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Case Study: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

The sound of Toronto Raptors hustling down the basketball court or Toronto Maple Leafs players checking the opponents into the boards have been amplified in an innovative way that utilizes beam capturing microphones.

The Toronto arena was the first in the world to install an innovative new technology into the massive 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 to provide additional genuine game atmosphere for fans.

Led by Westbury National, one of Canada’s largest professional audio-visual integration and full-service event production companies, and SFM, a leading Canadian product distributor and provider of customized AV solutions, the original plan was to install Shure shotgun microphones. While the shotgun microphones provided great sound, 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 just not feasible.

Instead the team utilized Shure’s Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone — a microphone originally designed for office applications. This microphone features directional beam arrays to capture sound from diverse sources. The recording patterns can be customized with software and remotely adjusted to fit the specific needs of the venue. Two Shure MXA910s are now installed on the bottom of the giant scoreboard hanging over the playing surface.

Fans watching from suites aren’t as close to the playing surface, so are sometimes unable to hear the gameplay sounds naturally. This solution provides genuine gameplay audio right into the speakers of the suites.

The microphone technology also helps reject non-essential sounds. For example, the sounds of a crowd clapping on a microphone may detract from the sounds on the court or ice, so the microphones are set to only capture the key sounds from game action, like the puck hitting the post or the basketball players and coaches calling plays.

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.

Shure has been providing quality audio solutions for 94 years, including involvement major sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Cup and Olympics. However, this is the first time the new MXA910 microphone array has been integrated into a professional sports arena.

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