Nashville Sounds’ New Home Field Is Ready To Rock
She needs a carburetor, a set of plug wires
She’s ridin’ me around on four bald tires
The wipers don’t work and the horn don’t blow
But there ain’t nothin’ wrong with the radio
The scramble is on to get First Tennessee Park ready for the season’s first home game of the Nashville Sounds Triple-A Minor League Baseball team, scheduled for April 17, when they play the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Weather and a number of unforeseen circumstances, including the discovery of the remnants of a 900-year-old Native American village where left field would be, conspired to create construction delays and cost overruns. But, like the last line in the Aaron Tippin song above, the ballpark’s sound system is ready to roar.
It’s an exotically mixed system, comprising components mainly from EAW, JBL, and Renkus-Heinz, all powered by four-channel Crown amplifiers and using BSS BLU audio processing. The amalgamated speaker elements were chosen based on highly specific dispersion and power-handling characteristics, determined through modeling done by the project’s audio consultant, WJHW.
“In some cases, we also made [speaker] decisions based on how a particular element had to be mounted,” explains Gary White, senior associate, WJHW, and the consultant on the project. “But, mainly, it was coverage and power handling.”
The design allows speakers to be pointed very precisely, which has the added benefit of helping keep sound inside the venue and away from the nearby residences in the rapidly gentrifying Sulphur Dell neighborhood.
The new ballpark, which cost an estimated $75 million, is on the former site of an earlier minor-league ballpark, in use there from 1870 to 1963. The new stadium replaces the team’s former home at Herschel Greer Stadium, where the team played from 1978 to 2014.
A new guitar-shaped scoreboard, similar to but larger than the one at Greer Stadium, was fabricated by Panasonic Eco Solutions North America and installed by TS Sports, the AV-systems integrator that Panasonic acquired in February. The scoreboard will also hold two of the main speakers in the sound system. JBL speakers are mounted to cover the upper deck and on four of the lighting poles along the first- and third-base lines.
The sound system was installed by Clair Solutions, which has an office in Nashville. According to Clair Solutions Project Manager Tom Stotler, the main three-box clusters are made up of EAW and Renkus-Heinz enclosures, which are aimed out into the field, up and down, comprising a point-source/distributed system.
Clair Solutions also installed the fiber cabling between the amp racks and the outfield speakers, as well as the cabling for the stadium’s CATV system and its broadcast interface.
Stotler notes that the installed sound could be used as fill for any touring system brought in for music concerts. “There are several broadcast-cable boxes installed around the infield, and they each have the ability to both send and receive. It’s a well-wired stadium.”