Beaver Stadium, home to Penn State University’s Nittany Lions football team, is one of the largest in the country with a capacity of almost 107,000. In fact, it is the second-largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere.
The stadium has expanded six times in its history and recently, systems contractor Clair Brothers upgraded Beaver Stadium’s sound system with the installation of more than 140 Harman JBL loudspeakers to improve its performance in a number of coverage areas.
“We had already replaced the main PA system in 2007 with a comparatively small JBL VLA601 and VLA301 line array system, but work still needed to be done to address areas in the North and South end zones of the stadium where the sound from the main PA is blocked or where we determined that additional coverage was needed,” said Jim Devenney, Sr. Systems Designer and Project Manager at Clair Brothers.
“The balconies are large and present significant acoustical barriers. There were already speakers in place in these areas but they had been there for a while and needed to be upgraded,” Devenney continues. “In the South end zone there are three separate areas, the main PA does not cover since the PA shoots over the top of the entire area.
“The tight down angle from the top of the scoreboard makes it impossible for the main PA to adequately reach those areas.”
“The lower level is used mostly for student seating, we mounted 16 JBL AW295 all-weather speakers on the face of the balcony to cover these seats between the balcony and the field.
“In addition there are 36 AWC82 outdoor speakers positioned in two alternating rows of 18, with 18 pointed straight down and another 18 placed in between them and aimed back away from the field to cover the area under the balcony.”
“The Club Level is the next level up and here the balcony directly blocks the sound from the main PA. To remedy this, 14 AW295 speakers face toward the field and 52 AWC82 speakers are placed facing down. There’s a seating area under the scoreboard that also needed attention. We added 24 JBL Control 25AV indoor/outdoor speakers to deliver sound to the people sitting under the scoreboard.”
“The top of the lower level seating in the North end zone is also shaded from the main system by an overhanging balcony. We installed 10 AWC129 speakers here.”
When it comes to installation challenges Clair Brothers has seen it all, yet the Beaver Stadium upgrade threw the proverbial fly in the ointment for Devenney and crew.
“Putting up the speakers was the easy part,” Devenney said. “Our installers loved the speakers as they were well-designed and easy to mount. However, we had to install them during the Penn State football season so we had to put up and take down the scaffolding after every game.
“The schedule was also so tight that we had the speakers flown from the plant as soon as they were manufactured! We still were able to complete the installation in four weeks. The stadium’s operations staff was very helpful with logistics, ensuring the system installation would stay on schedule.”