A four-panel-per-side Tectonic Audio Labs PL-12 system provided house sound reinforcement at the Olympia Theater in Miami for this year’s flagship PBS Fall Arts concert special, Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson, which will air on PBS stations on Friday, October 9.
Tectonic reports that the company first met with producer/arranger/composer/bandleader Tony Succar of Mixtura Productions, founder of the Unity Project, at Winter NAMM 2015 and found a common goal of artistic and sonic fidelity. For Unity’s Universal Music Group album release party last spring, Tectonic provided its smallest speaker system, a pair of PL-11 half-panels and subs. “Our CD release party was a slam dunk in terms of sound,” says Succar.
With a successful debut show for both parties, Succar asked Tectonic to provide speakers for Unity’s Fall Arts Festival PBS live concert special at the historic Olympia Theater in Miami.
“In order to cover a 1,200-seat theater with a very high balcony, while still maintaining sight lines for cameras, we decided to place four full-panel PL-12s per side,” explains Tectonic system engineer Chris Wilson. “There was some give and take to find the right solution, and an emphasis on the orchestra level seats versus the balcony, which was devoted to a large camera jib and overflow seating.”
The final loudspeaker solution was to place the four-panel hangs at extreme stage left and right on 25-foot lifts from the floor. Two RCF TT series dual 18-inch subs per side provided plenty of low-end support.
“Even though emphasis was placed on covering the orchestra level before the balcony, we were committed to giving every seat the same audio experience,” says Scott Garside, Tectonic’s marketing director. “Thanks to our panels’ 165-degree horizontal and vertical coverage in the vocal and instrumental range, we were able to set a fairly extreme angle for the top panels per side leaning back 7 degrees from the main hang to hit the balcony, and then continued with panels two through four to cover the sloping main level with a more standard 0- to 3-degree curve.
“Pre-production meetings were perhaps unique for the Olympia Theater staff as we explained our requirements for the event”, adds Garside. “We told production leads that we would be off-loading from a 14-foot U-Haul truck and needed a single 110-volt, 20A circuit per side to power the Tectonic panels, plus some power for the subs.”
“This is definitely a very different audio system than anything I have seen before,” says Olympia Theater’s Technical Director, Isaac Taylor. “Obviously the first thing you notice is the form factor, and we were doubtful. We brought it in and started tuning it to the room. My mind was blown right away and I am happy to say that I was proven wrong. I am floored with live sound, playback audio, anything coming from this system. It’s definitely beyond anything I’ve seen or heard on the market. Everybody else is probably three or four steps behind it. My house system could never do this.”
“Tectonic has truly changed the game in terms of live sound, and I’m so grateful that we are working together,” says Succar. “Every engineer in every venue we perform, whenever they experience these speakers, is blown away. It’s hard to go back after you’ve worked with Tectonic!”
Tectonic states that after the show, Tectonic won a $1 bet with the Olympia Theater staff by having the entire FOH panel speaker system and amps up and running in 45 minutes.
For more information, visit www.tectonicaudiolabs.com, www.olympiatheater.org and www.pbs.org/arts/pbs-arts-festival/2015/unity-latin-tribute-michael-jackson.