The Centre Bell in Montreal, home to the NHL’s Canadiens franchise in addition to hosting a range of live events, has been equipped with a new house sound reinforcement system headed up by Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) loudspeakers joined by complementary components from the company.
The venue has been reconfigured, frequently, into one of six different seating formats — ranging from a 2,000-seat amphitheater to a 21,000-seat full-capacity NHL arena. EAW was chosen by way of a competitive bidding process commissioned by Jesse Leveillé, A1 tech at the Centre Bell. The new system includes Anna loudspeakers and Otto subwoofers from the ADAPTive line, along with MKD1096 loudspeakers and UXA4410 amplifiers.
Leveillé’s introduction to EAW’s ADAPTive series was during a sold-out concert at the Centre Bell for Tom Petty’s 40th anniversary tour in 2017. “EAW was brought in for the show and the legendary front of house engineer Robert Scovill was mixing,” he says. “Scovill is a master behind the console and what we were hearing was absolutely fantastic. The EAW kit was really impressive, especially in terms of its steering capabilities, sound quality and coverage. We knew it would be a great fit for us.”
Once the Leveillé-led project committee, which included design and consulting ﬁrm Trizart Alliance, selected EAW, the system was procured through SFM in Canada, and the job of installing the system was the responsibility of integration company, Solotech. The project was broken into two phases so that the space could remain operational throughout the upgrade. The first phase involved the installation of 22 MKD1096 loudspeakers to cover the upper bowl with four additional MKDs to cover the ice, along with seven UXA4410 amps. The second phase was centered around covering the rest of the bowl, which involved a total of 96 Anna loudspeakers and 36 Otto subs.
Trizart Alliance, which continually maintains the ceiling grid, only had to reinforce the framing for the hoists to accommodate the weight of the Anna and Otto enclosures since the cabinets haveall amplification and processing onboard. Leveillé also found the size of the system to be advantageous. “The EAW system had a small footprint, which in my case was paramount because the new system had to fit within the existing ceiling walking grid to avoid completely reengineering and redesigning it,” Leveillé explains. “The footprint of the EAW boxes were perfect for our space, as they delivered the coverage and clarity we were looking for. One of the things I really like is its remote-control directivity, as I can easily and digitally reconfigure the coverage for full or half bowl events.”