Tackling Audio in a Big Tent: Meyer Sound LYON Immerses VIPs at University of Oregon Fundraiser

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The University of Oregon recently kicked off its $2 billion fundraising campaign with an AV spectacular under a massive tent, widely known to be a difficult setting to achieve quality sound. With the power and clarity of a Meyer Sound LYON™ linear sound reinforcement system, the audio team overcame the event’s technical complexities and offered a sonic experience that was both clear and immersive.

Even coverage is generally difficult to achieve in a tent due to its imbalanced effects on different frequencies. “The acoustic challenges of a big tent were further complicated in this case because the stage was placed in the center splitting up the audience, with video screens on all sides,” says sound designer Don Ross. “Also, there was no truss work over the stage to fly arrays, so we had to cover over 100 feet from the stage in both directions with ground-stacked speakers.”

George Relles Sound of Eugene, Ore. provided sound design support using the Meyer Sound MAPP Online Pro® acoustical prediction program. He determined that the best solution for the 260-by-150-foot tent was four arrays of one LYON-W wide-coverage and three LYON-M main line array loudspeakers each. Two 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements provided low end, with four UPM-1P loudspeakers for on-stage foldback. System drive and optimization was provided by a Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system with one Galileo Callisto 616 array processor.

The result was exceptional audio for all event programs, which included live music, speeches, and video soundtracks showcasing high-impact effects created by Ross. “Sonically as well as visually, the whole experience was fantastic,” says Michael Hull of AHM Brands, executive producer of the event on behalf of the university’s Office of Development. “Given all the complexities, we couldn’t have been happier. The sound from LYON was flawless, and fully contributed to the impact of the 360-degree immersive environment. Afterwards, we received a number of compliments on quality and clarity of the audio program.”

Ross adds: “The sound of LYON was very impressive. Speech articulation was excellent, and the coverage was great. Also, the wide-dispersion LYON-W loudspeakers on the bottom eliminated the need for front fills. And by reversing the polarity of the two opposing systems, we created an effective null on the stage that prevented feedback problems.”

For the post-program cocktail hour, a performance by jazz vocalist Halie Loren was reinforced by two UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers, one 700-HP subwoofer, eight MJF-210 stage monitors, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor. Outside the tent, a 150-foot long video projection screen greeted the VIPs as they walked in, with audio accompaniment by two UPJunior™ VariO™ loudspeakers.

Other equipment provided by Relles included Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1 digital consoles at the main and cocktail stages, respectively; Sennheiser and Shure wireless microphone systems equipped with DPA d:facto II, Neumann KMS 105, and Shure KSM9 handheld capsules; and DPA d:fine 4066 headset microphones.