongside the upper parking lot. A combination of QSC CX series amplifiers (902s, 7002s, and 502s) drive the Community loudspeakers. An Ashley Protea 24.24M handles digital processing for all loudspeakers.

"People can drive up, park, and actually watch and listen to the show from their cars," says Prince. "The R2 has a 90° x 40° pattern, and two of them on a pole cover the entire upper lot. The R2 is a very powerful speaker. And since we had very little ambient noise to contend with in this very remote location, even at 90dB, the R2s can cover the parking area. You can hear the speakers all the way to the toll booth at the park entrance, about a mile and a half away."

Like the Community loudspeakers, the laser-light show equipment is matched to the hugeness of the memorial sculpture and the environment: 15W lasers, the biggest used in the laser-show industry; 25 x 2,000W fixtures to light up the mountain; and three of the world's largest slide projectors from PANI that create panoramic images as wide as the mountain carving. The projection equipment is placed half a mile from the mountain.

(Lee Baldock)


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