Sound designer Brian Ronan chose a self-powered system from Meyer Sound to provide even coverage for Broadway musical Grey Gardens at the Walter Kerr Theater, which has 975 seats.
“This show has a very old-school musical feel,” says Ronan, who has more than 20 years experience working in New York City’s theater scene. “There isn’t a lot of spectacle. No more than eight singers are onstage at any particular time, and we have a nine-piece orchestra in a wide, shallow pit. With such a small ensemble, I didn’t want to overwhelm or overpower the audience with sheer volume. Meyer loudspeakers have a very smooth, steady response and sound that are quite pleasing to the ear. That works extremely well for this type of application.”
Ronan chose a system based around nine UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers and 15 MM-4 miniature wide-range loudspeakers evenly distributed throughout the house, with two USW-1P compact subwoofers covering low-end duties. One legacy, unpowered UM-1 narrow coverage stage monitor centered above the stage handles downfill, while four UM-1 cabinets provide onstage monitoring for the vocalists.
The Kerr Theatre’s superior acoustics helped simplify the tuning process. “The only challenges were a few odd dimensions—the wraparound proscenium and a rather high, shallow balcony,” says Ronan. “We had to do a little EQ in the rear and in a couple of other zones, but for the most part, we were able to run a lot of the system flat.”