Live Sound

Sound System for Mirage The Volcano

Read Mix Profiles on Sound for Las Vegas Mirage's Volcano Exhibit 2/01/2009 7:00 AM Eastern

To celebrate the multi-million-dollar renovation of the Mirage's The Volcano (with state-of-the-art pyrotechnics), percussionists Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain created an audio track aided by a new Meyer Sound system. Commenting on scoring the track, Hart says, “You wake up one morning and are given the task to birth a full-blown volcano. From a whisper to a volcanic fury, the Meyer Sound system packs a sonic punch that brings The Volcano to life.”

Overseeing the project was Sun Valley, Calif.-based design firm WET, working with Acoustic Dimensions and systems installer Technology West Group. “In most sound designs, we're working with a stationary audience and we surround them with loudspeakers. In this case, the audience surrounds the speakers and they move around freely,” explains Ryan Knox of Acoustic Dimensions. Onlookers can view The Volcano from areas on either side of the water — one in front of the hotel and the other on The Strip — so the system uses multiple point sources. It features a total of 25 MILO line array loudspeakers (painted green to match the foliage), clustered in small stacks of two, three or four boxes placed throughout the lagoon. Each stack has its own 700-HP subwoofer, along with several others on the island. A Matrix3 audio show control system allows the image of the music to be manipulated over 180 degrees. Signal processing is handled by a Galileo loudspeaker-management system.

“The music travels over a large reflective pool of water, which requires a fair amount of power,” adds Brad Cornish of Technology West Group. “That water is being blasted by jets of flame. Between that and the natural desert heat, we've essentially created a microclimate, giving us an exceptionally high level of humidity to pass sound through. It calls for a lot of power and some rather unique and meticulous system tuning.”