Central Park SummerStage, a New York–based free performing arts festival, has attracted more than 5 million people to its annual three-month season of eclectic music, dance and spoken word events since it was established in 1986. This year, artists and audiences visiting SummerStage at the Rumsey Playfield site in New York’s Central Park enjoyed great sound quality, thanks to the addition of a 48-channel ATI Paragon II Production console at front of house.
Manhattan-based SIA Acoustics was the design and acoustical consultants for SummerStage. Company partner Steve Sockey, who handled some FOH mixing duties, explains that the console needed to meet several criteria for SummerStage. “This is a great console that offers many of the benefits that we would want in a festival situation,” comments Sockey. “With the previous setup, we never had enough outboard gear or enough compressors or gates to make everyone happy. People would become frustrated really quickly. All that is now gone. Now that we have 48 compressors and 48 gates, everybody is totally happy.”
The onboard dynamics of the Paragon II have helped Sockey and guest engineers optimize the sound within the city’s SPL limits. “The city has a very strict sound level requirement,” he elaborates. “In the past, it was difficult to get a mix that would fit into that pocket. The dynamics on the console allow us to make things fit right there, and the concerns over sound level violations have been minimized.”