Electro-Voice upgrade pays off for Soaring Eagle Casino
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America’s gaming industry has long recognized the value of live entertainment in drawing guests to its properties. And, as production values continue to rise throughout the entertainment industry, venues at casinos and resorts are holding their own with upgrades to their technical systems. A case in point is the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort near Mt. Pleasant in central Michigan. Owned by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, the resort includes a 3,285-seat concert hall, currently the sixth-largest auditorium in Michigan, that hosts a diverse selection of acts including Alice in Chains, Bill Cosby, Journey, and American Idol Live. Opened in 1998, the hall has been equipped with an Electro-Voice line array sound system since 2008, and now features an expanded configuration with new outfills, additional subwoofers, upgraded front fills, and improved processing.
At approximately 150 feet deep by 250 feet wide, the Soaring Eagle concert hall requires broad horizontal coverage to serve side seating areas. “The room is acoustically sound,” says production manager Henry Kubin, “but the challenge has always been to get even coverage.” The 2008 upgrade to Electro-Voice was a big step in the right direction. Xvls line array elements were chosen for the mains and flown in left/right hangs of six per side. Kubin likes the versatility of this X-Line loudspeaker. “The Xvls is a good fit for the variety of different types of groups who play in our facility,” he says. “The 15s used in these cabinets deliver the punch required for today’s touring group."As originally configured, the system also included eight Electro-Voice XLD281 three-way compact line array elements, used as outfill speakers, as well as four Electro-Voice Xsub dual-18-inch subwoofers ground-stacked on each side and eight Electro-Voice QRx series cabinets for front fill. In recent years, Kubin says, there’s been a desire among some touring acts for higher sound pressure levels, “so it was time to add loudspeakers to accommodate those groups.”
One aspect of the upgrade was to provide more low-end punch for bass-heavy acts. “We now have eight subs per side,” Kubin says. “The Xsub is a tight box with excellent low end. It delivers the punch needed for the many types of acts we host. Our original Xsubs do not have a fly package so I decided that it would be good to also have flown subs. So the four flown subs per side are new, and now there’s a choice to use flown subs only, ground subs only, or both.”
Another goal was to deliver greater power to the seating on the far sides of the stage. That was accomplished by replacing the four XLD outfills on each side with six XLC127DVX on each side that are flown offstage of the Xlvs arrays. “The XLCs handle the higher sound pressure levels we need,” Kubin says. Six of the eight original XLDs now serve as front-center fills (two are kept as spares), fed via an Electro-Voice Dx46 two-in/six-out FIR-Drive sound system processor. “The processor has a single-box tuning for the XLDs so they work great for front fill,” Kubin says.
Three additional Dx46s are used for the mains, subs, and out-fills. “We had a different brand of processor before,” Kubin says, “so the Dx46s are all new to this system. They make a significant change in the sound; it’s audibly better. Stu Schatz of EV’s technical support department set them up with the recommended settings for our loudspeakers, and he did a terrific job of tuning the system.”
With the upgrade now complete, the Soaring Eagle concert hall sounds better than ever, ready for a steady stream of acts from across the spectrum. “We completed the install in April,” Kubin says. “Since then we’ve hosted artists like Boyz II Men, Styx, Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio, Vince Gill, Herman’s Hermits, and Staind, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback. Some engineers are skeptical about any brand other than what they’re used to, but they can’t argue with the performance of this system.”