Maryland Sound (MSI) deployed JBL VerTec line arrays available from Jands as the main PA system for the historic inauguration of American President Barack Obama on January 20. The ceremony took place at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

With equal attention being paid to clear sound quality and open sightlines, MSI, in collaboration with Baltzell Audio Design, configured an audio system that relied on the high output and easy setup of JBL VerTec VT4889 large-format line array elements.

In total, 15 of MSI’s custom-built, ground-stacked line array towers, ranging from 4 to 14 VT4889 loudspeakers each, were dispersed throughout the Mall area, beginning with two 14 box clusters at the main stage (one per side).

With respect to sightlines, six towers were arranged on the outside perimeter of the main lawn (which measured approximately 550 feet deep by 1000 feet wide), to provide delays without obstructing the view of the seated audience.

Beyond the 305m mark, an additional five delay towers were set up from left to right in the audience area, providing audio reinforcement for the rest of the crowd. To cover various VIP seating sections along with choir and band areas, the primary JBL VT4889 system was supplemented by JBL VP7315DP powered loudspeakers, VRX932 portable line array loudspeakers and Control 25AV pole-mounted speakers. Crown I-Tech amplifiers, configured with Harman HiQnet System Architect software for remote control and monitoring, powered the system.

In addition to large-area coverage considerations, Baltzell and the MSI audio support team had to deal with weather and security contingencies, while designing and deploying a failsafe sound system to support sound reinforcement for both speech and music.

According to Baltzell, the VerTec line arrays were suitable for this high-profile outdoor application. JBL VerTec simply has more overall acoustical power output and the VT4889 boxes have three compression drivers. The distance between the main line array tower and the first delay tower was about 177m.