- Andrew Keister
Partner, SCK Sound Design
A new permanent Meyer Sound LEO Family reinforcement system has been installed at New York City's Radio City Music Hall to support performances by the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, including this summer's New York Spectacular and the Christmas Spectacular slated for this upcoming holiday season.
"As the leading company in live entertainment, we are focused on delivering a theatrical experience at Radio City that is fresh, contemporary and unparalleled," says Larry Sedwick, senior vice president of production for the Madison Square Garden Company, which operates the iconic venue. "It's important to create a one-of-a-kind experience for our audiences no matter where they are seated in this 6,000-seat venue – the largest indoor theater in the world. Our latest sound system upgrades allow us to bring our productions to a whole new level and make our audiences feel even closer to the show."
The newly purchased Meyer Sound system, with main arrays of LYON loudspeakers concealed behind scrim in a false proscenium, is based on a nearly identical main system based on LYON arrays that was crafted by SCK Sound Design and first deployed for the 2014 Christmas Spectacular.
"The main PA had to go in a very specific location and be hidden from view," says Andrew Keister, a partner with Steve Canyon Kennedy in SCK Sound Design. "The spectaculars do projection mapping all over the front ceiling and false proscenium, which precludes use of large, flown arrays that would cast shadows. The LYONs, with their extraordinary power-to-size ratio, were a perfect fit and significantly out-performed the previous solution."
The main system used for the New York Spectacular, again with sound design by SCK, comprised left and right arrays of 16 each LYON line array loudspeakers, plus a center downfill array of eight LEOPARD line array loudspeakers. Ample bass support was supplied by 30 900-LFC low frequency control elements, deployed as 18 in a cardioid pattern on the side proscenium, six in a center cardioid and six on a rear truss. Eight additional 900-LFC elements were purchased for use with anticipated rock-style concerts.
The new system, supplied by PRG of New York with sale facilitated by Bob Rendon, also includes a Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with three Galileo Callisto 616 processors and six Galileo 616 processors. For immersive surround effects, this summer's New York Spectacular system also incorporated four arrays of eight each LEOPARD line array loudspeakers. "Most of these LEOPARDs were rentals," notes Keister, "as the requirements for surround systems will change from show to show."
The new system also incorporates a complete D-Mitri digital audio platform equipped with SpaceMap 3D panning and Wild Tracks multi-channel playback. "The power of the D-Mitri platform enabled us to program innovative, multi-dimensional effects that perfectly complement the video mapping," adds Keister. "The result is a truly immersive audio experience."
The Radio City Rockettes shows are mixed on a pair of DiGiCo SD7 digital consoles, with staff engineers Patrick Healey and Michael Jenkins handling the live orchestra, vocal, playback and supplementary sounds – including 80 channels of wireless dedicated to the special microphones built into the 80 Rockettes tap shoes.
A legendary tradition in American entertainment, the Radio City Rockettes have been performing at Radio City Music Hall since 1933. Located in Rockefeller Center and with art deco architecture designed by Edward Durrell Stone and Donald Deskey, Radio City Music Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.