PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – Dubbed the “Cathedral of College Basketball,” The University of Pennsylvania’s Palestra is one of the country’s most historic college arenas. Founded in 1927, the 8,722-seat Palestra is home to Penn’s Quakers men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams. It’s known for its unusually intimate seating but not for its sound system—until receiving a new audio system featuring HARMAN’s JBL Professional loudspeakers and Crown amplifiers, courtesy of systems integrator Clair Brothers Audio Systems.
“The existing sound system simply wasn’t meeting the needs of the facility,” said Tim Mazur of Clair Brothers. “It was underpowered and couldn’t compete with the reverberant acoustics of the arena.” After conducting an acoustical analysis of the Palestra, Clair Brothers designed a new system based around JBL VRX932LA-1 Constant Curvature loudspeakers and ASB6118, all powered by Crown amplifiers.
As part of the renovation, Clair Brothers designed and fabricated a custom 2-layer rigging grid that can be raised and lowered from the ceiling, placing it in the optimum position during games and other events and out of the way when not required. The fly grid holds 30 JBL VRX932LA-1 line arrays arranged in six clusters of five each, with eight ASB6118 subs hung from the center. In addition, four JBL AM5212/95 loudspeakers deliver fill sound onto the basketball court. The loudspeakers are powered by one Crown Macro-Tech 5000i and 10 Macro-Tech 9000i amplifiers, linked together by a BSS Audio BLU-160 signal processor with digital audio bus and a BLU-BOB2 break-out box.
“The Palestra is a very difficult acoustic space because it’s highly reverberant, but we were not allowed to apply any acoustical treatment,” Mazur said. Working in conjunction with JBL, Clair Brothers determined the JBL VRX932LA-1 loudspeakers would deliver the most output for the budget thanks to their compact size, ease of installation, and 100 x 15-degree coverage pattern.
“We had a very tight turnaround on the project – only nine weeks from the time of the purchase order was issued to the completion date,” Mazur pointed out. As a result, Clair Brothers hung and tested the entire system at its Manheim, Pennsylvania headquarters before installing it in the Palestra.
“The system sounds great and everyone’s really excited about having it in time for the basketball season,” Mazur concluded.
For more information on Clair Brothers, please visit www.clairsystems.com
HARMAN (www.harman.com) 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 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.5 billion for the last twelve months ended September 30, 2013.