ST. LOUIS, MO, JULY 23, 2015 — When The Muny, America’s largest and oldest outdoor musical theater, kicked off its 97th season, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, celebrated a decade as the beloved venue’s AV equipment and services provider with a complete audio overhaul and custom upgrade.
A St. Louis tradition since 1918, The Muny produces all its musicals in the summer season and operates every year from mid-June to mid-August. During the winter, a full-time staff of less than 20 people prepare for the approaching summer season. The summer staff expands to include more than 500 people in various positions. The outdoor amphitheater seats 11,000 people, with approximately 1,500 free seats in the last nine rows available on a first-come, first-served basis.
New this season was the addition of Tony Award®-winning Sound Designer John Shivers, who along with his Co-Designers Hugh Sweeney and David Patridge, was instrumental in bringing new equipment to the venue. “With 11,000 seats, all outdoors with no roof or walls, everything is exposed to the elements,” says Shivers. “Weather is very hard on equipment so we needed to make sure that what we selected was very robust. We took a big departure from what had been used for several years. Working with Masque Sound was a major benefit, especially because they have been providing equipment to the venue for the past 10 years.”
In choosing the PA system, Shivers decided to use Meyer Sound’s LYON linear line array loudspeaker since the venue required much more coverage than a typical Broadway show. “I heard the LYONs previously and knew they would be a good choice for the far field coverage,” adds Shivers. “Meyer Sound had been out to see the venue and agreed the LYON would be a good match. Masque Sound purchased the new speakers for us and they sound great. We have received a lot of compliments about the sound; it’s a noticeable difference to everyone from what they have had in the past.”
The self-powered LYON linear line array loudspeaker is a member of Meyer Sound’s LEO family of linear loudspeakers, designed to reproduce audio faithfully with tremendous power and clarity, without coloring the sound, even when pushed to the limit. LYON delivers the same headroom and precision as the acclaimed LEO-M™ with the same cutting-edge technology housed in a lighter and more compact cabinet. Optimized rigging and self-powered configuration streamlines both setup and breakdown for LYON systems. LYON is ideal for medium- to large-scale array applications that do not require the extreme long-throw capability of LEO-M.
"With the LEO system, we have shown how a system that stays linear across all frequencies and at very high sound levels can provide a whole new listening experience for everything from the New York Philharmonic to Bassnectar," says John Meyer, Meyer Sound's CEO and co-founder. "By combining LEO's high level of linearity with a more flexible package, LYON is opening up many more opportunities for listeners to experience the performance advantages of a linear system."
In addition to the LYON line arrays that were used for the far field, Masque Sound provided Meyer Sound M’elodie line arrays for the near field, Meyer Sound CQ1s were used to fill the mid area as well as its UPA-1Ps to fill in the near field and center. Additionally, 14 d&B audiotechnik EO loudspeakers were used for front fill. Masque Sound also supplied a DiGiCo SD7 Live Digital Console, DPA 4066 microphones for the actors as well as a selection of instrument microphones from Shure, Neumann and DPA. A 48-channel wireless package from Sennheiser, including the 9000 Series and 5212/5012, was also supplied by Masque Sound.
“Masque Sound was great in providing us the equipment, support and additional speaker coverage we needed for this huge venue,” says Shivers. “It was great that Gary Stocker from Masque Sound came out for an on-site visit, as he really knows the idiosyncrasies of this venue. He made modifications to the DiGiCo console, including some additional fans, to prevent it from overheating in the sun.”
Additional system upgrades included the installation of a fiber optic infrastructure, not only to accommodate the SD7 but to also future-proof the venue. The bandwidth of fiber optic is far greater then CAT5, and according to Shivers, just made sense.
“In addition to the great collaboration we had with Masque Sound, our two mixers Mitch Tracy and Lucas Indelicato, do a wonderful job night in and night out,” adds Shivers. “We also have to give kudos to the backstage audio crew who handle the microphones and orchestra pit. They have the unenviable task of striking the pit every night and making sure the mics are working and in good positions. These latest audio equipment and fiber updates really set up The Muny for success, this season and into the future.”
My Fair Lady was the first of seven shows this summer at The Muny. Hairspray, Holiday Inn, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Into The Woods, Beauty and the Beast and Oklahoma! round out the rest of the summer’s scheduled plays.
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is led by President Stephanie Hansen and the firm’s third generation owner, Geoff Shearing. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies,” “Once” and “Kinky Boots” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.