Scotiabank Arena – 200 Level Suites Immersive Audio

ProjectScotiabank Arena - 200 Level Suites Immersive AudioLocationToronto, CanadaArchitectBBB Toronto ONLighting DesignerWJHW Dallas USSInstallerBranch Audiovisual, CanadaSubmitted byBranch Audiovisual

In the realm of sports and entertainment, the atmosphere of being amidst the fervour of the game is unparalleled. Yet, those ensconced in the private suites of sports venues often encounter a peculiar dilemma: the luxury of exclusivity comes at the cost of feeling detached from the pulsating energy of the main arena. Addressing this conundrum, Branch Audiovisual (BAV) has innovatively bridged the gap between luxury and live action, introducing an avant-garde 360-degree immersive audio experience tailored for the 200-level suites at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leaf’s and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

This pioneering solution is a collaboration involving the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), BAV and Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WHJW). Together, they’ve conceptualized and executed a setup that virtually transports suite occupants directly into the heart of the arena’s excitement. The core of this audio marvel lies in its sophisticated components and meticulous programming.

Strategically placed Shure MXA910 microphones within the scoreboard area allows the team to capture specific areas of gameplay for both hockey and basketball games.
The audio is then processed through their centralized QSYS Digital Signal Processor (DSP), ensuring clarity and precision in sound transmission.

The key to the project is the TiMax SoundHub product. TiMax creates full-saturation immersive audio that allows for the creation of a two-dimensional multi-zone playing surface package, laying the groundwork for this immersive audio landscape. The BAV Integration team in conjunction with the TiMax built the program to enable audio to envelope suite occupants in a sound field that mimics being in the outdoor seating bowl.

Each suite is equipped with a mix of Renkus Heinz, 1Sound, and QSC speakers, each selected for their exceptional sound reproduction qualities.

This collaboration marks a milestone in enhancing audio experiences within enclosed arena spaces. It demonstrates how technology can be harnessed to bridge the sensory gap between luxury suite isolation and the raw, unfiltered joy of live sports and entertainment events.

For MLSE, this means offering their suite guests an unparalleled auditory experience that keeps them truly connected with the game’s heart-pounding action.

This project presented several challenges.
1.Complex Acoustic Environments:
Each suite presented a unique acoustic environment, influenced by its size, shape, and furnishings. This variability necessitated a tailored approach to programming and calibration to achieve optimal sound quality across all areas.
Solution: Leveraging the versatility of the TiMax SoundHub, the team conducted detailed acoustic analyses of each suite. By adjusting the sound imaging and spatialization parameters for the diverse speaker setups—combining Renkus Heinz, 1Sound, and QSC units—the team managed to create a consistent and immersive audio experience tailored to the specific acoustics of each suite.

2. Precision Timing and Coordination:
The synchronization of sounds captured by Shure MXA910 microphones with the playback system in each suite required precise timing avoiding any delay discrepancies.
Solution: Through programming within the TiMax platform, the team fine-tuned the audio delay settings to ensure real-time sound transmission. This effort ensured that the excitement of live events was conveyed instantaneously, preserving the authenticity of the immersive experience.

3. Customization Complexity:
The challenge was not just technical but also creative, requiring the programming of a multizone playing surface ‘package’ that could adapt to the dynamic nature of live sports and entertainment.
Solution: The team utilized the advanced capabilities of Soundhub to program complex, dynamic soundscapes that could change in response to the live action in the arena focusing on the realism of the immersive experience.

4. Stakeholder Collaboration:
Collaborating effectively with the diverse stakeholder group—including audio technicians, and arena management—was crucial. Ensuring that all parties’ expectations were met while adhering to technical feasibility was a balancing act.
Solution: Through regular meetings and demonstrations, the team effectively communicated the technical requirements and potential of the TiMax system, ensuring stakeholder buy-in and facilitating a collaborative approach to the project’s challenges.

Overcoming these challenges required a blend of technical expertise, creative vision, and collaborative effort. The result was a groundbreaking immersive audio experience that bridged the gap between the luxury of private suites and the electric atmosphere of the live arena, setting a new standard for sports and entertainment venues.

The innovative 360-degree immersive audio project at Scotiabank Arena stands as a beacon of creativity and technical ingenuity, making it a prime candidate for a MONDODR award. This project exemplifies how outside-the-box thinking and the ingenious utilization of off-the-shelf components can revolutionize the spectator experience in sports and entertainment venues. The core reasons for its nomination are its innovative approach, a custom solution tailored for the client, and the potential for global replication in similar venues.

Innovation and Creativity –
At the heart of this project lies a commitment to solving a common yet overlooked issue in luxury suite experiences. The team’s approach went beyond traditional audio solutions, creating an immersive soundscape that envelops suite guests in the very essence of the event. This was not a mere improvement on existing systems but a radical reimagining of how sound can bridge the gap between luxury and live excitement.

Customized Utilization of Off-The-Shelf Components –
What sets this project apart is the clever adaptation of readily available technology to craft a bespoke audio experience. By harnessing the power of Shure MXA910 microphones, QSYS DSP, and speakers from Renkus Heinz, 1Sound, and QSC, combined with the advanced capabilities of TiMax SoundHub, the team tailored a unique audio environment for each suite. This customization demonstrates a profound understanding of acoustics and digital signal processing, showcasing that with creativity, standard components can be elevated to deliver unparalleled sensory experiences.

Replicability and Global Impact –
This project is not just a one-off triumph but a scalable model that can revolutionize the spectator experience worldwide. Its success lays down a blueprint for how other venues can similarly enhance their suite offerings. The adaptability of the system ensures that it can be tailored to different architectural and acoustic conditions, making it a viable upgrade for hundreds of venues across the globe seeking to offer a more engaging and immersive spectator experience.

For these reasons, it stands as a deserving contender for a MONDO award, symbolizing excellence in innovation and its significant contribution to enhancing global venue experiences.