The sounds of Toronto Raptors players hustling down the basketball court or Toronto Maple Leafs players checking the opponents into the boards have been amplified to a whole new level for fans at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Before the NBA Finals earlier this year, the arena was the first to install a new technology into the scoreboard hanging over the playing surface to better capture the sounds of the game. Those sounds are pumped into the Scotia Club with the potential for distribution to suites throughout the arena.
The original plan by Westbury National, one of Canada’s largest professional audio-visual integration and full-service event production companies, and SFM, a Canadian product distributor and provider of AV solutions, was to install Shure shotgun microphones for this application. However, the challenge was that once they were installed, getting 42 feet into the air to reach them on the scoreboard and adjust them to switch between basketball and hockey games was not feasible.
Attention then turned to mounting new Shure’s Microflex Advance MXA910 ceiling array microphones onto the scoreboard. Originally designed for office applications and equipped with directional beam arrays to capture sound from the right sources, the advantage of this type of microphone is that its recording patterns can be customized with software and remotely adjusted to fit the specific needs of the venue. Two Shure MXA 910s are now installed on the bottom of the giant scoreboard hanging over the playing surface.
“The MXA910s can be programmed to a variety of different configurations remotely with the touch of a button,” says Steve Svensson of Westbury National. “With the presets, we can maximize the right sounds based on the game situation to provide fans with the best audio experience possible.”
The mic technology also helps reject non-essential sounds. For example, the sounds of a crowd clapping on a mic may detract from the sounds on the court or ice, so the mics are set up to only capture the key sounds from game action, like the puck hitting the post or the basketball players and coaches calling plays.
This project marks the first time the new MXA910 has been integrated into a professional sports arena. “We’re proud to provide our fans with the best gameday experiences,” states Humza Teherany, chief technology & digital officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Making our suite guests feel closer to the action on the ice or court by providing the best sound possible is a major win for everyone.”
During the NBA Finals games at Scotiabank Arena, the audio from the Shure MXA910 was also being mixed in with the Raptors broadcast team to provide additional quality audio from the court to provide even more fans with a better game experience.
Note: SFM is the Shure distributor in Canada.