GLENSIDE, Pennsylvania — Located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, Arcadia University is a top-ranked college offering more than 80 fields of study and the University offers a wide range of activities and athletics, with 17 men’s and women’s varsity teams under the banner of the Arcadia University Knights. When Arcadia needed to upgrade the PA system for its soccer and lacrosse field, the school turned to HARMAN’s BSS Audio Soundweb London and JBL AWC129 compact all-weather speakers.
The installation required full audio coverage of the field for announcements and music, as well as supplying audio for the multi-purpose room of the field house. “We had a number of challenges, not the least of which was a tight budget. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it compelled us to look into the JBL AWC129, which we might not have otherwise considered but turned out to be perfect for the job,” said Chris Leonard, Director of Audio for Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania systems integrator IMS Technology Services.
“The field is located right next to two major highways, and we had to make sure the PA would be heard over the heavy road noise,” Leonard continued. “In addition, noise from high winds is very common as the field is in a wide-open location at one of the highest elevations in the area.”
For Leonard and his team, there were logistical considerations as well. “There’s no dedicated A/V booth at the field house—the coaches run the sound system from the player’s side of the field. This meant that we needed to have all the mic and line inputs and control of the PA on the far side of the field, away from the main rack room in the field house. We also needed a system that would effectively manage the audio from multiple zones including inside the field house, to have seamless coverage for any event that may happen,” added Leonard.
Price was also a major consideration in this project. Initially, IMS had specified a system using other JBL speakers in addition to BSS Audio processors and Crown amplifiers, but the speakers didn’t fit the budget. “Thankfully, around the time of InfoComm, I saw a press release for the new JBL AWC129 speakers. I thought, ‘This is the product we need to hit the price point.’ I also wanted the entire system to stay within the HARMAN family—I know that HARMAN gear works well together. The introduction of the JBL AWC129 turned out to be what solidified the deal,” explained Leonard.
“I chose BSS Audio Soundweb London for its superior sound quality and processing power, which gave us the tools we needed to manage this system.” The Arcadia University installation includes a BLU-100 processor, a BLU-BIB “break-in box” input expander for mic/line inputs at the far side of the field and an MC-1 fiber system to connect the BLU-BIB to the BLU-100 in the field house rack room. Six Crown CTs 2000 amplifiers power the system.
IMS deployed eight JBL AWC129 speakers on four light towers placed around the field. In addition, four JBL Control 29AV indoor/outdoor speakers were installed on the outside face of the field house along with six Control 25 indoor/outdoor speakers in the field house’s multi-purpose room.
“When we initially tested the system in our warehouse I was really impressed with how good the AWC129’s sounded,” said Leonard. “I liked the way they projected speech, which was the primary goal of the system, and also how coherent and stable they were right out of the box with little or no EQ. All of this was key in combating the high road and wind noise we knew we would encounter.”
“Once installed at Arcadia University, I tuned the system using the HiQnet London Architect software. I love how easy it is to program the BLU-100, and how easy it is to make custom control pages, so while you’re tuning the system you have access to the controls you need very quickly.”
“The client is very happy about the outcome. Our Project Manager, Patrick Whipkey, did an outstanding job in the coordination with the general contractor, school and vendors to have this job come together in a timely fashion while given many hurdles to overcome,” Leonard concluded. “They were impressed by the even coverage the relatively compact JBL AWC129 delivers and how well it was able to overcome the noise level outside. Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming spring sports season.”