WJHW and Parsons Bring Harman Professional to Milwaukee Bucks’ New Arena

Parsons Technologies and WJHW recently outfitted the Milwaukee Bucks’ newly-built Fiserv Forum arena with state-of-the-art Harman Professional Solutions audio and lighting systems to deliver a high-energy experience at basketball games, concerts and more.

Opened in August 2018, the Fiserv Forum is a 714,000 square-foot arena built to replace the aging BMO Harris Bradley Center as the home of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. The venue, a $524 million project, seats up to 18,000 fans and contains 34 suites and three clubs. In addition to NBA games, the venue also hosts concerts by renowned musical acts ranging from KISS to Mumford and Sons, as well as international touring productions like Cirque de Soleil and Monster Jam. Consulting group Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) worked with Parsons Technologies and Theatrical Lighting Designer Ian Hoffer to equip the Forum with state-of-the-art Harman AV equipment including JBL loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers, BSS signal processors and Martin lighting fixtures.

“Parsons provided and installed the AV systems for this venue, both back-of-house and bowl, as well as the broadcast cable system,” said Erik Carlson, Construction Executive at Parsons Technologies. “Harman worked with us to ensure competitive pricing, on-time delivery and great operational systems for both owner satisfaction and fan experience.”

Much of the excitement at the Fiserv Forum comes from its dynamic theatrical lighting, which produces dazzling displays at halftime shows and concerts. The arena’s main fixtures are 12 Martin MAC Viper AirFX 1000W lamps, which provide a wide variety of effects with multiple gobo wheels and bright CMY colour mixing. The Viper fixtures’ included frost filter also provides soft washes of colour, increasing their versatility. Eight Martin MAC Axiom Hybrid fixtures supplement the Vipers, providing high-intensity beam and spotlighting with a remarkable zoom range of 2-44°. Four Atomic 3000 LED strobes mounted at the corners of the scoreboard project bright, pulsing strobe effects onto the court below.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, so I chose fixtures that I knew would be reliable, work well and look good,” said Theatrical Lighting Designer Ian Hoffer. “Martin is known for reliable fixtures—they last. They need to operate every night, and it’s not the kind of thing you can just run up to the ceiling and take down, so I wanted something that would last for a long time.”

The Fiserv Forum’s sound system is a fully integrated network of Harman audio solutions. The main arrays, hung above the central scoreboard, consist of over 90 JBL VTX V20 line array loudspeakers supplemented by ASB6128V subwoofers for powerful, arena-filling sound. A range of specialized JBL loudspeakers provide additional coverage wherever the main arrays don’t reach, including the ultra-focused AM5212, the compact AC15 and the AC28/26 with extra-wide coverage. For general audio distribution throughout the rest of the venue, Parsons installed a range of JBL Control Series in-ceiling and pendant-style loudspeakers.

Crown DCi amplifiers power the expansive audio system, sending powerful, high-fidelity signal with ample headroom to all speakers. BLU Link technology allows the amplifiers to communicate with the arena’s networked BSS signal processors, which route signal throughout the system with a flexible digital architecture and powerful DSP. Together, the JBL, Crown and BSS audio solutions form a comprehensive networked system which delivers impactful sound throughout the arena.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with WJHW and Parsons on this project,” said Olivier Roure, VP of Sales for Large Venues, Harman Professional Solutions. “We cannot forget the consulting group who designed this. And Parsons, as one of our key partners, have done a terrific job as always. Parsons is a great partner in the sports world, and we are very proud to have done such a wonderful job with them.”