Theatrical audio specialist Pascal Van Strydonck, head of audio and show sound designer at Wynn Las Vegas' brand-new Aqua Theatre, found that the 2,087-seat, in-the-round theater’s acoustics had changed since he had originally designed the show and addressed acoustics. Fronted by a Yamaha DM2000 digital console, the house P.A.—a 5.1 surround, 360-degree, six-zone system by Meyer Sound—was already ordered and installed, but architectural and rigging changes had significantly affected its performance.
Van Strydonck decided that comprehensive acoustic measurement and tuning were in order for the theater. "The quality of the P.A. is impeccable," clarifies Van Strydonck. "But unfortunately, the cabinet types were chosen for a specific design and it wasn't really covering everything. We needed 80x100 degrees of coverage and got 40x35 degrees of coverage.
"It's an extremely special place," he explains. The venue, which features a parabolic dome, an opposing parabolic floor and a 27-foot deep, million-gallon pool at its center, featured "interesting acoustic aspects [which] are the two parabolic structures facing each other. The seating area isn't just a straight incline; it's actually curved. Add in all the water and humidity, and it's a very challenging acoustic environment."
Needing a practical way to measure the theater during rehearsals and full audience performances, Van Strydonck, with the assistance of another one of the Wynn's audio experts, Steve Weiss, used SIA Smaart sound analysis software and a Lectrosonics TM400 wireless test and measurement system. "With a 360-degree theater, hauling cable was really a pain," Van Strydonck explains of his wireless test route. "Doing so made measurements an extremely long process, even though the original idea was to measure one section, then replicate the findings and values in each of the other five sections.
"I was really amazed by the Lectrosonics system. It's well-made. It has a no-nonsense operation. It's affordable, and Lectrosonics service is just beautiful. In all my time working with the company, there's not been one install that I've done when they haven't volunteered to come over and see what's happening. Buying Lectrosonics is like buying better support."
Of "Le Reve—The Show," Van Strydonck says, "Platform-lift elevators constantly break the surface of the water, thus changing the reflective nature of the theater throughout the show. That changes my reflection path, while humidity also changes rapidly. We have huge fountain effects and our mist system is probably the biggest ever devised. While testing during a performance, I was able to hang onto the mic, walk around the venue, sit in different seats and test in the midst of all these factors. I used a small pistol-grip microphone with the TM400 and pointed it at the P.A. [That] allowed us to examine the differences between an empty and full room. Those measurements were only possible with a wireless measurement system like the TM400."
For more information, please go to www.lectrosonics.com.