UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion Upgrades with BSS Audio and JBL Loudspeakers

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Building on the rich heritage of UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and providing a new level of entertainment for students and fans, Los Angeles-based Pro Sound & Video recently upgraded the audio system, part of a $125 million renovation to the arena.


Acoustic Dimensions served as acoustical consultant for the project, which includes Harman’s JBL Professional Precision Directivity (PD) series loudspeakers, BSS Audio Soundweb London signal processing, and Crown CTs Series amplifiers.

Pauley Pavilion, which opened in 1965, is the on-campus home court to the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball, gymnastics, and volleyball programs, as well as a campus landmark which played host to the 1984 Olympics, a 1988 presidential debate, and renowned entertainers including Frank Sinatra. With 38 NCAA championship teams across the various programs, the venue’s history speaks for itself.

The design process was conducted over a 20-month period, while the renovation included the addition of modern amenities with a new center-hung video display and new speaker system for the arena seating, concourses, and restrooms, with AV systems for the new team meeting room, player lounges, and Stadium Club.

The total installation included eight JBL PD5212/64 loudspeakers for main long throw, eight PD5212/64 loudspeakers for main short throw arrayed above the four corners of the scoreboard, and 32 AM7212/95 main delay loudspeakers installed in a delay ring around the arena seating, underneath the upper seating level. Additionally, two VP7212MDP floor monitor speakers were provided for courtside use, 29 Control 26CT ceiling loudspeakers installed in the arena’s premier seating Pavilion Club, and 30 Control 24CT MicroPlus compact in-ceiling speakers installed in the writing and press area of the arena.

“We have used the JBL PD5000 series boxes on previous projects and like the way it sounds. With its tonal quality and high output capability we determined it was a good design choice. Add to that fact that JBL’s headquarters are right down the street from the university, we knew that it was the right speaker for the arena,” explained Brian Elwell, senior consultant and vice president of Acoustic Dimensions.

A total of three Crown CTs600 amplifiers power the systems 70V speakers, with an array of BSS BLU-800, BLU-160, BLU-16, and BLU-32 being used for digital signal processing as well as a BLU-10 controller for level control and mutes of the various speaker systems.

“This was a fairly simple system to install, except for one main challenge,” explained Joe Byrne, operations manager for Pro Sound & Video. “With trapezoid cabinets such as the PD loudspeakers, it made it difficult to hang the boxes from the stadium roof. There is no easy way to have the speakers seismically arrested and would have required a huge amount of wired rope installed between the speakers and the ceiling. It looked chaotic on paper.”

“We needed a ridged frame system to cut back on the wire strung in the rafters so we developed a square structural steel frame in which the loudspeakers could hang inside and be seismically arrested to the frame itself,” Byrne said.

With the addition of a large new ribbon and LED scoreboard, the sonic quality of the JBL PD Series loudspeakers complemented the system quite well. “With a ring of delay speakers underneath the upper seating level, the coverage is great,” Byrne continued.

The great longstanding relationship between Pro Sound and Harman gave Byrne and his team the confidence in installing a full JBL and BSS Audio system. “We’ve never had any issues with the audio system when we know we have Harman products deployed. With years of experience, we know that the system will be reliable and help reinforce the UCLA tradition within the arena.”

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