In honor of the University of California-Irvine’s 50th anniversary, the school recently invited President Barack Obama to give the commencement address to this year’s graduates. The ceremony was held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
To ensure that the crowd of 30,000 – seated on the field and in the stands – didn’t miss a word, the leadership at the University contracted Goodman Audio Services, located just outside Anaheim, to handle sound reinforcement for the prestigious event.
Trace Goodman, president and senior audio designer, was tasked with designing a PA that could reach seating as far as 600 feet away from the stage.
“Originally we thought about putting together a distributed array system,” he explains. “But cables, power and placement was going to be a challenge and coverage to the upper levels almost nonexistent. We needed to come up with a different option.”
Goodman had been to a number of EAW demos of the new Anya system and suspected that it might provide the solution he was looking for. Because Anya’s adaptive array technology allows each module to assess and perfectly match the three dimensional performance requirement of the venue, it would easily cover the distance required. After working with EAW’s Bernie Broderick and the ASG team, who used EAW’s Resolution software to configure the system, Goodman was confident that Anya would do the job.
“It was the perfect opportunity to see exactly what the system could do,” Goodman adds. “We put together a large speech system that’s primary purpose was to make sure that everyone in the stadium could hear the President’s commencement address. It worked perfectly.”
The system design consisted of 28 Anya cabinets. PA towers were constructed 120 feet apart to the left and right of the stage. Because of the distance between the towers, Goodman opted not to set them up in traditional left-right hangs. Instead, each tower consisted of two arrays. The primary/outside array of 12 Anya modules were set to cover either the left or right seating areas with minimal overlap. The secondary/inside array — made up of two Anya modules — provided infill for the field seating area.
“Because the towers were so far apart overlapping would have caused some serious multiple arrival times in the far left and far right seating areas,” explains Goodman. “Each array would be off to its opposite array by a minimum of 105 milliseconds. Instead we had the two outside arrays just overlap enough to fill in the center stadium seating area. You could not hear any multiple arrival times with the two arrays overlapping at the 500 ft. mark. It worked perfectly.”
In addition to the Anya modules, Goodman also hung EAW NTL720s (four per side) for additional front fill. The self-powered, 3-way line array loudspeaker modules provided ample coverage for the seats close to the 60 x 20 foot stage. EAW NT59 loudspeakers were used to cover seating on the stage.
“Not only did the system sound terrific, but it was much easier than setting up multiple arrays,” continues Goodman. “Throwing everything from the same spot was much more efficient – not having to deal with multiple arrival times allowed for a much faster setup and less than half the time to set and tune the system.”
“The client was extremely happy,” concludes Goodman. “It’s was a big event for the University and everything went better than planned. At the end of the day, that is what is most important.”