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JBL VLA Line Arrays Hit A Home Run At Harbor Park

At Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia, home to Minor League Baseball’s Norfolk Tides, a new JBL VLA line array system gave the team’s stadium a sonic refresher that both vastly improved the sound on the field and did so very cost-effectively. Two clusters, each containing six JBL VLA 901 speakers with 90-degree horizontal horn coverage patterns offer fans exceptional sound and high intelligibility while staying within both the team’s budget and the physical limitations of the park.

“It was challenging because we could only work within the space that was already there,� said Tom “T� Brockenbrough, Project Manager for Onyx AudioVisual, the systems integrator for the project. Due to budget constraints, the system design and installation teams replacing the PA system were required to use the same sofitted set-backs in the outfield wall of Harbor Park, which was completed in 1993. Furthermore, the soffits could not be accessed

from above, eliminating the possibility of using a crane to lift PA components in; they would have to be loaded from the side. “Time and budget pressures meant we couldn’t run conduit and install a distributed audio system, which would have been the ideal situation,� Brockenbrough said.

Gary T. White, Senior Associate at acoustical consultant firm Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW), concurred. “Budget and time frame were major considerations. We started discussing the replacement late in the 2009 season. The desire to have a new system in time for the 2010 season was probably the most important factor in system choice, with cost a close second. Even with a proper budget, our estimates couldn’t rationalize designing and installing a distributed system in less than eight months.�

However, White had an inspiration: “I had done a lot of other minor league and major league stadiums and really wanted to try a line array for an outfield cluster,� he said. “WJHW had used VLA line arrays other projects and I was working on some football stadiums with end-zone clusters, so the VLA’s for Harbor Park were an easy choice.�

White specified the VLA 901 enclosure, part of the JBL VLA Series line arrays, which are based on the same advanced engineering used in JBL’s VERTEC® Series line array systems. Designed specifically for permanent installation applications where even coverage, high intelligibility and very high sound-pressure levels are required, the VLA Series includes six large-format horn-loaded modules with three horizontal horn coverage patterns (30, 60 and 90 degrees) in both mid-power and high-power configurations. This modular horn-loaded concept incorporating JBL’s Precision Directivity® series technology provides system designers additional flexibility to vary the horizontal pattern within a vertical array.

“Given the constraints we had to work with, the JBL speakers were the best possible solution,� Brockenbrough said. “They were installed in the same spaces as the old PA, but they brought so much more power to the stadium’s sound. We were testing them in place and they’re incredibly powerful, yet the sound was still highly articulate, with very even coverage and very good frequency response. There is no other box out there with that much output, that can throw that far, and still sound great.�

For more information on Onyx AudioVisual, please visit

For more information on WJHW, please visit

HARMAN ( designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 11,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.2 billion for the last twelve months ended March 31, 2010. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.


For additional information, contact:
Travis McGee
Definition Branding & Marketing
(212) 660-2555 ext. 24
[email protected]