Electro‑Voice brings super sonics to MTS Centre for Winnipeg Jets

May 9, 2013
The new sound system at MTS Centre immediately generated a considerable amount of positive feedback on social media from fans and sports/broadcasting professionals alike, including the Tweets below (used by permission):  

Great to have NHL Jets back! Also, great new sound system! Bass at MTS Centre with no crackling!! – Alex Snell @JHendrix70

“I was blown away by how loud the crowd was. I knew immediately that an EV XLC system would deal with this environment perfectly.”

Well the new sound system at the MTS Centre rather kicks some a** – Jerrad Peters @JerradPeters  

Can really notice the difference with the new sound system at MTS Centre. Crystal clear and very loud. – Red River Radio @rrcradio 

The new sound system in MTS Centre is FANTASTIC – Pete Tessier @Teddier

The return of Major League Hockey to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season was huge moment for the region’s legion hockey fans. The Winnipeg Jets were brought to town from Atlanta by True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the MTS Centre in which they now play. The arena, which wasn’t yet built when the original Jets left for Phoenix in 1999, had been the home of the American Hockey League team the Manitoba Moose (now the St. John's IceCaps) from 2004-11. But as the Jets played their first season it became evident that the Centre’s existing sound system, designed for AHL-sized crowds, was no match for the vociferous vocalizing of 15,000 fans. The solution for the 2012-13 season was a new XLC-based line array system from Electro-Voice, which was designed and installed by Winnipeg’s own Sound Art.

“The MTS Centre is good-sounding arena,” says Sound Art owner Dave Cousins. “They did a good job of making the room live enough to be good for sports without being a nightmare for music.” But Cousins says that as soon as the arena became home to the Jets all of 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 pre-bid site survey at a sold-out Jets game,” he recalls, “and I was blown away by how loud the crowd was. I knew immediately that an EV XLC system would deal with this environment perfectly.”

Bang for the buck

Sound Art has 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,” Cousins says, “we deploy X-Line, XLC, and XLD line arrays. The entire EV line offers huge ROI, definitely the most bang for your buck of any loudspeaker. We use them every day, so we know what they can do. When I recommend EV to a customer, I am 100 percent confident that the system will perform as I have promised.”

One aspect of the XLCi127DVX in particular that appealed to Sound Art for the MTC Centre’s game PA, Cousins says, is its power-to-weight ratio. “The XLC is only 105 lbs, and it offers remarkable output. The client was very concerned about sight lines, and because the XLC cabinets are both compact and powerful we were able to deploy shortened clusters that were capable of remarkable output and coverage, so sight lines to the scoreboard were not affected in the slightest, even for the highest seats.”

Another important factor was that the XLCi127DVX offers 120 degrees of horizontal coverage. “That allowed us to cover the entire arena with just six clusters,” Cousins says. “And we were also able to reach right behind the hockey glass where the most expensive seats are located. The XLC had no problem providing the extreme down-angle coverage to get behind the glass and cover these seats smoothly.”

The system ultimately deployed by Sound Art, which was furnished through PAG Canada, included a total of 54 XLCs in six clusters using different array lengths at the different hang points encircling the center-hung scoreboard. “The clusters in the end zones are ten 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. 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-inch subwoofers. “The XLCi215s match the footprint and rigging of the XLCi127DVX,” Cousins says. “12 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.”

Cool power

The system is powered with 51 CPS2.12 amplifiers. Cousins says that while Sound Art uses Electro-Voice Tour Grade series amplifiers in its production systems, the Contractor Precision Series was a good match for the MTS Centre installation in terms of both functionality and budget.

“The CPS amps are very efficient,” he says, “with all of the installation features that you need in a large system. They are all seeing 4-ohm loads and are not even generating much heat under use. 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. And the operator can monitor each amplifier's operating temperature and live load impedance in real time.”

System routing, FIR filters, and limiting functions are all provided by a set of NetMax N8000-1500 system controllers. “The customer had some bad experiences with a different-brand DSP system, so to ease their concerns we used the output disconnect relays on the NetMax to set up two parallel systems, both of which are hard-wired and operating, so that we can switch over in an instant.”

Cousins says the reaction to the new system has been “utterly fantastic. I was unable to attend the first game with the new system but even through my TV I could literally hear that there was a huge difference from the old system to the new. And I had a big smile on my face reading the live tweets from the crowd at the game referring to the improved sound.”

Still to come is a phase-two expansion of the system 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!”

News Articles

sprites_global sprites_ev