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Guys and Dolls Swings with Meyer Sound

FOH Staff • International News • November 15, 2007

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — Revival theatre productions are usually a sure bet at the box office. The trick, of course, is to stay true to the original while incorporating fresh, new concepts. With this goal in mind, Sound Designers Chris Full and Terry Jardine of London’s Autograph Sound Recording, Ltd. set out to infuse new life into the UK tour of the classic musical Guys and Dolls

The touring production is a spin-off of the popular London West End revival that opened in June 2005. Revivals often have the advantage of technology that didn’t exist at the time of the original production, and Full and Jardine’s design is an example, incorporating an audio system from Meyer Sound.
Full knew that in order to put a new twist on an old standard, he would have to adjust the show’s signature sound. “The director (Michael Grandage), music department, and I agreed that, since the musical is so well-known, we should approach this tour as a new piece of theatre,” says Full. “This had a noticeable effect on the score, as we ended up with a very modern sound, but still retained the underpinnings of a classic big band. So, to reproduce the frequency range and SPL required, we needed a cabinet that could deal with a huge dynamic range.”
Full and Jardine’s design uses a collection of Meyer Sound loudspeaker models that are all classics in theatrical sound design. The system puts eight legacy, unpowered MSL-2A reinforcement loudspeakers around the proscenium, and up to nine UPA-2P compact narrow coverage loudspeakers for downfill in both the proscenium and FOH areas. Six UPM-1P ultracompact wide coverage loudspeakers provide frontill and reinforcement for the orchestra area.

Low frequencies in the proscenium area are handled by four USW-1P compact subwoofers, with two UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers and four MM-4 miniature wide-range loudspeakers directed at different zones of the stage to help the performers stay in sync with the orchestra.

As many as 26 UPM-1P loudspeakers provide delayed coverage for the rear sections of the larger houses, while sound effects playback is bolstered by three additional UPM-1P units that are placed according to the shape and properties of each individual hall.
Logistics also played a lead role in determining the loudspeaker design, “One of the major challenges of bringing this show on tour was addressing the extreme variations in auditoria we have in Britain,” says Full. “We see everything from concert platforms, to multipurpose venues that can seat well over 3,000, to very old theatres that invariably have little proscenium space for speakers. We needed a reasonably sized cabinet to fit all of those difficult proscenium positions. Having worked with the MSL-2As many times, I knew it was the most obvious choice for the job.”
Due to the hectic touring schedule, Full and team needed a system that they could efficiently set up, use and tear down. “We usually only had one day to put the system in and get it running,” says Full. “We needed something that was quick to put in, yet flexible enough to deal with different venues with ease. Working with the Meyer system gives us the confidence of knowing how the speakers will react in each venue, which means we can very quickly achieve the results we want without having to do a lot of EQ.”
“I’ve used Meyer products since I started doing sound design,” concludes Full. “I find them to be consistent and predictable. The sonic match between the speakers across all the ranges is excellent, so it’s very easy to pick a speaker suitable for your needs in any venue.”


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