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New Field Sound for Sports Authority Field at Mile High
By: Dan Daley, Audio Editor
Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 11:36 am

Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High recently opened the NFL Broncos’ 2013 season with a new JBL loudspeaker system. Minneapolis-based Parsons Electric installed the new audio system, which was designed by Dallas-based Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams (WJHW). The upgraded system includes a retrofit of the stadium’s scoreboard loudspeakers, as well as wholesale changes to the bowl loudspeakers.

Parsons Electric installed a total of 18 JBL loudspeakers flanking the scoreboard: 10 PD5342, six PD5212, and two AM5212 loudspeakers. The bowl system now features 61 PD5342/64 loudspeakers, each paired with a JBL custom-made AL6212-WRX low-frequency loudspeaker. All of the PD Series loudspeaker enclosures are treated with JBL’s WRX extreme-weather protection.

“We pulled [all the speakers] out of the bowl and scoreboard and replaced them with substantially larger speakers with more-modern horns and better dispersion,” says David Potts, field engineer, Parsons Electric. “The previous system wasn’t bad, but it was really thin, and it was dated, so they didn’t have an abundance of coverage and output. We also did some steering to couple the low frequencies of the AL6212-WRX with the PD5342 loudspeakers.”

The driving force behind the replacement of the audio system was the installation of new scoreboard and video displays, along with the addition of a ribbon display on the fascia of the club level, according to Mark Graham, associate at WJHW. “This fascia was previously the home of the loudspeakers that covered the lower deck and field-side seating and, as such, could not remain,” he explains. “The redesign added many new loudspeaker locations to the system, but, since many of the existing locations were already wired with 10AWG cable, we reused most locations to make the best use of available budgets. We did have to step outside of our normal palette of design tools and use some custom-built loudspeakers to provide the required performance and sound coverage from these ‘prewired’ locations.”

In addition to the bowl areas, the stadium’s interiors also got an audio update. The suite level now features 52 JBL custom-made CSMHS-DH12 weatherized loudspeakers, each of which contains a 100-V transformer. The suite level also features 26 AL6212-WRX weatherized devices. Under the deck and upper bowl, 36 JBL CSAW-266 and CSAW-211 loudspeakers are positioned between large, forked beams known as “tusks.”

On the field, volume and coverage have been enhanced. “We now have a lot more SPL,” Potts observes, “and the sound throughout the whole stadium has much more presence.”

Adds Graham, “Sports Authority Field at Mile High has the loudest crowd of any NFL stadium that I have been involved with and provides the backdrop for the high SPL products selected from the JBL Professional line as well as the custom loudspeakers used. After the first two regular-season games, both wins for the Broncos, the system is meeting our design expectations and, more importantly, those of the fans.”

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