After more than three years of playing to sellout houses throughout the United Kingdom, North America and Korea, a new production of the musical Miss Saigon opened in Australia. Created under the auspices of British impresario Cameron Mackintosh, the Australian tour has been scaled back from its original large-scale format to accommodate a wider range of theaters, but no compromises have been made in cutting-edge visual techniques or high-impact, immersive sound. To deliver the utmost in audio coverage and quality with a smaller footprint than previous productions, sound designer Peter Grubb (pictured), a director of System Sound Pty Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, modified his previous design for the Korean production to a configuration incorporating eight self-powered M’elodie™ ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers.
“We started out in Australia at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, which is a difficult room with very low balconies,” says Grubb. “I found that the M’elodies were perfect for spreading the sound evenly underneath, and also the extended range meant that I could use them for both orchestra and vocals. Moreover, I was impressed by how smooth the upper frequencies of the vocal spectrum sounded and how little EQ was required.”
System Sound managing director John Scandrett finds that M’elodie complements his company’s inventory of M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeakers, 16 of which are deployed on this show. “I love the M1Ds, but the M’elodies certainly have serious musical clout,” says Scandrett. “Their tight coverage pattern control gives us an excellent direct-to-reverberant ratio on the longer throw, so they can shoot the 25-plus meters to the rear of the house and carry the vocal sound all the way there. And M’elodie is a good size for us as it eliminates sight line problems.”
The Australian system is built around two M’elodie arrays comprising four cabinets per side, which cover the orchestra stalls, and four arrays of four M1D cabinets that deliver vocal coverage to the theater’s center and balcony areas. The system also uses five UPJ-1P compact VariO™ loudspeakers for vocal imaging, four 650-P high-power subwoofers and three MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers for effects. Four UPA-1P compact wide-coverage and 10 UPM-1P ultracompact wide-coverage loudspeakers supply fill, effects and stage foldback.
To keep the system aligned and fine-tuned, Grubb relies on a Galileo™ loudspeaker-management system and the SIM® 3 audio analyzer. Other key elements of the show’s audio system include a Cadac J-Type console and 27 Sennheiser wireless microphones.
For additional information, visit Meyer Sound online at www.meyersound.com. For more information on System Sound Pty Ltd., visit www.systemsound.com.au/. For additional touring news, visit mixonline.com/live/tourprofiles/.