Mannarino—a veteran in the live sound business with over 30 years experience—has always been two steps ahead of the pack with a keen eye for innovation. To meet the needs of this very special engagement, he looked to Italian loudspeaker manufacturer K-array's revolutionary speaker technology, which delivers exquisite sound within an uncharacteristically small footprint. The sonic result was described by those in attendance as "breathtaking" and "incredible."
Livening Up Lincoln Center
The New Year's Eve Concert at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall featured the New York Philharmonic conducted by its new Music Director, Alan Gilbert, along with a special guest Thomas Hampson--one of the preeminent American baritones. From an audio perspective, there were two very distinct requirements: first, the sound had to be 'no compromise' and sonically spectacular for the 2,700-capacity venue. Second, the footprint of the speakers had to be discreet and non-intrusive to the visual production.
Though Mannarino had never used K-array speakers in a live broadcast situation before, he had been testing the Redline KR200S in his studio and was more than convinced that it would be able to deliver the goods. He decided to go with K-array's Redline KR200s—an ultra-light 4,000-watt system, perfect for concert halls, that puts out a continuous 127 dB of power.
KR200S: Transparent sound in a small footprint
The KR200S is a powered two way system designed for use with small to medium wavefront systems, in both mobile and install applications. Its ultra-slim satellite features a line array of two-inch high efficiency drive units with a neodymium magnet structure and suspensions—this ensures maximum linear excursion of sound with minimal noise. Since the K-array unit features a revolutionary design and is not housed in a traditional speaker cabinet, it delivers a truly natural sound.
"I tested the K-array KR200S in my studio and other environments for a few days and immediately realized how sonically forgiving and transparent it was," Mannarino said, who has been a live sound engineer for the New York Philharmonic for three years.
"When we finally had the system up and running in Avery Fisher Hall, it sounded extremely natural and balanced across the entire frequency range,” Mannarino continued. “We played passages of music on our normal PA, then switched to the K-array and heard flute passages and other instrumentation that simply wasn't audible before."
Mannarino ended up using KR200S on either side of the stage, each side featuring 32 two-inch speakers in array. A conventional PA set up, he says, would have needed at least eight boxes of line array to cover the same area. The overall result was an overall resounding success, as K-array delivered a gorgeous, natural sound throughout the entire hall.
He concludes that for the New Year's Eve application at Avery Fisher Hall, the sound quality was the ultimate deciding factor: "It is sonically better than anything else -- after you realize how good these speakers sound, the small footprint is a bonus."