Improved audio experience eyed for Musical Fountain

Alex Doty • Feb 22, 2018 at 1:00 PM

One of the final pieces of a multi-year effort to revitalize the Grand Haven Musical Fountain may soon become a reality.

The fountain committee is putting together a campaign to raise the necessary funds to improve the fountain’s audio system.

“The sound system upgrade is a much-needed continuation of renovations to the Musical Fountain,” committee chairman Andy Cawthon said. “It will also address some complaints regarding sound quality and volume.”

The existing speakers are more than 20 years old and are past their expected life cycle, city officials say.

“They have definitely served us well, and we have had some good support getting (needed repairs),” Grand Haven Facilities Manager Dan Vivian said.

Despite ongoing maintenance and the fact that the speakers project sound each summer, the system is becoming more difficult to maintain and keep in a good operating condition, Vivian said. Along with the benefits of a more reliable system, the upgrades would also improve the quality of waterfront shows.

“What’s there now is we have high-range speakers and low-range speakers — we have no mids,” Vivian said.

This lack of a mid-range means the volume needs to be increased in order for the sound of the fountain shows from Dewey Hill to reach the audience across the river. By adding mid-range speakers, Vivian said the audio can be run at a lower volume, but be easier to hear for spectators.

“We will be able to lower the volume and have a clearer product,” Vivian said.

The project would also see improvements made to the structures that house the speakers.

The speaker component of the project is estimated to cost $95,000, and work to refurbish the speaker buildings is estimated to cost $25,000. Vivian noted that the goal is to raise as much as $130,000 for the project in order to cover the two components and have enough money left for a contingency fund.

“What we’re looking at doing is getting that replaced during the fall of this year or spring next year,” Vivian said.

Cawthon noted that donations to help fund the project would be greatly appreciated, and can be directed to the Musical Fountain fund set up at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

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