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EAW audio takes fan 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”

Eastern Acoustic Works audio systems have enhanced the audiovisual experience for spectators at Michigan Stadium. The University of Michigan’s iconic venue has chosen the Anya 3-way full-range ADAPTive array module and the Otto ADAPTive subwoofer for the multi-million-dollar project, which also included two new video boards for the main north videoboard and a south videoboard, as well as lighting and production studio upgrades.

The installation of EAW speakers focuses on enhancing low-frequency reinforcement, using a the system that comprises 28 Anya cabinets per side, accompanied by 12 Otto subs on each side to ensure even coverage and superior intelligibility throughout the stadium.

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

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.

The EAW system was selected in collaboration with design firm WJHW. The team chose EAW speakers based on their previous experience with the brand, having installed them a few years earlier in the school’s Yost Ice Arena.

Mark Graham, audio consultant, associate principal at WJHW, said: “Michigan Stadium required a powered loudspeaker solution since there is not enough conditioned space near the north-side scoreboard for the associated equipment racks. EAW’s Anya met that first requirement, as well as the other performance goals for the venue.”

He added: “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 maximise 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.”

Paul Haley, lead audio/visual engineer, at University of Michigan Athletics led the project. He commented: “The Anya speakers deliver exceptional performance and maintain clarity and consistency over considerable distances. 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.”

He concluded: “Advanced tuning techniques, including precise start and stop coverages, were implemented to minimise 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 minimise the slap back, which has been fantastic.”