|Flickr user CameliaTWU|
is how loud Mavs playoffs games were at Reunion Arena. And this
is how regular season games sound at the American Airlines Center, where, writes The New York Times's Alan Schwartz
, "it is hard to tell if the Mavericks' favorite machine during these playoffs is Dirk Nowitzki, their star player, or their sound system." That's from a front-pager this morning on why some sports arenas feel the need to turn it up to 11 -- Dallas especially, where there's hardly a moment of silence in between all the classic rock, clutter and cacophony, which is a far cry, as it were, from the days when the sound track consisted of the "Charge" fanfare banged out on an organ and a respectful "basket by Rolando Blackman," in the words of 27-year Mavs vet Steve Letson, who sits courtside and operates the A/V presentation. Writes Schwartz:
The Mavericks' equipment involves more than simply pumping up decibels to levels that some experts fear could contribute to long-term hearing loss. Rather, with fans spoiled by earbud fidelity and 5.1-channel home theater systems, owners like the Mavericks' Mark Cuban have turned hosting a game into producing an event -- with "assisted resonance" and "crowd enhancement," buzzwords for insiders and euphemisms for others.
Sixty mammoth speakers hanging above the court thunder music and clamorous sound effects louder than a jumbo jet engine. More speakers encircling the seating bowl replicate a roaring herd of horses in perfectly timed surround sound.
The AAC's noise registers somewhere between 90 and 110 decibels and occasionally touches 115, right around the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's not-safe levels
over extended periods of time. Which is gonna happen as the arenas get bigger: You need to pump up the volume, lest you get nothing but "echoes and reverberation," in the words of AAC acoustic engineer Jack Wrightson (and Jeff Liles