Case Study

Grand Canyon University

Sound Image makes quick work of ambitious stadium install

Founded in 1949 in Phoenix, Arizona, as a private Christian college, Grand Canyon University (GCU) recently undertook a bold, university-wide, 2-year initiative to build 10 new sports venues on its West Phoenix campus. Clean, loud, and rugged was the brief for the audio system, requirements contractor Sound Image fulfilled with EAW QX full-range enclosures, and SB subwoofers.

Stadium Capacity
Anya Arrays


Grand Canyon University needed to install a new audio system into one of its 10 new sporting venues on campus and do it in a very compressed timeframe: a single day. The university’s president himself demands high-impact audio that is clear and intelligible while also providing the gut crunching lows in order to energize sports fans.

California’s Sound Image was hired for the hot project and specified small high-power QX Series and and matched them with renowned SB2001 subwoofers in six clusters.


GCU kicked off its sports construction campaign with GCU Stadium, a 6,000-seat soccer  stadium located in the heart of the campus near the
Student Union. “The president of the university really likes using audio to generate energy for the fans,” explains Ben Davis, project manager for Tempe, Arizona-based Sound Image. “He wants all of their sporting events to be high energy.”

Durability is a major concern in any stadium install, and Phoenix is certainly no friend to outdoor equipment, as the area withstands high winds, dust storms, torrential rains, and unremittingly blazing temperatures. “They wanted loudspeakers that would create a chest-thumping experience, had exceptional audio quality, and could be weatherproofed to withstand the rigors of outdoor installation while adding to the longevity of their investment,” Davis relates.

Finally, the project timeline was extremely aggressive, leaving only a very small window of time in which to install the system.


The bid submitted by Sound Image to the university was for EAW QX500 full-range loudspeakers, with an option for SB subwoofers. The high output and sound quality of the QX500 speakers and SB2001 subwoofers allowed Sound Image to meet the system’s performance and installation timeline goals with a compact point-source system, rather than requiring larger clusters or line arrays.

Sound Image specified six clusters, each consisting of one QX594i to cover the near-and mid-field, and a QX596i for long throw. The QX594i’s 90×45 dispersion covers a wide, but controlled, sector, while the 60×45 dispersion of the QX596i provides far-field coverage.

EAW’s WP weatherization options, along with an enviable track record of installations at outdoor sports facilities, gave Davis the confidence to use the QX systems in a high-profile project, even though there were only 12 enclosures in the system. “It was perfect; the EAW QX system hit all of the check marks for what they wanted for the stadium,” he observes. “QX has enough power to create the punch, the SB2001 subs provide tremendous low end, and EAW does a great job of weather protecting their products.”

“They wanted loudspeakers that would create a chest-thumping experience, had exceptional audio quality and could be weatherproofed to withstand the rigors of an outdoor installation while adding to the longevity of their investment.”

The installation presented its own challenges. The customer specified only one day for the system to go in, and the hanging locations were tricky, Davis recalls. “We were required to hang the loudspeaker clusters from a small I-beam while maintaining shear and our 10:1 load rating, which we accomplished with rigging systems designed and manufactured by Sound Image.” But everyone did their jobs well, and Sound Image completed the install in a single day. To see how they pulled it off, check out this time-lapse video.

“The school is extremely pleased with the end result,” concludes Davis. “As a matter of fact, a huge storm came through a while back and destroyed part of the building’s roof. Fortunately, EAW loudspeakers are built to withstand just about anything. When the dust settled they were still hanging and worked just fine.


Ben Davis

In 1971, off-the-shelf audio gear for live sound was barely a reality. In Rochester, New York, Silverfish Audio chose that
moment to enter the world of touring sound reinforcement. Twenty years later, after a name change to Sound Image and relocation to California, the company expanded into the burgeoning integration services market. Now, more than 45 years after the company’s founding, Sound Image is established as one of the world’s major vendors in both of these areas. Rentals and corporate events add more diversity to Sound Image’s portfolio, while their three locations in Southern California, Nashville, and the Phoenix area give the company national reach.

Resolution models of QX5/SB2001 in GCU

The QX500 Series delivers high output, broadband pattern control, and exceptional fidelity in a compact, three-way form factor. Its extraordinary output level makes it appropriate for long throws in arenas and stadiums, or for large, high-energy applications like live music venues or clubs, while its excellent pattern control allows the QX500 Series to tame hostile acoustical environments.

The SB2001 employs massive 21” cones for incredible output and superior extension is only a slightly larger enclosure. The SB2001 is the recommended companion subwoofer for all larger-format KF Series systems and has also found a home in many club applications with other series as well. Hardware to create vertical arrays of up to 8 modules (at 10:1 design factor) is also available.

EAW: Eastern Acoustic Works