EAW Elevates the Game Day Experience at Michigan Stadium

Published: June 28, 2024
Image courtesy of D. Pagan Communications, Inc., for Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW)

Recently, the University of Michigan set out to enhance the audiovisual experience for spectators at Michigan Stadium. It is, of course, one of college football’s most iconic venues. Accordingly, university officials pledged to take the game-day atmosphere to unprecedented new heights. Therefore, Michigan Stadium chose the innovative technology of the Anya three-way, full-range ADAPTive Array Module and Otto ADAPTive Subwoofer from Eastern Acoustic Works, or EAW for short.

Paul Haley, lead audiovisual engineer at University of Michigan Athletics, led the multi-million-dollar project. The undertaking included the new EAW audio system, two new videoboards, and lighting and production studio upgrades. Videoboard work encompassed the main North videoboard and a South videoboard.

Michigan Stadium and Its Decision to Integrate EAW Speakers

According to Haley, “The decision to integrate EAW speakers into the renovation project came after meticulous consideration and consultation with industry experts.” He continues, “We wanted a bigger videoboard but also needed better audio throughout the venue.” The facility had utilized a different manufacturer’s audio system for more than a decade, but project leadership opted to explore alternatives, including EAW, to achieve the objective.

The university collaborated with design firm WJHW. Accordingly, it received top-notch guidance on the most suitable manufacturers and products for this application. The team chose EAW speakers based on having had outstanding previous experience with the brand. Notably, they’d been installed a few years earlier in the school’s Yost Ice Arena — and that system continues to provide great audio.

Powered Loudspeaker Solution Required

According to Mark Graham, audio consultant, associate principal at WJHW, “Michigan Stadium required a powered loudspeaker solution since there is not enough conditioned space near the north-side scoreboard for the associated equipment racks.” He continues, “EAW’s Anya met that first requirement, as well as the other performance goals for the venue.” As far as location, the EAW Anya and Otto are positioned next to the video screen on the North side of the venue, as part of the enclosure. Notably, the products’ form factors enabled the design to maximize space usage. Graham adds, “With ADAPTive technology, we were able to direct the sound output to the spectator seating areas, while maintaining sound quality and the SPL needed in the football environment.”

MetInteractive, working in collaboration with EAW, oversaw a seamlessly executed installation and tuning process. This, of course, helped ensure minimal disruption and maximum efficiency. The new audio system featuring EAW speakers delivers optimized sound quality no matter where spectators are. The system has a focus on enhancing low-frequency reinforcement. Accordingly, it is composed of 28 Anya cabinets per side, accompanied by 12 Otto subs on each side. The resulting system delivers even coverage and superior intelligibility throughout Michigan Stadium.

EAW Speakers Deliver Exceptional Performance for Michigan Stadium

Haley remarks on the Anya speakers, saying that they “…deliver exceptional performance and maintain clarity and consistency over considerable distances.” He continues, “It’s over 900 feet from the speakers to the farthest seats. So, it’s a very long throw distance. And yet, intelligibility is very good all the way across the stadium.” The project team implemented advanced tuning techniques, including precise start and stop coverages, to minimize audio distortion generated by building surface reflections. This, of course, helps further enhance intelligibility to boost the fan experience.

Haley adds, “Since the North-side videoboard directly faces the South board, EAW set up a stringent end of coverage right at the bottom of the South scoreboard, using its Resolution software.” This has been fantastically effective in minimizing the slap back, he notes.

In addition to installing the ADAPTive system in the sides of the North scoreboard, the project team deployed several MKD loudspeakers for the Jack Roth Stadium Club. That is, of course, a premium seating area. The speakers were installed underneath the overhangs in that space to deliver sound reinforcement for those seats.

Posted in: Projects

Tagged with: EAW, Loudspeakers, Sports

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