- As the only major professional sports team in the Salt Lake City region, the Utah Jazz benefit from a home crowd that is unfailingly enthusiastic and vociferous. Fans of the Jazz have long relished their reputation as among the loudest in the National Basketball League, providing an advantage that the management of the team’s home, EnergySolutions Arena (ESA), is eager to preserve. So when arena owners Miller Sports Properties recently decided to upgrade the facility’s sound, they weren’t searching for ways to mitigate the noise. Instead they went looking for a system that could make announcements and music heard clearly above the roar of the crowd anywhere in the venue. They found what they needed in an Electro-Voice system built around XLCi127DVX line arrays.
Open since 1991, EnergySolutions Arena includes two main concourse levels and has a total of six public levels including suites, offices, dining rooms, and club levels. The main hall, which has 56 luxury suites and 668 club seats, accommodates audiences of approximately 20,000 for Jazz games and also for concerts and events such as ice shows, rodeos, and the circus.
“Acoustically, the arena is known as one of the loudest in the NBA,” said Jamie Galileo, Vice President of Facilities for Miller Sports Properties. “During the loudest games, opposing teams constantly have to plug their ears or scream in order to hear each other. Nothing has been done to change the natural acoustics of the building. Instead we’ve improved the overall fan experience by replacing the original PA with a line array system.”
Loudspeaker intelligibility is always a key factor in a reverberant environment, and the team’s home crowd makes it even more crucial in this situation. “The same thing that makes this a great home-team arena — the acoustics of the building — also creates the biggest challenge for intelligibility,” Galileo said. “The fan contribution tends to build, and it’s no easy task getting the PA above that level. We were approached by multiple manufacturers, but we chose EV largely because of its exceptional value-to-performance ratio, and also because Directlink Marketing, the local EV representatives, were always available and they really understood our mission.”
The new system was designed collaboratively by audio consultant Larry Lucas of Anthony James Partners (Richmond, VA), Electro-Voice senior technical applications specialist Robert Deyarmond, Dave Larsen of Directlink Marketing (West Jordan, UT), and two in-house personnel: arena AV engineer Jeremy Potter and technical services manager James Baity. Installation was handled by the arena’s own in-house crew to allow work to be scheduled between games and events.
The first phase of installation, completed for the 2013-14 season, primarily involved installation of the line arrays, which use a total of 112 XLCi127DVXs. “There is a splayed pair of arrays in each corner of the video board, for a total of eight hangs,” Potter said. “The arrays pointed at the long sides have 15 boxes each and the end-firing arrays have 13 each. The arrays hang between the video boards and the video space ring, and there is very little room for error when raising and lowering; the clearance is measured in inches. Three chain motors are used for each array to allow precise placement. The EV rigging is exceptional for placing the arrays exactly where they need to be.”
In addition to the arrays inside the arena, Electro-Voice EVID series loudspeakers can be found throughout the facility. “We have 100 EVID 6.2 dual 6-inch two-way surface-mount loudspeakers on the concourses, at the outside entrance doors, and in the retail spaces located off of the concourses,” Potter said. “The included installation bracket makes the 6.2s easy to mount, and the sound quality is excellent. We also have about 60 EVID C8.2 8-inch two-way coaxial ceiling loudspeakers installed in all of our dining rooms, meeting rooms, and ancillary rooms.”
The loudspeaker systems throughout are powered by Electro-Voice amplifiers. The EVIDs use CPS 8.5 amplifiers with RCM-810 cards. “Using CPS8.5s allows us to have almost 48 zones of 500 watts in a minimal amount of real-estate,” Potter said. The arrays, meanwhile, use 60 TG7 power amps with RCM-28 cards. Both models of add-in cards work with a set of six NetMax N8000 digital matrix systems to enable IRIS-Net capabilities throughout the facility and also digital audio distribution using Audinate’s Dante™ protocol.
“IRIS-Net gives us complete supervision and control from a single point,” Potter said. “And NetMax allows us to complete the digital audio loop throughout the building, with Dante connections not only to the amp room but also to our many conference, dining, and retail spaces. It also lets us use FIR filters to optimize the XLC boxes in the main arrays. We use NetMax at all Miller Sports Properties facilities, so our audio engineers are NetMax certified by Electro-Voice, which enables us to set up and maintain our own systems.”
“Energy Solutions Arena is the largest, most high-tech arena within a five-state radius and provides the best in sports and entertainment,” Galileo continued. “Our upgraded sound system ensures that our customers have the best possible experience when they attend a Jazz game, a concert, or a show. The new EV line arrays and delay speakers deliver intelligibility to every seat in the house, and this audio improvement engages our fans even more and makes them an integral part of our events.”