Electro‑Voice line arrays combine power & intelligibility at Winnipeg's We Day

March 23, 2012
How do you turn a hockey arena into an intelligible venue for spoken word in one day? For Winnipeg event and installation company Sound Art, that’s not an abstract question but rather a challenge that had to be solved in order to provide quality sound for the recent We Day youth empowerment event at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre. The solution was a PA system built around a combination of Electro-Voice line arrays, including two hangs of X-Line arrays and four of XLC series arrays.

“We needed both power and intelligibility,” says Iain Graham, technical projects manager at Sound Art. “So that’s where using the X-Line and XLC127DVX arrays really helped us, because they can both handle quite a lot of brute power when needed, but there’s always good clarity in the vocal range regardless of how hard you’re driving the system. So you can send them someone talking on a lavalier mic or a rock singer at full voice, and either way the intelligibility is really good.”

“The flying of the boxes can be a big deal for a system of this size, but with the EV arrays it was nice and simple.”

Organized by international children’s’ charity and educational partner Free The Children, Winnipeg’s We Day event encompassed both spoken word and music. The crowd of 16,000 youths from 400 schools was addressed by, among others, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin, and actress/activist Mia Farrow. And it was entertained by musical performers including recording artists Hedley, Down With Webster, Neverest, Sierra Noble, and Shawn Desman.

The event was staged in the round with speakers and performers appearing in the center of the rink. Placement of double-high video screens above the stage meant that the arrays had to be flown high and to throw long. The two X-Line hangs, one on each of the long-throw sides of the rectangle, were each made up of eight Xvls elements over four Xvlt elements. Low-end support for the X-Line arrays was provided by a total of eight Xsubs configured as two stacks of two on each long side. The short-throw sides each had two hangs of two XLC118 subwoofers over 12 XLC127DVX full-range elements. Front fill was provided by eight Xi-1152s, two on each of the four sides. For onstage monitoring there were 18 Electro-Voice Xw12A 12-inch two-way floor monitors and two MTL2Bs.

The system was powered by a combination of 34 Electro-Voice P3000RL remote control amplifiers, 24 TG7s, and 10 P3000s. A NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller was used for FOH drive and matrixing, and three Dx46 sound system processors were used for crossovers, two for X-Line and one for Xsubs.

Consistent control

Graham says the pattern control of both the XLCs and the X-Line, enhanced by the latest versions of EV’s FIR filters, was crucial to keeping sound energy off of the stage directly below the hangs. “The FIR presets are really good,” he says, “and really consistent. And because they give all the boxes what you might call the EV sound, the characteristics of the sound are predictable even when you combine arrays like we did for We Day.”

Graham credits the consistency of the boxes for allowing fast tuning of the system. “When you’re working against the clock,” he says, “It’s very important to be able to get a system of that size sounding good without having to work at it for a long time.”

Also crucial was the design of EV’s rigging systems, which enabled physical setup in limited time. “We had a basically a day,” Graham says, “to set up a system of this size plus a full monitor package and a recording package, with about seven consoles in all. With six array hangs and amp racks and everything else, it was a lot to do in one day. The flying of the boxes can be a big deal for a system of this size, but with the EV arrays it was nice and simple.”

All in all, Graham says, “having the EV gear made it a much less difficult day than it could have been. If the rigging and tuning hadn’t been as easy as it was it would have been a much longer day and a much less happy client. They’d had some issues with feedback in some of the other cities, but we had none. So the client was extremely happy.” Crew:

Account Manager - Dave Alderdice

Monitor Tech - Gerald Sawchuk

Traffic Mixer - Kevin Davis

RF Tech - Ian Skrabek

Patch - Jessica Dudeck

RF Dresser - Mike Lipnowski


Photos: Mike Lipnowski

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