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EAW On The Big Stage

EAW Introduces Anya Live Sound Reinforcement System

Introducing an all-new P.A. system—not just an upgrade or a new box—is no small feat, even for a sound reinforcement company with as storied a lineage as EAW. After years of R&D, the system has to be heard by customers in real-world situations. Trade shows are good for marketing and sales, but you can’t just fly a line array, and expect critical evaluation, anywhere you like.

Late last spring, Rat Sound of Los Angeles debuted a 16-box EAW Anya rig at the Gobi Tent at Coachella, later taking delivery of the first 40 modules. Since then, the system, in one configuration or another, has been out for eight events, the latest being the largest at Mandalay Bay’s Event Center for the Fox broadcast of the fourth annual American Country Awards.

Production company ATK Audiotek, led on-site by VP and production mixer Mikael Stewart deployed the Rat rig in two side hangs, each a 10-6-4 stepped profile, wrapped front to side, for the 12,000-seat venue. Each of the trapezoidal modules contains 22 transducers, 22 amplifier channels of DSP and Dante networking capability. The “new” in the all-new system lies primarily in the precision of variable system coverage, horizontally and vertically, through a technology the company calls Adaptive Performance.

Essentially, Adaptive Performance allows an Anya array to rapidly generate virtually any three-dimensional wavefront surface and simultaneously optimize the system frequency response to match the optimal requirements of any venue. The precision with which a system can be adapted, not just horizontally but vertically, is remarkable. ATK’s Stewart mixed FOH production for the ACAs at a DiGiCo SD5. Ron Reaves, who mixes house sound for the Grammys, the Latin Grammys (also at Mandalay Bay this year) and countless other large-scale TV events, handled the music, also at an SD5.

“I really enjoyed mixing on the Anya system,” Reaves says. “It’s a very fast, responsive, and accurate system that was very quick and easy to tune once it was configured. In addition to that, the design and technology involved in it is amazing to me. At television shows, it’s not unusual to change the trim height of the P.A. a couple of times before everyone is happy from a scenic standpoint. With the Anya, instead of bringing the P.A. down to the floor and re-angling it, we were able to configure just in the software and instantly change our coveage pattern!”

One of the chief benefits espoused by the company is that you can hang the basic rig, then shoot the room and optimize through the system’s Resolution 2 software. The system is able to adapt without the need of a separate side hang or outfills, even if the stage or seating configuration changes after flying the rig. In one of the early deployments, the stage was moved back 12 feet, seats were added up front, and the rig was simply recalibrated, not taken down and re-hung. It worked flawlessly without adding front-fills.

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