Winnipeg Jets Fire Up New Sound for MTS Centre
A team in search of a new home isn’t that unusual in the peripatetic world of major-league sports. But a venue in search of a team is. So the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, capital of Canada’s most central province, was pleased to have the NHL’s Jets skate in last season and call it home, replacing the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose, which now play as the St. John IceCaps.
However, the switch from a minor-league to a major-league team underscored the difference in sound that the venue would have to handle. The existing sound system, designed for AHL-size crowds, was no match for the vociferous vocalizing of 15,000 fans. The solution for the 2012-13 season was a new Electro-Voice XLC-based line-array system, which was designed and installed by local AV integrator Sound Art.
“The MTS Centre is good-sounding arena,” says Sound Art owner Dave Cousins, noting that the venue’s acoustics were surprisingly well balanced: “They did a good job of making the room live enough to be good for sports without being a nightmare for music.”
But he adds that, as soon as the arena became home to the Jets, all the season tickets sold out immediately, which meant that the old sound system was “completely buried” by the noise of capacity crowds. “I did my initial prebid site survey at a sold-out Jets game,” he recalls, “and I was blown away by how loud the crowd was.”
According to Cousins, Sound Art has had extensive experience with Electro-Voice systems in the arena, having provided production systems for hundreds of shows in the MTS Centre since it opened. “Depending on the type of event, we deploy X-Line, XLC, and XLD line arrays,” he says. “We use them every day, so we know what they can do.”
The system deployed at MTS Centre includes a total of 54 XLCs in six clusters using different array lengths at the various hang points encircling the center-hung scoreboard. “The clusters in the end zones are 10 boxes deep, the two west-side clusters are nine boxes deep, and the two east-side clusters are eight boxes deep because the press boxes shadow some seats on that side,” he explains. “We repurposed some of the old sound system to cover those shadowed seats.”
Four of the arrays are supplemented at the top of the hang with three XLCi215 front-loaded dual 15-in. subwoofers. “The XLCi215s match the footprint and rigging of the XLCi127DVX,” Cousins says. “Twelve subwoofers represents half of what we would normally use in a tour rig with this many mid/high cabinets, but, in this situation, they are being used as a bass cabinet more than a subwoofer. And they produce a significant amount of output even in this small quantity.”
The system is powered with 51 CPS2.12 amplifiers. Although Sound Art uses Electro-Voice Tour Grade series amplifiers in its production systems, Cousins says, the Contractor Precision Series was a good match for the MTS Centre installation in terms of both functionality and budget. System routing, FIR filters, and limiting functions are all provided by a set of NetMax N8000-1500 system controllers.
“We installed the RCM-810 cards to put all of the amplifiers on IRIS-Net. That lets the operator in the booth turn on the amps remotely in a structured pattern so as not to draw a huge rush of current,” he explains. “And the operator can monitor each amplifier’s operating temperature and live load impedance in real time.”
Still to come for the MTS Centre system is a phase-two expansion with EVU-1062/95 ultra-compact two-way loudspeakers that will be mounted under-balcony for press boxes and owner’s rooms.
“Once the owners heard how good the sound was for the fans,” Cousins says, “they wanted in on it as well.”