Davos’ Vaillant Arena upgraded with EAW acoustics

Switzerland: The city of Davos, high up in the Swiss mountains, is not only famous for hosting the World Economic Forum (WEF) but is also one of the most popular winter sports resorts in Europe. Right in the centre of the city the Vaillant Arena is among the most beautiful hockey stadiums in the world, and home of the famous Spengler Cup.

In 1980 the arena got its first roof (after 60 years in the open air) while over the years the audio system grew to become to a patchwork of dozens of different speakers in many different sizes, positioned in all possible corners of the roof and truss. However, in 2009 the local audio company Phil’s Concert and Showtechnique GmbH was hired to plan a brand new system, based around EAW components, which would replace the old hybrid.

Due to aesthetic reasons and the presence of the obligatory video cube, a central cluster was out of the question. Different decentralized solutions were proposed, but various simulations suggested that the EAW JFL210 compact line array system would be most suitable for the main audio distribution.

To maximise coverage, the system was designed around some 42 speakers set in 12 clusters — ranging from two elements in the corners to six elements for the big north stand, mounted around the ice-field. The internal array hardware and fly-points of the EAW system turned the installation into an economical, cost-effective solution. Each JFL210 is driven full range by its own amp channel using the internal crossover.

The ice-field itself is covered by a further four EAW MK2396 full-range trapezoidal speakers, which have been integrated in the lighting system.

It was part of the planners’ remit to deliver a discreet, unobtrusive audio system — and they have executed this brilliantly. This became obvious when the owners came to inspect the progress in the stadium and asked when the speakers would be installed — to learn that they already were!

The setting-up and tuning of the whole system was undertaken by Samuel Wild from Dr. W.A. Günther AudioSystems AG (distributor for the amplifiers and DSPs), Harry Horlacher from Swiss EAW representative GoWild AG and Phil Benesch, owner of Phil’s Concert & Showtechnique. After a few room corrections and level settings, the measurements and ears verified the even distribution and sonic qualities of the EAW speakers.

The system quickly proved its capabilities in the Spengler Cup and 2010-11 hockey season, when the stadium’s famous home team, HC Davos, won its 30th national title.

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