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Bose® Panaray® MA12EX Full-Range Modular Line Array Selected for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Panaray® MA12EX Array tackles three key challenges for outdoor sound in a demanding environment — even audio coverage, minimal impact on sightlines and resistance to cold temperatures — while providing clear, articulate sound

Framingham, Massachusetts, July 23, 2014 – The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the oldest continuously operating shipyard serving the United States Navy, opened in 1800 during the administration of President John Adams. The facility has birthed and taken care of U.S. Navy vessels that have served in every armed conflict the country has engaged in since the War of 1812. The complex’s main road hosts a memorial to the submarine the USS Squalus, in front of which the entire staff and crew periodically assembles in a huge semicircle for ceremonies such as the Change of Command. As many as 4,000 people can be gathered there to listen to speeches and addresses by naval officers, politicians and other notable leaders. So the need for clear, articulate and reliable sound is critical. In addition, the sound system has to have a low profile to allow clear sightlines for those assembled and to maintain the historical mandates set down by the shipyard. To achieve all this, the solution came in the form of the Panaray® MA12EX Full-Range Modular Line Array from Bose® Professional Systems, installed there last year by Power Sound of New England, a New England-based systems integrator who has been installing sound and video projection systems for over 40 years.

The system comprises 27 Panaray modules configured in nine triple-stack speaker combinations, each mounted to a 16-foot, custom fabricated and removable pole. These were installed late last year. A second phase of the project was completed in April, when eight Panaray MA12EX modules were attached individually to the vertical posts supporting the life rails on the Squalus Memorial, which is the upper deck and conning tower of the submarine USS Squalus. The speakers are zoned so that all can be used to cover the largest events; the set of Panaray MA12EX speakers that cover Workers Park across from the Squalus Memorial have a zone of their own, and the newly installed MA12EX speakers on the Memorial can be used either as a separate subsystem or as part of the larger main system.

The first-phase installation was complex: “Hundreds of feet of home-run cabling were installed underground in one-inch PVC conduit to each speaker location,” explains Troy D. Jennings, Technical Design Specialist and GM for Power Sound of New England. It was also “all hands on deck” at Power Sound of New England to get this project accomplished by the time the weather turned cold enough to freeze the ground, and more importantly to accommodate the shipyard’s annual Christmas concert. The entire staff at Power Sound of New England contributed to the effort and the system was successfully completed on time.

Previous temporary sound systems failed to meet all of the requirements needed in this demanding environment. In the past, says Jennings, “Multiple conventional two-way speaker boxes on stands were used to cover this difficult configuration, and there were always issues with listeners who were close to the speakers getting an earful and those farther away not getting quite enough.” So, for the new, permanently installed sound system design, Power Sound selected the MA12EX loudspeakers. “The advantage of these line-array speakers is that they cover so evenly, not just from side to side but most importantly, up-close and far away,” Jennings explains. “Another advantage of using the Panaray loudspeakers is that their slim-line profile blends so well with the serene environment that they are barely noticeable.”

Finally, when it comes to withstanding the harsh coastal New England weather, the Panaray loudspeaker addresses perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Jennings continues, “Of course, being located on a naval base and close to the ocean, the weather can be very inhospitable, which was another reason that when Power Sound of New England designed this system we chose the Bose MA12EX, as they are built to be nearly impervious to environmental abuse. Even after the severe winter we had here in New England, the Panaray loudspeakers look like they did when they were taken out of the box, and they sound great!”