Ford Wyoming Centre obtains pristine sound with EAW

Ford Wyoming Centre’s 2023 College National Final Rodeo (CNFR) called for an arena audio overhaul. After struggling with an ageing PA system, the venue called on AV supplier Equalised Productions and their President, Dave Kistler, to design a new speaker setup. Eventually, solutions from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) were specified. 

The team at Equalised, EAW, and ProTech Marketing designed the system layout, which included one EAW QX596i and eight QX566i Three-way Trapezoidal Enclosures in the venue’s lower bowl. In the upper bowl, 16 EAW MK2366i Passive Two-way Full-range Loudspeakers were installed, alongside one MK2326i in the VIP balcony.

“Previously, the Ford Wyoming Centre had a single-centre cluster speaker system with horns, which was definitely outdated. It kept going out and didn’t sound great with the amount of feedback they were experiencing,” Kistler explained.

With EAW, we were able to forgo a traditional line array system and instead do a distributed system throughout the arena. The horsepower of the QX Series speakers was a perfect fit for the lower bowl, and the MK Series speakers in the upper bowl checked our boxes for design, sound and budget,” he continued.

The QX Series features EAW’s Focusing technology, which greatly benefited this venue, as it compares the output of the loudspeaker system to its input with the resulting digital signal processing implemented, correcting for any differences.

The sound put into the loudspeaker system is the same sound output, providing predictable performance and clarity in the listening area. This is achieved using hundreds of corrective FIR filters to improve horn honk and splashiness caused by phase anomalies as sound exits the horn. Intelligibility and directivity of the sound is improved; broadband pattern control is maintained down to 250hz.

Happy with the results, Kistler revealed: “Stepping outside of the traditional line array, we were concerned at first about the setup. But we’re so pleased that we didn’t go that route. I think we achieved better results out of the system we designed. With the EAW speaker technology, we have a really nice time-aligned low-end, which is very impressive.”

Beyond the sound quality, EAW’s reliable service was a determining factor in Kistler’s design. “We wanted a company that would answer the phone and help see us through the installation. EAW did that for us. We had a very restrained timeline and EAW was able to pull the project off before the deadline,” he explained.

With the new system installed and ready to go, Kistler and the Ford Wyoming Centre were more than impressed with the sound: a reaction that was reflected by the audience of the 2023 CNFR. “The rodeo happened to be the very first show wherein we used the new EAW system – we received rave reviews,” Kistler concluded.