Milwaukee’s Summerfest, touted as the world’s largest music festival, recently took place at the 75-acre (30-hectare) Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront of Lake Michigan. The 11 day festival boasts 11 stages, more than 800 acts, 1,000+ performances and draws an average of 900,000 music lovers from across the country.
Eastern Acoustic Work’s (EAW) Anya system made its Summerfest debut at the BMO Harris Pavilion, one of two main stages at the festival. The Pavilion, which opened in 2012, features 5,000 seats located under its wave-inspired roof and lawn seating for another 5,000 in the area adjacent to the venue and outside of the roof line.
This year the Pavilion hosted an impressive array of performers including Bonnie Raitt, Cheap Trick, New Order, REO Speedwagon, Ray LaMontagne and Third Eye Blind.
Such a diverse collection of acts requires a sound reinforcement system that can accommodate everything from an acoustic set to serious rock and roll. Fortunately, the Anya system was more than up to the task.
Milwaukee-based Clearwing Productions was responsible for the sound, lighting and staging for all stages at the festival, including the Pavilion. Gary Brunclik, IATSE supplied freelance sound engineer, was once again responsible for providing support for visiting sound engineers as well as mixing any acts that required it.
Brunclik has managed FOH at the Pavilion since it opened three years ago. “This was my first time using the Anya system,” explains Brunclik. “I have to say, I think it’s a game changer in the audio world. The technology it offers is absolutely amazing. I have finally won the ‘sound guy vs venue’ battle.”
Brunclik is referring to EAW’s Adaptive technology that enables each module to assess and then perfectly match the three dimensional performance requirements of any venue. The integrated systems utilize a high resolution array of discretely powered and processed acoustical devices along with EAW Resolution software to create optimized results at show speed – eliminating the need for physical reconfiguration and allowing system parameters to change in real time.
“During the day we had to keep the sound limited to a specific area,” adds Brunclik. “At night we would open it up and cover the berm. The fact that we could do this by merely modifying the software is remarkable.”
The main PA consisted of 14 Anya modules – seven per side – with four per side covering the side seating. Low end was provided by 12 EAW SB2001 subwoofers stacked six per side behind the barricades in front of the stage. Four EAW KF364NTs were spread across the lip of the stage for front fill.
Each 3-way, full-range Anya array module features 14 1-inch exit/35mm voice coil HF compression drivers loaded on a proprietary HF horn. Six 5-inch MF cone transducers, arranged in two columns of three, use Radial Phase Plugs™ and Concentric Summation Array™ technology to enter the horn and sum coherently with the HF wavefront.
Dual 15-inch LF cone transducers use Off-Center Aperture loading to increase the spacing of the apparent acoustical centers, extending effective horizontal pattern control well into the LF range.
Every Anya module also includes a field-replaceable power and processing unit with 22 channels of digital signal processing and amplification to drive each of the module’s 22 transducers
“It is a phenomenal system that sounds great,” Brunclik adds. “I did very little EQ, set a high pass and low pass and was very happy with what came out of the box. I didn’t use any outboard gear, just came straight out of the (DiGiCo) SD5 and into the DSP with nothing in between. It could not have been simpler.”
“I’ve worked on a competitor’s PA for the last couple of years but firmly believe in this product – I would take Anya on the road in a heartbeat.”