Andy Leviss, a freelance audio engineer who is currently serving as the sound designer for the musical, was tasked with all aspects of the show's sound. Recognizing the importance of speech intelligibility and vocal reproduction, he deployed a 7-channel wireless setup consisting of a Lectrosonics Venue mainframe receiver (fully stocked with six VRS receiver modules), an R400A Diversity Receiver, and a mix of Lectrosonics SMa (single battery), SM (dual battery), and LMa beltpack transmitters. All equipment utilizes Lectrosonics' acclaimed Digital Hybrid Wirelessâ„¢ technology. Leviss discussed the challenges of the project.
“The Clurman Theatre is an intimate, 99-seat venue,” he explained. “As such, I wanted to ensure absolute transparency when it came to the wireless microphone technology —both sonically and visually. The beauty of the Lectrosonics equipment is its sound quality. Unlike many competing brands, the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid equipment doesn't use companding, so the result is a full, natural sound that's right on par with a cabled mic. Equally important, the SM and SMa transmitters are very small, and this makes it easy to hide them on the talent.”
Leviss reports the transmitters were placed in Spandex pouches and then strapped to the small of the talent's back, with the microphone cable running up the back, exiting the wardrobe and into the hair, where Countryman B3 lavaliere microphones are hidden. “For one scene,” Leviss notes, “we had to add a special pouch to a shirtless actor's boxer shorts. The SMa transmitter's small size made it easy to hide and made this situation completely feasible. I also love the transmitters' one-piece assembly with membrane switches. This is a great feature because I don't have to wrap them in latex or plastic sleeves to protect them from perspiration.”
The Extraordinary Ordinary started its run on November 29th. Since the show's start, Leviss reports nothing but smooth sailing in terms of Lectrosonics' wireless performance. “Everything has been working really well and the show sounds wonderful,” he notes. “Speech intelligibility is excellent and the clear sound is exactly what I wanted. The small size of the transmitters makes them easy to conceal and they've performed without the slightest hiccup. When it comes to the show's sound, it's all about transparency. Nobody should notice the system's presence until I shut it off, and that's exactly how it's all been working out. Summing up… the producer is thrilled.”
For additional information about Dreamlight Theatre, visit them online at www.dreamlighttheatre.org.
About Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless Technology
Lectrosonics' Digital Hybrid Wireless technology uses a proprietary algorithm to encode 24-bit digital audio information with no compression and low distortion into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link. The result is much higher dynamic range—free from sonic artifacts— than wireless systems using a compandor are able to offer. Digital Hybrid Wireless technology delivers long operating range, graceful signal decay, and a small spectral footprint, facilitating more channels to be operated simultaneously.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com.
Photo info: Image of Patrick Oliver Jones, Kristoffer Cusick, Courtney Balan, Kelly McCormick and Pamela Bob in Dreamlight Theatre Company's The Extraordinary Ordinary. Photo credit: Michael Portantiere.