Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa recently served as the backdrop for Northern Lights, a free outdoor sound and light show that brings to life key figures, events, and achievements from Canadian history. To provide an immersive surround experience, a uniquely designed, 9.1 Meyer Sound LYON linear sound reinforcement system was deployed to deliver narration, sound effects, and a powerful score supporting spectacular images projected against the 30-story-high facade of the Centre Block and Peace Tower.
"LYON is light, small, efficient, and performs beautifully," reports Jean-Sébastien Coté of NEO6, who co-designed the system with colleague André Biron. "For Northern Lights we need lots of throw as the audience is sometimes far away, and the center channel, mostly used for voiceover, has to cover a wide area."
The new LYON-based system is built on a system design for Mosaika, a previous show in the same location that featured M3D line array and JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers.
"With a lot of spoken word content, intelligibility is even more critical than with the former system," says Biron, who designed playback, routing, and synchronization for Northern Lights. "This is a very popular event, and I'm happy with the new sound system design."
The system's directionality is also a benefit, according to Pierre Renaud, senior technical director for the Department of Canadian Heritage's Capital Experience project. "Parliament Hill is a large, square, open space surrounded by tall buildings," says Renaud. "Slap back has always been a concern with amplified programs. The ability to steer the program material enables us to maximize intelligibility."
The system features five LYON-W wide-coverage loudspeakers, with three for the center channel and one-each for left and right surround channels. Three M3D-Sub directional subwoofers are placed behind the center channel, two-each M3D loudspeakers deliver left and right channels, one-each JM-1P loudspeaker delivers far left and right channels, and four, center-positioned M1D line array loudspeakers are divided into left and right channels. A Galileo Calisto loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 408 processors and one Galileo Calisto 616 array processor provides system drive and alignment.
Hidden during the day, the entire system was deployed via an automated hydraulic platform each night. Quebec-based NEO6 provided technical direction, integration, and programming, along with media servers and other equipment. Marc Ouellette was the audio composer.
Presented by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Northern Lights runs every summer through 2019.