St. Louis, MO (October 4, 2021) — Live theater is a tradition that goes back millennia, and in the case of The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, more than a century. This past summer saw the venerable venue return for its 103rd season in St. Louis, as it presented five shows—Smokey Joe’s Café, The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, On Your Feet! and Chicago—with the help of Masque Sound.
With the support of the City of St. Louis Health Department, The Muny’s 2021 season operated at full capacity, including the 1,500 free seats available for each performance on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sound designers John Shivers and David Patridge worked with Masque Sound throughout the season. “Masque Sound graciously added equipment that we asked for from previous seasons and we were able to update the system in a number of ways,” says Patridge. “We continued our advancement of using audio over IP to improve upon the extensive upgrades that were made at The Muny in 2019. We upgraded the wireless radio system by moving to the Sennheiser EM3732-II high-end receiver with up to 184 MHz switching bandwidth. That was a nice sonic upgrade and from a software perspective, the EM3732-IIs are so much nimbler.”
The duo also employed software monitoring tools from Wavetool for the first time at The Muny this season. “Most of our workflow was now Dante, so we used the Wavetool software to monitor our digital signal path,” adds Patridge. “We took the AES signals out of the receivers and converted them to Dante using Focusrite RedNet boxes. We went from AES to Dante with the radios, and then put them into the network. Everything else, I/O-wise, was either connected to the network of the DiGiCo console or a Dante rack, like the Yamaha Rio. The beauty of this set-up is that we don’t have any big, huge cable bundles anymore.”
For the console, Masque Sound provided a DiGiCo SD7T with the Quantum engine upgrade. According to Patridge, “The Q7 was available, and we were thrilled to be able to upgrade and use it. This new console allowed us to expand the flexibility of the monitoring system for the orchestra. We had more channels available to us, with 160 channels in the Quantum engine desk and 55 auxes.”
One component of the equipment package that remained the same from 2019 was the PA. “We used the same Meyer Sound LYON and LEOPARD PA system, as it delivers a great sound. With the reconstruction from 2019, the main PA now flies higher and from a single left/right position so that the sound in the house is more evenly distributed. It also allowed us to have a center sub position, which really helped to achieve comprehensive low-end coverage.”
Since The Muny employed smaller orchestras this year, the microphone package provided by Masque Sound may have been smaller, but still got the job done. Patridge noted, “This year, we had 21 Neumann KM 140’s along with several Neumann U89’s, U87’s and Radial direct boxes.”
Additional new equipment for this season, also provided by Masque Sound, was an Allen & Heath’s AHM-64 Audio Matrix Processor and an Eventide H9000 Harmonizer. The AHM-64 allowed for speaker processing and time management over Dante, while the Eventide H9000 delivered signal processing.