EAW ADAPTive Takes Game Day Experience to New Heights at Michigan Stadium

The University of Michigan uses Anya Loudspeakers and Otto Subwoofers to Throw Sound Over 900 feet Across “The Big House”

ANN ARBOR, MI, JUNE 26, 2024 – When the University of Michigan set out to enhance the audiovisual experience for spectators at Michigan Stadium, one of college football’s most iconic venues, university officials pledged to take the game-day atmosphere to unprecedented heights. To deliver on that promise, the university chose the innovative technology of the Anya 3-way Full-range ADAPTive Array Module and Otto ADAPTive Subwoofer from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW®).

Led by Paul Haley, lead audio/visual engineer at University of Michigan Athletics, the multi-million-dollar project included the new EAW audio system, two new video boards (the main North videoboard and a South videoboard), as well as lighting and production studio upgrades. “The decision to integrate EAW speakers into the renovation project came after meticulous consideration and consultation with industry experts,” says Haley. “We wanted a bigger videoboard, but also needed better audio throughout the venue. We utilized a different manufacturer’s audio system for over a decade but opted to explore alternatives, including EAW, to achieve our objectives.”

Collaborating with renowned design firm WJHW, the university received guidance on the most suitable manufacturers and products for their application. The team chose EAW speakers based on their outstanding previous experience with the brand, having installed them a few years earlier in the school’s Yost Ice Arena, a system that continues to provide great audio. 

“Michigan Stadium required a powered loudspeaker solution since there is not enough conditioned space near the north-side scoreboard for the associated equipment racks,” says Mark Graham, audio consultant, associate principal at WJHW. “EAW’s Anya met that first requirement as well as the other performance goals for the venue. EAW’s Anya and Otto are positioned right next to the video screen on the North side of the venue, as part of the enclosure, and the products’ form factors allowed the design to maximize the space usage. 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.”

The installation and tuning process, overseen by MetInteractive in collaboration with EAW, was executed seamlessly, ensuring minimal disruption and maximum efficiency. The new state-of-the-art audio system featuring EAW speakers delivers optimized sound quality throughout the venue. With a focus on enhancing low-frequency reinforcement, the system comprises 28 Anya cabinets per side, accompanied by 12 Otto subs on each side to ensure even coverage and superior intelligibility throughout the stadium.

“The Anya speakers deliver exceptional performance and maintain clarity and consistency over considerable distances,” says Haley. “It’s over 900 feet from the speakers to the farthest seats, so it is a very long throw distance, and yet intelligibility is very good all the way across the stadium. Advanced tuning techniques, including precise start and stop coverages, were implemented to minimize audio distortion generated by building surface reflections to further enhance intelligibility for the fan experience. 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, to minimize the slap back, which has been fantastic.”

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

EAW’s ADAPTive products offer both digital and analog inputs, which provide the venue with the redundancy and reliability needed for vital emergency messaging to large crowds during critical situations. The ability for the boxes to “self-heal” was another very important aspect of the design consideration.

“Along with performance, reliability is really key for us, and the Anya speakers deliver on both fronts,” adds Haley. “The university’s commitment to delivering unparalleled audiovisual experiences to our fans is underscored by the integration of EAW technology, marking a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance stadium infrastructure.”

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