Since opening in 1995, EverBank Field has been the home of the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars and host to NCAA Football’s Gator Bowl. However, over the course of 17 years time took its toll on the Jaguars’ den and recently the 84,000-seat stadium underwent significant renovations, including an upgrade of the sound system with Harman’s JBL VLA line arrays.
EverBank Field’s management company Spectacor Management Group (SMG) hired Christopher “Topper” Sowden, Principal Consultant of Sowden and Associates in Fort Worth, Texas, to design and oversee the installation of the new audio system. The system was installed by locally owned Florida Sound Engineering Company.
Faced with the challenge of delivering high output and even coverage throughout the stadium, Sowden and his team designed a distributed line array system where VLA loudspeakers are mounted to lighting structures behind the stands. These line arrays are aimed at low-grazing angles of incidence into the seating space from behind the spectators.
“Considering that EverBank Field is a large, open and relatively shallow oval, we agreed that a distributed line array approach would provide a noticeable enhancement to the fans’ audio experience in the bowl,” Sowden said.
“The facility contains eight lighting structures placed around the stadium,” Sowden added. “Working with Florida Sound Engineering and JBL Professional Senior Application Engineer] Brad Ricks, we decided the JBL VLA Series loudspeakers would be the best choice for this installation for their frequency response and ability to deliver high-impact sound over large throw distances.”
Eight of the 12 originally designed arrays have been installed with the remaining four scheduled for completion later in 2013. Each of the four speaker clusters on the sides of the stadium includes three VLA Series VLA601-WRX loudspeakers and one VLA901-WRX loudspeaker, along with two PD Series PD5212/64-WRX loudspeakers and one PD5212/95-WRX loudspeaker. The four end zone clusters each feature three VLA Series VLA601-WRX loudspeakers, one VLA901-WRX loudspeaker, with one PD5212/64-WRX and one PD5212/95-WRX loudspeaker.
In this configuration, the VLA provides high energy and increased low and high frequency response, all the way to the front row of the stands, with even coverage to all seating areas.
“The arrays were developed using a road show rigging concept that allowed their installation using either a 150-foot crane or two chain motors,” Sowden noted. “Each cluster only took about an hour to mount!”
“Because the lighting structures are forward from the upper deck rear seating rows, we covered that area with 32 JBL AM7212/26-WRX high-power 2-way speakers on poles behind the last row of seats, which we chose because of their extremely wide horizontal angle of coverage,” Sowden pointed out. “We also installed 52 JBL AW295 speakers below the edge of the upper deck to cover areas of the lower deck that were shadowed from the main system.”
“The combination of speakers and deployment gave us the ideal combination of sonic attributes to achieve exactly the sound coverage and musical quality we needed,” Sowden said. “The team is happy, the owner is happy, and the patrons get their socks knocked off. It’s like sitting in your living room listening to a high-quality audio system, except you’re there with 84,000 of your close friends.”