BlueWater Audio Ensures P.A. Doesn’t Drown in Blue Angels

San Diego, Calif.-based BlueWater Audio, an audio integration business co-owned by partners Paul Svenson and Steve Manno, regularly takes on serious sonic challenges for the U.S. Marines all over Southern California.
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San Diego, Calif.-based BlueWater Audio, an audio integration business co-owned by partners Paul Svenson and Steve Manno, regularly takes on serious sonic challenges for the U.S. Marines all over Southern California.

The range of previous jobs has included audio installs done for firing ranges, bringing sound to huge gymnasiums and building portable music rigs destined for Iraq. Their most recent duty for the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, the partners brought audio to a flight line and terminal complex some 15 miles north of downtown San Diego. Facing the challenge of producing intelligible paging amidst the twin-engine thunder of F-14 fighters and other supersonic aircraft taking off and landing, the pair used QSC CX Series amplification.

"To give you an idea of how loud it is at MCAS Miramar, I measured 106 to 107 dB upon jet takeoffs while seated inside my car a block away with the windows rolled up," Manno relates, still holding his ears.

Svenson admits that neither he nor Manno felt it was necessary to determine the actual sound pressure levels directly at the flight line. "It's a moot point when you can clock 106 to 107 dB a block away inside your car," he says. "Based upon our somewhat distant analysis, we recognized we had some serious hurdles to jump and left it at that."

BlueWater's ultimate strategy divided the indoor and outdoor areas of coverage into five zones reinforced with large-format horns. Power is supplied by a pair of CX204Vs from QSC's CX Series. Packing four channels into only two rackspaces each, the 70V amps provided clearly audible voice announcements even over the F-14s.

"A 70V, distributed blueprint was absolutely necessary here," Svenson believes, "because we wanted to be able to adjust the relative balance between different speakers. For example, one loudspeaker next to the terminal's front door didn't need to be screaming, but others in the same zone had to be running full-tilt pretty much all the time. Using the 70V design, we were able to tap-down and balance each of the speakers according to need. With the CX204Vs, we did it all in only four rackspaces to boot."

For more on this story, please go to BlueWater’s Website at www.bluewateraudio.com.