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One of the Nation’s Oldest Stadiums Gets an Audio Makeover

Philadelphia, PA – Opened in 1895, the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field has been designated by the NCAA as the oldest stadium still operating for football games. The stadium boasts a long list of history-making events, including the site of the nation’s first scoreboard (1895), the nation’s first two-tiered stadium (1922), the first football radio broadcast (WIP, 1922), the first football telecast (PhilCo, 1939) and Vince Lombardi’s only NFL playoff loss (1960).

The University recently upgraded Franklin Field’s aging sound system with a new system based around R-Series weather-resistant loudspeakers from Community Professional Loudspeakers. As Chris Dietze of Yeadon, PA-based Clear Sound Inc. explains, the Community R-Series weather-resistant loudspeakers were simply the best response to the stadium’s challenges. “We’ve seen Community R-Series in sporting facilities, amusement parks and cruise ships all over the world, in some of the most brutal climates, and we have total confidence in their reliability,” he says.

More important, of course, was coverage and intelligibility, a long-time challenge for the stadium’s bowl-style seating. “The R-Series are really purpose-designed for this type of application,” Dietze observes. “Their intelligibility is excellent, and they’re really designed for long throw full-range sound.”

In view of the stadium’s iconic history, any changes to the century-old structure had to be accomplished with the utmost care and planning. Adding to the challenge, the annual Penn Relays Event, the oldest track and field competition in the U.S., was scheduled to run within a month, placing a premium on time for design, fabrication, installation and testing of the new system.

Clear Sound’s design called for two Community R2-77Z long-throw full-range and two R6-51 multi-driver vertical array systems to be mounted as end-zone clusters atop Weightman Hall, the adjoining athletic building. But the hall’s roof was not designed to support such a structure, so a mechanical engineering firm was retained to design a platform to secure the loudspeakers to Weightman Hall’s stone walls. “We brought in a truck-mounted 50-foot crane to mount the loudspeakers,” says Dietze. QSC amps power the system.

“The Penn Athletics staff is really pleased with the results,” Dietze reports. “Everyone from the stadium’s directors to the coaching staff is saying that it’s never sounded this clear.”

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