SOUTH BEND, Indiana – South Bend, Indiana’s Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium is the home of the South Bend Silver Hawks minor league baseball team. The 5,000-seat stadium, known locally as “The Cove,” opened in 1987 with a sound system that was good by 1980s standards, but not up to the requirements of the stadium’s recent renovation and expansion. When systems integrator Communication Company of South Bend Inc. (www.communication-co.com) was contracted for the stadium’s sound system upgrade, it turned to HARMAN’s Crown and JBL to meet the specific audio needs of the project.
“Our goals for this project were not just to significantly improve the sound quality at the stadium but to make the games a better, more fun-filled experience and equip the stadium to accommodate other events that are held throughout the year,” said Rick VandenBossche, Systems Engineer at Communication Company. The renovation ran from 2011 through 2013.
All the speakers inside the stadium were replaced with 16 JBL Control 29AV full range indoor/outdoor loudspeakers to cover the main seating areas, complemented by 31 Control 24CT in-ceiling loudspeakers in the upper deck and 48 Control 25AV high-power compact loudspeakers in the walkways and on light poles. A series of luxury suites and an area for private parties and meetings were added to the stadium, all equipped with JBL Control 24CT loudspeakers and high-definition video displays.
One of the key components of the renovation was the creation of a park-like environment that surrounds the facility and allows patrons to walk a full circle around the stadium. The walkway is lined with video screens, loudspeakers and lighting that are designed to bring the play-by-play action inside the ballpark to the outside of the property and 30 JBL Control 29AV loudspeakers are deployed throughout this area.
All the loudspeakers are powered by five Crown CTs 2000 and four XTi 4000 amplifiers, which are connected to the facility’s system control network by three Crown IQ3 PIP-USP3 network interface modules.
“With all outdoor facilities you are going to encounter acoustical challenges,” said VandenBossche. “First, we needed to respect the residents in the neighborhood next to the facility. Second, with outdoor venues it’s best to distribute audio from multiple points instead of hurling sound from one place and blowing some people out while others don’t hear enough sound.” Hence the use of multiple smaller JBL loudspeakers, deployed in a distributed audio system that took into account areas with reverberant sound and outdoor walkways with high environmental wind noise into account. The output of the loudspeakers was time-delayed as necessary according to their locations.
VandenBossche chose JBL Control Contractor Series outdoor loudspeakers for their presence, clarity and ability to deliver wide coverage from smaller enclosures. “They’re dynamic loudspeakers with great sound.” Crown amplifiers were used exclusively because he feels they offer the best quality and value on the market.
Another curveball for Communication Company was the fact that they had to install the system in the offseason and not interfere with season play, which meant all the work had to be done in Indiana’s late winter. “Let’s just say the installation would have been more fun if it wasn’t so cold out!” VandenBossche noted.
The result was worth it. “With a setup like this, the fans find it hard to contain their excitement once the music and game-day sounds start,” concluded VandenBossche. “The ballpark experience is completely transformed and games are much more fun and exciting.”
HARMAN (www.HARMAN.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. 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 about 14,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.3 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.