Toronto's Air Canada Centre Goes Digital

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | July, 2010 - Situated in Canada's largest city, Toronto, Ontario, the Air Canada Centre is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team whose die-hard fans are renowned in the NHL for their devotion to their team. Air Canada Centre also hosts the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball team, and the Toronto Rock lacrosse team.

Located close to the waterfront of Lake Ontario, the building was constructed in 1999 to replace the historical Maple Leaf Gardens. It features a seating capacity of just under 20,000 for concert events, many of which take place each year as major touring artists frequently make Toronto a stop on their tour.

The newly built Maple Leaf Square features a westward extension of the building, and the construction of two condominium towers, office space, retail outlets and a large, three-story sports bar, all attached to the main structure via a sky bridge.

With most hockey games being sell-outs, the venue created an outdoor tailgate area for fans to watch the action inside the venue without purchasing a ticket. The tailgate area has a large, three-story LED screen that keeps fans apprised of what's going on before, during and after games. Audio coverage for the square is handled by four Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC Live loudspeakers, incorporated into the frame of the LED screen to preserve the building's exterior aesthetic.

The IC Live system includes two stacked loudspeakers per side, placed behind metal grating and mounted on custom bracket hardware was built by Westbury National Show Systems (WNSS), the audio contractor for the project.

Located in Toronto, WNSS (www.westbury.com) is a full service company, providing production, design and installation services. The team included John Coniglio, Senior Project Sales; Guy Wallace, Lead Designer; Andy Foord, Technical Support/System Designer; and David Van Veldhuisen, Project Manager. On-site audio personnel includes Dwayne Brown, Manager Venue Services; and Courtney Ross, Lead Audio Engineer for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

Renkus-Heinz IC Live technology uses digital beam steering, allowing users to easily focus loudspeaker output directly on the audience. The company's computer software lets users define the opening angles for as many as four sonic beams from each IC Live array module (up to eight beams when stacked). Multi-channel class D amplification is used to control each individual array element.

The digitally-steerable IC Live loudspeakers were also an ideal size to fit in the 10-inch space allotted, explains Courtney Ross, who has worked at the venue since its opening. "With the building designers wanting the loudspeakers to be integrated into the building for aesthetic reasons, we were very limited by what we could choose. The Renkus-Heinz system fits the aesthetic design requirements, and lets us actually steer where we want the sound to go. If you want to hit people right in front of the building, you can, and if you want to aim one 200 feet down the street, you can do that too. They're really that directional. It's unbelievable. You don't even hear pockets of audio, it's totally seamless."

The exterior system is connected to the building's main control room via BSS Cobranet and Renkus-Heinz RHAON control software. "We're all about networking with our new system, so it was natural that we wanted to be able to connect the tailgate system to the control room," continues Ross. "I can always keep an eye on it to see what it's doing."