Ford Wyoming Center Upgrades PA System with EAW Solutions for the Arena’s Biggest Event of the Year
CASPER, WYOMING, NOVEMBER 30, 2023 – Host to numerous musical acts, comedians and sporting tournaments, one of the Ford Wyoming Center’s most anticipated events is the yearly College National Final Rodeo (CNFR). While the excitement leading up to the 2023 rodeo was no different, the preparation called for a bit of an audio overhaul. After struggling with an aging PA system, the venue called on AV supplier Equalized Productions and President Dave Kistler to design a new speaker setup that would enhance the audience experience for the CNFR and every show to come through the Ford Wyoming Center.
After carefully considering the environmental design and auditory needs of the arena, Kistler along with Neal Johnson from ProTech Marketing of Colorado, landed on several solutions from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW®) for the new system. Having worked with the brand for almost 10 years, Kistler was confident in the quality, serviceability and reliability EAW offers. The team at Equalized, ProTech Marketing and EAW 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 with one MK2326i in the VIP balcony.
“Previously, the Ford Wyoming Center had a single-center cluster speaker system with horns, which was definitely outdated,” Kistler explains. “It kept going out and didn’t sound great with the amount of feedback they were experiencing. 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.”
Kistler anticipated the high quality of sound received from the QX and MK Series speakers, however, he notes that his expectations were surpassed when it came to improving the Ford Wyoming Center’s fidelity issues. “The intelligibility exceeded our hopes, which was really cool,” he shares. “The QX Series speakers have a great sounding blend across the entire spectrum from low to high end. It was also very easy to tune and balance out the entire room.”
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.
“Stepping outside of the traditional line array, we were concerned at first about the setup,” Kistler continues. “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. It’s at concert-quality level with very clear low-end fidelity that doesn’t taper off like other systems.”
Beyond the sound quality, EAW’s reliable service and performance was a determining factor in Kistler’s design. “We wanted a company that would answer the phone and help see us through the installation,” he explains. “EAW did that for us. We had a very restrained timeline and EAW was able to pull the project off before the deadline. In today’s world where backorders have become the norm, it was great to have that reassurance. Even through the tuning process, EAW was there to make sure we were in good shape. It was truly appreciated.”
With the new system installed and ready to go, Kistler and the Ford Wyoming Center were more than impressed with the sound: a reaction that was reflected by the audience of the 2023 CNFR. “The rodeo is the Ford Wyoming Center’s biggest event every year and it happened to be the very first show we used the new EAW system,” shares Kistler. “We received rave reviews. The CNFR was very pleased with the sound and the arena’s audio engineers said that it sounded better and louder than competing line array systems that have come through for concerts. Overall, the intelligibility, volume and quality of this EAW system is absolutely incredible.”